Smells like a new Nirvana tune. And it's about time.
"You Know You're Right," recorded by the seminal grunge band just months before frontman Kurt Cobain killed himself in 1994, and the subject of a sniping court battle between Cobain's bandmates and widow, Courtney Love, finally surfaced in the past few days.
The tune apparently was leaked to Internet song-swapping sites over the weekend. By Monday, it was in heavy rotation on several radio stations.
In what may be a not so coincidental development, "You Know You're Right" happened to be released right after Love went on Howard Stern's radio show and announced she had settled her bitter legal fight with surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as a separate suit with her label, Universal Music Group.
"You Know You're Right" was supposed to be the featured bonus track on the proposed Heart-Shaped Box Nirvana retrospective set due to come out last Christmas. But Love sued to block its release in May 2001, grousing about the way Grohl and Novoselic were administering Cobain's legacy. Things got so nasty, the surviving Nirvana rockers asked the court to have a psychologist examine Love because they thought she was nuts.
However, on the air with Stern, Love seemingly changed her tune, saying she not only patched things up with the guys and her label, but that the greatest hits package would be in stores by this Christmas, with "You Know You're Right" making its long-awaited debut.
By Saturday, the song was making the rounds on Kazaa, Morpheus and other file-sharing sites. Los Angeles' KROQ-FM, considered one of the most influential modern rock stations in the nation, began playing the tune on Monday and was followed by other stations across the country. KROQ initially said it downloaded the song off the Internet.
According to the Los Angeles Times, KROQ received a cease-and-desist letter two days ago from Universal ordering the station to stop playing the tune. But, as of Friday, the tune was still being played, leading to further speculation that Love has indeed settled her suit.
There still has been no official confirmation from her camp, the ex-Nirvana members or the band's label, Interscope/Geffen, a division of Universal. There's also no word on how the song magically made it onto the Web so soon after Love's remarks on Stern.
An official announcement regarding the settlements is expected any day now.
The Cobain-composed rarity, laid down during one of Nirvana's last Seattle recording sessions, unites the rocker's screeching sarcasm and lyrical anguish with the band's traditional two-chord power structure. Lyrics include lines like "Things have never been so swell/I have never been so well" before seguing into a chorus with Cobain wailing "pain!"--a chilling omen of his suicide several weeks later.
"It may not be the best song they ever did, but it's probably in the top 10," Cobain biographer Charles Cross tells the Associated Press. "At the time, people were saying Kurt was over, and that's what's so significant about this song--it's the last great Nirvana song."