Kurt Cobain - The Tragedy of Overwhelming Success

Kurt Cobain - Legends Report

by Kris Deichler, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

There’s a lot we can learn from legends’ successes, but there is as much, if not more, we can learn from their failures.

One example is a childhood hero of mine, Kurt Cobain - the lead singer / songwriter and guitarist of the hugely successful band Nirvana in the early-mid 1990’s. Nirvana had gone from being a small-time unheard of band from Seattle to one of the biggest names in music in a very short space of time. To date, they have sold over 75 million records worldwide and spearheaded the emergence of an entire new genre of rock music - Grunge.

Despite the success, adoration and fame, Kurt struggled to cope with the pressures of suddenly finding himself in the global spotlight. He was a deeply sensitive man, troubled by his experiences of growing up in a broken home and battled with depression, illness and a heroin addiction. Tragically, on April 8th 1994 he committed suicide, leaving behind his wife Courtney (also a drug addict) and baby daughter Frances.

It would be easy for us to look at Kurt’s level of success and say that he had everything he needed to be happy, but obviously he wasn’t. So what can we learn from this if we too are looking to be more successful in our own lives?


Kurt Cobain photo by Maia Valenzuela @ Flickr