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Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  16,760 ratings  ·  627 reviews
Based on more than 400 interviews, four years of research and a wealth of documentation, this text traces Cobain's life from his early days in a trailer to his rise to fame and the adulation of a generation.
Paperback, 381 pages
Published 2002 by Sceptre (first published 2001)
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Elinor Hawke-szady I seriously DOUBT Kurt Cobain killed himself. The evidence at the scene doesn't add up; everything points to murder.…moreI seriously DOUBT Kurt Cobain killed himself. The evidence at the scene doesn't add up; everything points to murder.(less)
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Aug 02, 2007 Lorrie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I just noticed the average rating for this book was 4 stars. Yuck. The author does a decent job putting together Kurt Cobains' life and rise to fame. In the last chapters he takes "creative license" in describing Kurts' last moments, all the way to his suicide. It's disgusting. No one was there (that we know of). He has no right.
Kye Alfred Hillig
This booked disturbed me a bit. I know everyone wants to rape the corpse of Cobain but not me and admitting this is embarrassing but hey, we're all friends here. Reading it I saw a lot of myself in Kurt Cobain and it worried me. Am I going to blow my brains out? I certainly hope not. Maybe I related to him in the way that a lot of people did. Maybe he's just a common guy who was thrown into something bigger than him. At any rate Charles Cross really did his research and created a book that I ate ...more
I saw Nirvana in concert 4 months before Cobain took his life. After hundreds of live shows it still stands as one of my all time favorites. In fact it was the first concert I ever crowd-surfed at. I was able to get up close and personal with the band and, in doing so, saw that Kurt rarely looked up at the crowd. His eyes were glued to the floor most of the night. This book helped me to understand why. Given his recurrent heroin addiction, the debilitating stomach pain he'd fought for years, the ...more
this book is almost equal parts fiction and Courtney Love approved versions of "actual events." it gives some information, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. there are TONS of proven historical errors. i don't blame the author for the misinformation, however, as he had to have everything cleared by Courtney Love. he did lose his credibility, though. i can't believe they used him on "busted circuits and ringing ears: the TAD story" dvd that came out a year ago.

if you are a Nirvana fan,
Mar 30, 2008 Desy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kurt Cobain's & Nirvana's #1 fans
Baru selesai baca kemarin malam. Akhirnya selesai juga baca kisah si motornya Nirvana ini :D. Meski yang gua baca itu versi terjemahan bahasa Indonesianya, kayaknya gua pengen beli juga yang versi aslinya.

Bytheway. Buku ini cukup rinci nyeritain kisah hidup Kurt Cobain. Tentu beserta Nirvana n keluarganya. Pokoknya semua yang dirasa pernah ada hubungan dengan Kurt, dituangkan secara kronologis di buku ini. Si penulisnya melakukan 400 wawancara selama empat taun dengan orang-orang yang pernah ber
I published this on a music blog group called Future Rockstars of American (which is now dead I think):

I finished reading the biography of Kurt Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven written by Charles Cross, just in time for what would have been his 41st birthday. My conclusion?Kurdt (that’s how he liked to spell it) was a jerk!
Cortney Love had the crowd call him worse things when she read his suicide note to them.

I was not an active and avid fan of Nirvana when their singer Kurt Cobain killed glam rock
Kurt Cobain was a constant whiner and self-mythogist who constantly complained that fame was thrust upon him. Cross spends the first half of the biography debunking the Cobain myths and demonstrating how heavily Kurt courted mainstream success. The second half of the book documents Cobain's downward spiral- it's really amazing that he had to kill himself with a shotgun when he got so close so many times with his "heroine." Fucked up, sad read about a man I idolized when I wasn't yet old enough t ...more
Those who know me best are aware that, besides books, music is my other big passion. There is not a single day that I don't feel the need to get carried away by songs that make me remember places, situations, persons and emotions. I don't constantly try to hear new bands or artists, because I'd rather stick with the ones I already love. Nirvana is one of those bands.

Most of you probably have heard of Nirvana, the most memorable band of the 90's, also because the tragedy that ended up the band, b
Interesting fact No. 1: KC's first concert was not the Melvins or some such punk band, but Sammy Hagar, who has shown surprisingly restraint in not naming a brand of tequila after the now-Converse branded icon.

That's just one reason why this book about The Voice of Your Generation is valuable: it's proof that no one is born punk or even cool, but that it's an attitude one accrues by hanging around the right crowd. That's why the real heroines here aren't named Courtney but first girlfriend Trac
Jul 18, 2008 Whitney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nirvana/Hole fans
Recommended to Whitney by: Patt McManus
I had read Michael Azerad's "Come as You Are," the story of Nirvana way back in the day so I knew quite a bit about Kurt's life and the history of the band. This went a lot deeper and was compiled of many sources, family members and friends of the band and was a lot more true to life. Michael Azerad's book was based on interviews with the band, so it was mostly how the band wanted to portray themselves. This book made me decide that if I had known Kurt I would have thought him a lazy, self-absor ...more
Hmmmm... well, I don't read a lot of biographies. I didn't know a lot about Kurt Cobain even though I am a Nirvana fan. The book was interesting and the author seemed to have interviewed and researched a lot of facts. Mostly what I took from this book is that Kurt was a complex person plagued with self doubt, physical pain, issues of abandonment and a family history of mental illness. Oh and he made a conscious decision to be a drug addict. And, wow, did he do a lot of drugs.

The parts about the
I enjoyed this book until I got to the last chapter. Like a couple of other reviews state, the author makes it feel like Kurt is a character in a fictional story. I am absolutely fascinated by his life. The book is packed with details that left me astounded. While reading, I kept a browser open on my computer because there was always something I wanted to look into or a video to search. The author did a brilliant job of describing specific scenes and pictures, I really wish more of the pictures ...more
It is a bit of a cliche of celebrity, but Kurt Cobain really was an incredibly contradictory personality. Part of the fun of Heavier Than Heaven is trying to take all of the evidence, presented in amazing detail by Charles R. Cross, and trying to piece together what kind of person he was.

As anyone casually familiar with Cobain knows, he was constantly trying to strike a balance between his strong punk sense of morality and his desire to get his music out to a large audience. Deeper than just a c
Biography of Kurt Cobain:
A Troubled Genius
Is fame a blessing or a curse? Many people wonder what it is like to be famous. Kurt Cobain doesn’t need to.
One of the themes most prevalent throughout the Biography of Kurt Cobain was that you can achieve almost anything if you keep at it. You can achieve almost anything because Kurt’s record tops the charts, he becomes famous worldwide, and he never listened to anyone who said he couldn’t do it.
You can achieve almost anything if you really try becau
Daniel Solera
For a long time, I have wanted to read about the life of Kurt Cobain. Not only was he one of the most important pop-culture figures of my adolescence, but his enigmatic personality, cryptic lyrics and almost mythical status piqued my curiosity. Charles Cross' biography does the man and his work justice.

At 365 pages, it's a little longer than I had anticipated, but not a single chapter is worth skipping. Cross describes Cobain's life with careful attention to detail, even cross-referencing specif
I found this book fascinating, and was even teary by the very end page! Some parts were hilarious, like Steve Albini calling Courtney Love a "psycho hosebeast," and Kurt's grandfather remarking on seeing Courtney walk around their home in a slip: "She had no pants on. It sure as hell wasn't ladylike." But one of my favorite parts was a letter Kurt wrote to his ex-girlfriend and Bikini Kill member Tobi Vail at the end of 1993 when Nirvana were already huge:

"I made about five million dollars last
Nov 24, 2008 Kate rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nirvana fans/
This book is the Courtney Love sanctioned version of Kurt Cobain. May be something to bear in mind while reading it.
Normally you would consider Kurt Cobain to be "the voice of a generation", as in, "the voice of Generation X" - when in reality, he's also A voice for various generations that came after him. The internet really destroyed the idea of a cohesive generational identity, and Kurt Cobain was one of the last pre-Napster rock stars to ever be exploited horribly by the music industry as he lay in poverty while touring in vans and generally getting high on heroin even though he was meant to be a father t ...more
Cara Ellison
Well, now I'm obsessed. To be totally objective, I was hovering on the obsession line for a while. I love Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain specifically, so when I picked up Heavier Than Heaven, I thought I'd just get a better understanding of the subject.

Newp. Not so easy. This book reads like a novel. It sucks you in, chomps down on your guts with shark jaws, shakes you around, and then suddenly releases you into the calm black depths of total obsession.

This portrait of Kurt Cobain is not objective. O
Hypia Sanches
[please, ignore any spelling/grammar mistakes]

If you ask me if it is possible to describe the same person as "insane" and as a "genius", I'd say yes without even blinking. And we are talking about Kurt Cobain, who, as the fans know, was a billion contradictions at once.

If I already liked his band, Nirvana, after reading this biography I like their music even more.

Family issues, drug addiction, depression and other factors surely played a part in Kurt's personality, there's no denying it. But ano
Brian James
Not only was this book wonderfully researched, it was also powerfully written. In my opinion it's rare for a biography to be such a riveting example of storytelling, especially when so much is publicly known about the subject, but this book proved otherwise. A very moving portrait of someone who in many ways got what he always wanted, only to discover he was so ill fitted for the fame he sought.

The author exhausted nearly every possible reference for this book, talking to everyone close to Kurt
Foi quase um ano para terminar de ler esta biografia de Kurt Cobain. Comecei a 24 de Dezembro de 2013 e termino hoje, 19 de Dezembro de 2014. Nunca esperei demorar tanto tempo para ler este livro. São 450 páginas mas nunca pareceram demais quando decidi começar a ler. E nunca serão de mais porque contar a vida de Kurt Cobain nunca será uma tarefa limitada a número de páginas porque há tanto para dizer.

O autor foi muito descritivo, começando por contar todos os detalhes da vida de Kurt desde que
I was introduced to Nirvana's music by the television show My So Called Life ( a great show cancelled after one year). So, I was curious about Kurt Cobain. I knew he committed suicide (but some people believe he was murdered.)

Cross' biography seems very well documented. It's full of quotes from Kurt's friends, band members, family, ex-girlfriends, and of course (no one can shut her up) Courtney Love. Cross treats Love very sympathically in this book. It seems pretty clear from the book that Love
Being a huge Nirvana fan, I am always searching for the perfect stories that let me into the lives of the performers. Heavier Than Heaven was the perfect escape into the depths of Kurt Cobain (late frontman of Nirvana)'s life.

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain unravels the shocking story of Kurt Cobain, frontman of Nirvana and grunge hero. The story starts with the rebellious acts of young Cobain, and quickly accelerates to adolescent years when punk bands were booming and teenag
C.V. Hunt
This book is compilation of a man’s life from interviews and speculation. But… it is the only way to compile 27 years of the unknown into 365 pages. At the end of every beings life, the only person that truly knows what happened is the being that is living that life.

I’m reminded of a line from the movie Donnie Darko, “Every living creature on earth dies alone.”

Kurt was unhappy. There are not too many people that I know that can truly say that they are 100% happy with their lives. Everyone choos
Kristopher Jansma
I read these two Kurt Cobain biographies as part of some research for my new novel, which I wanted to have some tangential connections to Nirvana and Cobain. I read both books along with completely-legally-paying-for (read downloading) all of Nirvana's B-Sides and Rarities and Home-recordings, etc. Actually both the books were quite interesting for very different reasons. Azerrad wrote his book while Cobain was still alive, and so only the epilogue (added later) even addresses his suicide. Cross ...more
After reading through this a second time, I have discovered multiple factual errors. If someone were to learn about Kurt by reading this, they would be extremely off on their assumptions of him because of how the book portrays him.
Zemira Warner
I got this book for my B-Day in January. Not that good as I thought it would be.
I was born in 1974. That means I have my foot firmly planted in "Generation X." I owned a "Cabbage Patch Kid.". In 1986 I sat with my 6th grade class and watched in horror as the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded on live TV. In 1981, I did not "Want My MTV", I was only 7 years old for God sake, but by 1990 I did and that just so happened to coincided with the advent of the Seattle-based "Grunge Movement" hitting MTV hard. To this day i have a CD collection full of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Bik ...more
Carla Krueger
I'd only just left my teenage years when I read this – it was sort of goodbye to my grunge days at the time and I felt kind of pleased I was 'growing up and moving on'. Within a year I was working at a 'normal' job, earning good money and wearing fewer layers of eyeliner, but I still liked to relive memories of when I first discovered the satisfyingly untempered music of Kurt Cobain and his contemporaries, who had, to me as a teen, seemed like the most outspoken, subversive, brave people I could ...more
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Charles R. Cross is a rock music journalist and author based in Seattle. He is the founder of Backstreets magazine, a periodical for fans of Bruce Springsteen, editor of "Springsteen: the Man and His Music," a compilation of Backstreets articles, and is also author of a biography of Kurt Cobain, titled Heavier Than Heaven. His most recent release is entitled Room Full Of Mirrors - A Biography Of J ...more
More about Charles R. Cross...
Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix Cobain Unseen Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music Led Zeppelin: Heaven And Hell

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“Kurt left in the early morning to walk around Aberdeen in the pale light of dawn. The storm had passed, birds were chirping, and everything in the world seemed more alive. He walked around for hours thinking about it all, waiting for school to begin, watching the sun come up, wondering where his life was heading.” 8 likes
“He was able to sit in silence for long stretches without feeling a need to make small talk.” 6 likes
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