The legacy of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is stronger than ever this year, with Kurt Cobain Day established (February 20), the publication of Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain, and most recently, the online campaign to purchase Cobain’s childhood home and turn it into a museum (more on that after the jump). We’ve explored the childhood homes of famous authors before, and the time felt right to travel to the early abodes of well-known musicians. Several of these iconic performers got their start at home — in the kitchen where they drank tea every morning and the farmhouse that housed a piano and captured their imagination. Take a peek at these musicians’ humble beginnings, and see how their earliest dwellings influenced their careers.
Last year, Kurt Cobain’s mother put the family’s 1.5-story Aberdeen, Washington home on the market. Cobain’s hometown is where it all started for Nirvana, co-founded with bassist Krist Novoselic. Now, journalist Jaime Dunkle has launched a crowd-funded campaign to purchase the home and transform it into a museum. “It’s not fancy, but it’s real. And that’s how we want the house to remain,” she wrote on the gofundme.com page. Cobain described his home city in a 1994 interview:
Aberdeen, it’s a coastal town about 100 miles away from Seattle. It’s a really small place. A very small community with a lot of people who have very small minds. Basically if you’re not prepared to join the logging industry, you’re going to be beaten up or run out of town. . . . Yeah, I was run out of town. They chased me up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches. Just like the Frankenstein monster. And I got away in a hot air balloon. And I came here to Seattle.
Here’s the dilapidated Okfuskee County, Oklahoma childhood home of folk music legend Woody Guthrie as it looked in 1979. The hillside, two-story, six-room house was called “London Home” and was demolished in 1980. There’s a campaign to reconstruct it.
The English singer grew up in an artistic family that lived in a farmhouse located in East Wickham. There, she taught herself to play piano (and an old organ in the barn) at 11 years old. See more of Bush’s childhood and teenage photos over here.
Elvis’ father, uncle, and grandfather built this two-room Tupelo, Mississippi home with only $190 dollars.
The eighth of ten children, Jackson was born in a three-room house in Gary, Indiana. “We’d win every talent show and our house was loaded with trophies,” the singer once recalled.
The Queen of Pop’s suburban Detroit family home, a two-story brick Colonial shared with a handful of siblings, was sold in 2001 and became the target of arson in 2008. It was sold again in 2012. On her famous neighbor: “There was a big field behind our house in Rochester — it’s a golf course now. There was a big white farmhouse behind the field, and there was always loud music coming from it. Bob Seger rehearsed there with his band. He might have lived there, too; I’m not sure.”
Sadly, the jazz legend’s childhood home on Kansas Avenue in East St. Louis has been languishing in disrepair — though there were efforts being made by the family to designate it a historical landmark (and hopefully save it from falling apart). This is the same home where Davis practiced his first trumpet at the age of 13.
The famous Beatle’s 1986 album Menlove Ave. was named after his childhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue, in Liverpool. The house, nicknamed Mendips, belonged to Lennon’s beloved Aunt Mimi and her husband George Smith. The couple took John in at the age of five, and he remained there until he was 22 years old.
Take a tour of the Sex Pistols frontman’s childhood home with the singer guiding the way — although he’s quick to let us know that the reunion doesn’t give him any warm fuzzies. We get to see the kitchen where he wrote the iconic punk anthem “God Save the Queen” and listen to Lydon talk about Sid the hamster (the same creature that bit bandmate John Simon Ritchie’s finger earning the rodent the surname Vicious — which became Ritchie’s stage name).
The Broken English singer was born in Hampstead, London, but moved to Reading, Berkshire after her parents divorced. She was still living at home when at 17 years old she attended a party in London’s West End. There, she impressed Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham, leading to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards writing a song for her, “As Tears Go By.” The rest is music history.