Why Elton John Suffered From The Nirvana And Guns N' Roses Feud

In the '80s, hair bands like Guns N' Roses reigned supreme. Fans rocked out to "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City" in the latter part of the decade, and their success and popularity continued into the early '90s. They released a two-album behemoth, "Use Your Illusion," in 1991, per iHeart Radio. They were atop the world. Then came Kurt Cobain that same year with his band, Nirvana, and they ushered in the grunge movement with their album "Nevermind," per the Nirvana website. The two bands initially seemed willing to coexist, but things turned sour and an incident happened. No, not the Guns N' Roses album, "The Spaghetti Incident," but one that involved body fluids and an unwitting victim in Elton John.

The whole thing was set into motion by Cobain rebuffing Axl Rose's invitation to have his band perform at Rose's birthday party, and then also turned down an invitation to tour with Guns N' Roses, according to Rolling Stone. Insults were traded by band members — and remember, this was the early 1990s. Twitter was still more than a decade away, so they had to do it through the actual media and face-to-face, not through social media.

Kurt Cobain said it and sprayed it

The feud escalated at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, where both of them were supposed to perform. Before the show, they had a back-and-forth. With tempers still hot, Nirvana went on stage to perform. They initially wanted to play the controversial song, "Rape Me," which MTV wanted NO part of. So they played a prank and played the first few notes before changing to "Lithium." During the performance, Cobain went off the stage and saw two pianos on hydraulic lifts, one of which was supposed to be Axl Rose's for the GN'R performance. He hawked a few loogies on the one he figured was Rose's and then climbed back up and finished performing, according to Louder Sound.

Then things really went sideways. The piano that Cobain spent his time spitting on was NOT Rose's. Rather, it was Elton John's. So when it came up on the lift, the legendary singer sat down and started playing on it. Yes, it makes one queasy even typing these sentences. The songs apparently went off without a hitch. Reportedly, Cobain was mortified when he realized that he had spit on the wrong piano.

Despite the disgusting incident, John was none the worse for the wear. Apparently, the two bands patched things up after that. Cobain, however, would only be around for two more years, dying in 1994, according to History. Guns N'Roses continued their tumultuous behavior, breaking up and reforming and still performing in the 2020s. No word on what happened to the piano, though.