Nirvana’s Iconic ‘Nevermind’ Cover Baby Poses Again for Album’s 25th Anniversary
The "Nevermind" baby is all grown up.
This September marks the 25th anniversary of the release of 1991’s Nevermind, Nirvana’s second studio album, which memorably features a naked baby chasing a dollar bill on an underwater fishing hook. To honor the occasion, the model, now a 25-year-old street artist, recreated the famous pose, this time with swim trunks.
Spencer Alden’s parents were paid $200 for the original shoot, which was conducted by his dad’s friend, Kirk Weddle. British photographer John Chapple, who lives and works in Los Angeles, paid Alden the same amount to once again pose underwater a quarter of a century later.
“I said to the photographer, ‘Let’s do it naked.’ But he thought that would be weird, so I wore my swim shorts,” Spencer, who sports a “Nevermind” tattoo across his chest, told the New York Post. “It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember.”
Elden reportedly studies at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and has worked for street artist Shepard Fairey. He has previously recreated the Nevermind album cover for the record’s 10th and 15th anniversaries.
“I always say, ‘[My penis has] changed, do you want to see it?’” Elden told CNN in 2011.
The cover image was allegedly frontman Kurt Cobain’s idea, and it was inspired by a documentary about underwater births. In 1992, Geffen Records art director Robert Fisher told Entertainment Weekly that Cobain “thought the image would make a cool cover,” but “that vision was a bit too graphic, so we went with the swimming baby instead.”
The original shot was created in the blink of an eye. “Babies have a gag reflex. If you blow in their face, they hold their breath,” Elden’s father, Rick, told the Eagle Rock Patch in 2011. “I blew in Spencer’s face and put him in the water. Kirk was shooting 18 frames a second, so Spencer was in the water for about two seconds.”
Nevermind, which catapulted Nirvana and Cobain to worldwide fame, featured the hit songs “Come as Your Are” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The album sold 30 million copies, helping kick off the grunge trend.
The band broke up in 1994, when Cobain committed suicide, but Nirvana has remained a part of the pop culture landscape, inspiring art exhibitions and auctions alike.
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