Although a label spokesperson declined to confirm specifics, Universal Music Enterprises will release a three-CD boxed set from Nirvana in November. Limited editions of the project will include a DVD, which boasts footage of the Kurt Cobain-led band playing at a 1987 house party.
The box is expected to be one of the most in-demand items at music retail this holiday season. High hopes were fueled when portions of the DVD were screened at the recent National Association of Recording Merchandisers conference.
“From what I saw at [NARM] — which was amazing — I think it’s going to blow everyone away,” Newbury Comics music buyer Carl Mello tells Billboard. “It really will out-perform any expectations that customers may have — even if their expectations are huge.”
The boxed set was originally intended for release in Christmas 2001, to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, “Nevermind.” But surviving members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were thwarted by lawsuits from Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, who objected to their planned use of the previously unreleased track “You Know You’re Right” in the set.
The artists traded vicious barbs in the press, with Grohl and Novoselic claiming Love “couldn’t care less about Nirvana fans. She is using Nirvana’s music as a bargaining chip to increase leverage for her personal gain, without any regard for the Nirvana legacy.” For her part, Love maintained Cobain was by far the driving force in Nirvana’s success, and that Grohl and Novoselic were little more than hired hands.
The dispute was eventually settled in September 2002, with the parties agreeing to earmark “You Know You’re Right” for a self-titled Nirvana compilation released on Oct. 29, 2002. The album has gone on to sell 1.45 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while the song rocketed to No. 1 on both Billboard’s Modern and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.
“We were looking forward to releasing unheard Nirvana material for our personal sense of closure,” Grohl and Novoselic said before the suit was settled. “As the cycle of life moves forward, we are each living our own lives and moving on to new things. We only wanted to go on with the assurance of knowing that all of Nirvana’s music is where it really belongs; in the hearts and minds of millions of people in the world.
As previously reported, Novoselic will revisit his Nirvana past in the upcoming book “Of Grunge & Government: Let’s Fix this Broken Democracy!” Due later this month via RDV Books, the volume will also address Novoselic’s longstanding work in political activism.