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History has always been marked by great music. Every generation has it’s own unique
genre; from classical to swing, people have always found a song or a melody that seemed as
if it was written just for them. However, truly great music is created by a certain type
of genius. It takes more than the average guy to forge a classic like “Stairway to
Heaven.” Two men in the late twentieth century were such masterminds: Jimi Hendrix
and Kurt Cobain. While both will live forever in musical infamy, they will remain legends
for different reasons. One of the most important factors in becoming a rock legend is
bringing about a revolution, opening people to something bold and new. Kurt Cobain, along
with his band, Nirvana, changed rock music forever. In a time when music was becoming
mass-produced, emotionless muck, Cobain brought about something that was repulsively
beautiful and alive. He introduced grunge rock to the world: music filled with screaming
distortion, tremendous angst, and overwhelming passion rarely seen from the generation
that invented the term “whatever.” Nevertheless, let us not forget a similar
revolution, which took place over a decade earlier. In an era when hippies wandered free
and drugs were just “mind expanding,” another such musical phenomenon
occurred. A young black man caught the ear of millions with his awe-inspiring guitar
tunes. This man was Jimi Hendrix. Unlike Cobain, Hendrix wrote music to support and
inspire his followers, as opposed to creating a method of shock treatment through music.
Hendrix created brilliant melodies along with lyrics that touched the hearts of all who
would listen. One habit that both musicians shared was the ability to excite and
invigorate listeners, especially live audiences. Cobain had the ability to make thousands
of slackers stand up and scream for more. Throughout his many tours, Cobain always arrived
to a packed venue filled with fans, many of which had probably spent the night in line
waiting for tickets and the chance to see something momentous. Hendrix’s career
consisted of more festival type tours, where he was allowed to reach a wider variety of
listeners, while still holding the faith of his steadfast fans. Hendrix had a particular
talent for playing the guitar. He would delight and thrill onlookers by playing with his
toes or his teeth, or while spinning around on the ground. Both were great performers who
knew how to put on a show. Their greatest common characteristic was in how they ended the
performance; they would completely trash the stage from which they played. Smashing
guitars, tipping drum sets, and even setting fire to the instruments were some their
memorable methods of concluding a performance. These great musicians were also great
lyricists. Both have songs which remain on the top countdowns to this day, although
Hendrix died almost 20 years ago and Cobain passed in 1994. Cobain left a legacy of
haunting tunes such as “Come As You Are,” “Polly,” and
“Heart Shaped Box.” Kurt used the pain from a broken family and a painful life
to give birth to remarkable songs, which allowed so many disillusioned teens to find a kin
spirit in his words. Hendrix also composed many amazing pieces, such as “The Wind
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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