Kurt Cobain Hated The Lyrics From Two Of The Biggest Rock Bands Of All Time

When Nirvana came out of virtually nowhere (okay, the Pacific Northwest) and their second album, "Nevermind," kicked off the grunge revolution in the early 1990s, their brand of hard and heavy, yet melodic rock music was the antithesis of what heavy music was less than a few years prior. Their music was relatable to the average, angst-ridden teen who may have gotten burned out by all the hair metal that ruled the airwaves before grunge and alternative rock. And while singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain's lyrics oftentimes didn't make that much sense at first glance, his musical poetry would ultimately define a generation and stand the test of the time well after his death in 1994 ... and Nirvana's subsequent breakup following his passing.

In order to make their distinctive brand of music, Nirvana drew from a wide range of influences, and since its members were children of the 1970s, it was impossible to escape the influence of some of the decade's biggest mainstream rock bands. But when it came to the lyrical side of things, Cobain was apparently disdainful toward at least two 1970s heavyweights. Which bands were these, and why did he feel that way about the words to their songs?

Cobain loved AC/DC and Led Zeppelin ... but not their lyrics

As much as the 1970s and 1980s produced a lot of great rock music, it can be said that a lot of the lyrics from those decades aged like milk. Sexually charged, misogynistic, and occasionally homophobic lyrics that people ignored in past decades could get musicians canceled in the present day. And while the word "woke" was nothing more than the past tense of "wake" back in the early '90s, Kurt Cobain was ahead of his time in his distaste for questionable lyrics, including those that came from classic rock mainstays Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.

In an interview with Forbes, former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg answered in the affirmative when he was asked if he agrees with Cobain's assessment that '70s and '80s mainstream rock was "inherently sexist and homophobic." He also made sure to emphasize that the late frontman did like the music even if he didn't agree with the lyrical content. "He liked Led Zeppelin's music — and AC/DC," Goldberg clarified. "But the lyrics were not something that he felt comfortable with, for exactly the reason that you said."

Goldberg went on to explain that Cobain was someone who was in tune with the punk rock ethos and was all about rebelling against conventional, oftentimes conservative values. And while his musical tastes were much more diverse than those of the average punk rocker, he also lived by a certain set of principles that tempered his appreciation for certain bands."That was one of the things to me that made him such an exciting artist to know and to work with; and that included a real abhorrence of macho stereotypes and behavior," Goldberg said.

Cobain himself admitted his distaste for sexist 1970s lyrics

The Forbes interview with Danny Goldberg was a good first-hand account from someone who had worked closely with Kurt Cobain and was familiar with his feelings about certain topics. But Cobain himself had previously admitted to ultimately disliking the lyrics written by some of the 1970s bands he enjoyed listening to while growing up. In a 1993 interview with English journalist Jon Savage, Cobain brought up the topic after admitting that he was disturbed by how many of his female friends weren't treated with enough respect.

"Although I listened to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, and I really did enjoy some of the melodies they'd written, it took me so many years to realize that a lot of it had to do with sexism," Cobain told Savage. "The way that they just wrote about their d***s and having sex. I was just starting to understand what really was p***ing me off so much those last couple years of high school." He added that this turned out to be his gateway to punk rock fandom — having come to terms with his discomfort with the lyrics of his onetime heroes' songs, he veered away from the mainstream and got hooked on a genre that would greatly inform Nirvana's music several years later.

Of course, punk was just one of the many genres that influenced Nirvana, and if Goldberg's comments are any indication, Cobain didn't completely distance himself from Zeppelin, AC/DC, and other bands from that generation ... even if the lyrics had long posed a problem for him.