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Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain Paperback – August 21, 2002
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Cross uncovers plenty of news, mostly grim and gripping. As a teen, Cobain said he had "suicide genes," and his clan was peculiarly defiant: one of his suicidal relatives stabbed his own belly in front of his family, then ripped apart the wound in the hospital. Cobain was contradictory: a sweet, popular teen athlete and sinister berserker, a kid who rescued injured pigeons and laughingly killed a cat, a talented yet astoundingly morbid visual artist. He grew up to be a millionaire who slept in cars (and stole one), a fiercely loyal man who ruthlessly screwed his oldest, best friends. In fact, his essence was contradictions barely contained. Cross, the coauthor of Nevermind: Nirvana, the definitive book about the making of the classic album, puts numerous Cobain-generated myths to rest. (Cobain never lived under a bridge--that Aberdeen bridge immortalized in the 12th song on Nevermind was a tidal slough, so nobody could sleep under it.) He gives the fullest account yet of what it was like to be, or love, Kurt Cobain. Heavier Than Heaven outshines the also indispensable Come As You Are. It's the deepest book about pop's darkest falling star. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
After college, Cross served as editor of The Rocket, the Northwest's music and entertainment magazine, from 1986 through 2000. The Rocket was hailed as "the best regional music magazine in the nation" by the L.A. Reader, and it was the first publication ever to run a story on Nirvana. Cross wrote stories on such seminal Northwest bands as The Wailers, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and hundreds, if not thousands, of lesser-known bands. In addition to The Rocket, Cross's writing has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Playboy, Spin, Guitar World, Q, Uncut, and Creem. He has also written for many newspapers and alternative weeklies, including the London Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has lectured and read at universities and colleges around the world, and has frequently been interviewed for film, radio, and television documentaries, including VH1's "Behind the Music."
Cross is the author of seven books, including 2005's Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (published by Hyperion in the U.S., and Hodder in the U.K.). His 2001 release, Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Hyperion/Hodder), was a New York Times bestseller and was called "one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star" by the Los Angeles Times. In 2002, Heavier Than Heaven won the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding biography. Cross's other books include the national bestseller Cobain Unseen (Little Brown), Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music (Harmony, 1989); Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell (Harmony, 1992); and Nevermind: The Classic Album (Schirmer, 1998).
Top Customer Reviews
Cross' greatest strength is the depth and breadth of his research. Apparently Courtney Love, Kurt's widow, gave Cross extensive access to Kurt's personal effects. She also sat for repeated lengthy interviews, as did many of the other notable players in Kurt's life. This kind of access gives Cross an insight into his subject that those of us who read all the Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine profiles of the man never got. It's revelatory, to be sure. For example, he is able to quote liberally from Kurt's diary, which lets the reader into Kurt's head. It offers such revelations as the following, which describes his concession to the inevitable path of becoming a junkie: "if I feel like a junkie as it is [due to stomach pains], I may as well be one." Or, in Cross' greatest discovery, he describes a long lost video of Kurt bathing his daughter Frances, in a scene of seemingly domestic tranquility. The camera focuses on father and daughter for a long moment, and then abruptly pans around the bathroom. Cross, an observant viewer, notes that in the toothbrush holder, instead of a toothbrush, is a syringe.Read more ›
Cross also neglects to write about Cobain the artist. We learn nothing of his creative process, of his long hours spent practicing guitar, nothing from anyone he's played with. This is too bad because to understand Cobain's life, one must appreciate the role that art played in his life. You cannot remove the music from Cobain's life and tell the story of an ordinary man, because Cobain lived and breathed music for most of his life. Alas, we are left to figure out for ourselves when events in Cobain's life occurred relative to his musical achievements. The only glimpse we get into Cobain's art is when we learn about the woman who inspired several songs on Nevermind, a token account when considering the consistent brilliance of Cobain's songwriting.
The worst problem with this book by far is that Cross relied too heavily on Courtney Love's version of events. This leads to numerous errors in the book, for example, we are told that Love helped Cobain pen Pennyroyal Tea, but any bootlegger knows that Cobain first performed this song in late 1991, before he ever met Love. One can only wonder how many other inaccuracies sprout from Love's egocentric retelling of events, events for which there is only Love's side to the story. For this reason, I consider virtually one third of the book entirely worthless, since it is based on interviews with a person proven to lack credibility.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Courtney is a black widow, if you don't see it you're like most...blind.Published 11 days ago by MzCadaver
Best Bio I've ever read. Huge Nirvana and Kurt Cobain fan and this book was an enjoy to read and I highly recommend it for any fan.Published 24 days ago by evan
This book gave a great insight into the troubled soul of Kurt Cobain. I found it very revealing, funny at times but mostly sad. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Joseph A.
I believe the author was duped into believing Courtney Love's lies. And if Courtney did indeed have him murdered, it makes this book all the more tragic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. Richins
Charles Cross sheds light on the life of Kurt Cobain. Very deep and details on Kurt and Courtney i didnt know and i have scoured the internet for info. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jmetal86
From a couple of the reviews, I thought Heavier than Heaven would be such a downer I'd have to lock the knife drawer. Read morePublished 2 months ago by true britty