It comes as something of a surprise to learn that Kurt Cobain, a notorious Beatlemaniac, only covered the Fab Four once on record. Featured on the Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings albums, the Nirvana frontman’s rendition of ‘And I Love Her’ is a goth-tinged reimagination of one of the quartet’s most cherished tracks.
Here we’ve bought you an isolated recording of Cobain’s atmospheric vocal line. Spoiler: it’s not the best quality, but it does highlight his impressive range.
Kurt Cobain was fascinated by The Beatles. “John Lennon was definitely my favourite Beatle, hands down,” he told Rolling Stone in 1993. “I don’t know who wrote what parts of what Beatles songs, but Paul McCartney embarrasses me. Lennon was obviously disturbed [laughs]. So I could relate to that. From the books I’ve read… I just felt really sorry for him,” he continued. “To be locked up in that apartment. Although he was totally in love with Yoko and his child, his life was a prison. He was imprisoned. It’s not fair. That’s the crux of the problem that I’ve had with becoming a celebrity — the way people deal with celebrities. It needs to be changed; it really does.”
Cobain’s distrust of Paul McCartney makes this cover – a song he wrote – all the more interesting. Arguably Paul’s finest contribution to A Hard Day’s Night, ‘And I Love Her’ was featured alongside the time-warped wonder that is ‘Things We Said Today’ and the hit single ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. “It was the first ballad I impressed myself with,” Paul says of ‘And I Lover Her’ in Many Years From Now.
“It’s got nice chords in it, ‘Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky…’,” he continues, “I like the imagery of the stars and the sky. It was a love song really. The ‘And’ in the title was an important thing. ‘And I Love Her,’ it came right out of left field, you were right up to speed the minute you heard it. The title comes in the second verse and it doesn’t repeat. You would often go to town on the title, but this was almost an aside, ‘Oh… and I love you.’ It still holds up and George played really good guitar on it. It worked very well.”
Though Cobain’s version of the song appears to unlock the pain at the heart of Lennon’s glittering career, John had pretty much nothing to do with its composition, though he once claimed otherwise: “I’m not sure if John worked on that at all,” Paul maintained. “The middle eight is mine. I would say that John probably helped with the middle eight, but he can’t say, ‘It’s mine’. I wrote this on my own. I can actually see Margaret Asher’s upstairs drawing room.”