As artists of all kinds know, creative ideas can come from anywhere. You can be walking along, having a normal day, eating a normal meal, trying your best to have a normal date, and all of a sudden they strike like lightning.
Ideas don’t always work out. Every artist or creative person can rattle off a long list of duds, things that seemed great at inception and went steadily downhill from there. But once in a great while, a vague compliment scrawled on a wall, or a favorite childhood soda can turn into something spectacular. It did for these bands.
Smells like Deodorant
Before Kurt Cobain met Courtney Love, (his true Juliet, as we all know), he dated Tobi Vail, a big-time riot girl and member of Bikini Kill. After a long night of partying, Bikini Kill’s lead singer Katherine Hanna found Kurt and Tobi crashed out in Kurt’s bedroom.
She took it upon herself to spray-paint ‘Kurt smells like Teen Spirit’ on the wall. Kurt awoke to read this, took it as a compliment, and eventually turned it into Nirvana’s most well-known song.
At the time he did not realize that Teen Spirit was Tobi’s brand of deodorant.
The Always Inspirational Dan Rather
There Dan Rather was in New York, just walking down the street in 1986 when he was attacked by a man who would not stop yelling “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” Both the involvement of Dan Rather and the absurdity of this repeated question propelled the attack into a major news story, one that REM took note of.
Eight years later, Michael Stipe penned ‘What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?’ which ended up being a major hit from the album Monster. Dan Rather even joined REM for a performance of it on Letterman.
The man who had attacked Dan Rather was arrested nine years later when he murdered an employee of The Today Show. The man was mentally disturbed, obsessed with the idea of television beaming messages into his brain.
Come on Home to Grape Crush. Wait, that’s not Quite Right.
When you think of Creedence Clearwater Revival, you probably think of Louisiana, Mississippi, or some form of good ol’ southern livin’. CCR made their name cranking out bayou rock tunes, but they were actually from Bakersfield, California.
So when it turned out that their track ‘Green River’ hadn’t been written about a river anywhere in the bayou, the natural assumption was that it was a river in California.
A big nope to that. Lead singer John Fogerty fessed up that Green River was a soda he used to drink when he was a kid. Creative ideas really can come from anywhere, though we don’t necessarily recommend rotting your teeth for the sake of music.