Watch Nirvana’s Searing Performance Of “Heart Shaped Box” From 1993

Nirvana’s third studio LP, In Utero, was released 20 years ago last week. At the time of that album’s release, the trio made up of singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl were the biggest band on the planet, a position that the group was entirely uncomfortable with. So, in the words of Novoselic, they set out to “commit commercial suicide” with this collection of songs recorded by Steve Albini, which were entirely more raw than what producer Butch Vig had assembled on their gamechanging LP Nevermind. Their strategy, in large part, worked: The dirty-white-baseball-cap-clad boys who moshed in their frat houses to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” never really connected with In Utero, but there were two songs from this period that entered the zeitgeist: one was “All Apologies” (specifically, the MTV Unplugged version) and the other, “Heart Shaped Box.”

One of the things that is being included in the massive In Utero 20th anniversary box set that is being released next Tuesday, September 24, is the full MTV: Live And Loud special that originally aired on New Year’s Eve of 1993. The show, however, was recorded on December 13 of that year, and for the next few days, we’ll be releasing some video of that show from our vaults in advance of our commercial-free airing of Nirvana Live And Loud on VH1 Classic this Monday, September 23, at 9PM/8C.

Today, as you have no doubt surmised by now, we’ve got “Heart Shaped Box” to share with you. What is a “Heart Shaped Box,” exactly? Well, if you ask Courtney Love, she’ll tell you that it’s her vagina (as she reminded Lana Del Rey last summer). The song never made the Billboard Top 40 (!!!), but was one of the most heavily-played videos on MTV for a good year around the time of that album’s release.

Come back tomorrow a.m. to watch Nirvana’s controversial performance of “Rape Me,” then again on Monday, 9/23 for two NEVER BEFORE SEEN performances from the show: “Very Ape” and “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.”