Heavier Than Heaven

Heavier Than Heaven : The Biography of Kurt Cobain

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Alongside the death of Elvis Presley and the assassination of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994 ranks as one of the generational milestones of American life - an epochal event in both rock 'n' roll and youth culture. This book is the story of Kurt Cobain's life, from abject poverty to unbelievable wealth, power and fame. It traces the journey from his humble origins in Aberdeen to becoming lead singer of Nirvana, the most popular rock band in the world from 1991 to 1994, and the most influential band of this decade. The beautifully written text is complimented by 16 pages of photographs.Based on over one hundred interviews, Charley Cross allows us to understand Kurt Cobain's personality. This is an incredible tale of a strange, tortured and very talented man.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 28mm | 299.37g
  • Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Sceptre
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 x 8pp b/w plate sections
  • 0340739398
  • 9780340739396
  • 26,597

Review quote

This superbly researched and harrowing book...The squalor is ghastly but the sheer sadness of Cobain's brief life is beautifully conveyed here. Cross has painstakingly accumulated a wealth of telling detail... Robert Sandall in THE SUNDAY TIMES Cross's research is impeccable... he writes with a fine mixture of sympathy and sense, weeding the myth of all its lies and exaggerations, but never minimising the complexity of his subject. HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN is, or should be, the last word on Kurt Cobain. Lynn Barber in the DAILY TELEGRAPH I was very glad to read this biography, the result of four years' research and 400 interviews, not to mention the sainted Kurt's police and medical records AND his unpublished journals. I was in hog heaven all the way through - in a caring, wistful way, of course. Julie Birchill in THE GUARDIAN A biography worth reading. The book is especially good once we get past Cobain's squalid early years to the moment when he suddenly wakes up to find himself the most famous pop star in the world. James Delingpole in THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Cross's portrayal of a shy but prodigiously gifted child, in artistic as well as musical terms, is a joy to read THE OBSERVER The secret here is that Cross was allowed unprecedented access to Cobain's world; his diaries, artworks and most significantly the people who surrounded him. Cross may vividly depict the seemingly inevitable demise of a rock star but he also successfully conveys just what all the fuss was about in the first place. THE LISTshow more

About Charles R. Cross

Charles Cross has lived in Seattle for many years, is the former editor for the Rocket and writes for Rolling Stone and Esquire.show more

Review Text

One of the defining moments of the 1990s music scene was the suicide of Kurt Cobain, founder of massively successful band Nirvana and at the forefront of the Seattle grunge movement. This detailed and impressive biography of Cobain by Charles R Cross enables us to understand Cobain's achievements and set his miserable death in some kind of context. Cross was the editor of a music magazine in Seattle at the time of Nirvana's rise to fame and thus had the opportunity to see the events unfolding. With a commitment rare in pop biography, he has pieced together Cobain's briefly glorious but mostly tragic tale not merely by cutting and pasting from old articles, but by gathering information from many of the major players in Cobain's life, including his wife Courtney Love, family and band members, and others involved in the music industry at the time. A number of the interviewees no longer speak to each other (Cross's inclusion of all their testimonies must have required impressive diplomacy and persuasiveness) and the reader is able to gain a wide, sometimes contradictory perspective on the subject. For his part, Cross does not judge Cobain or lionize him, choosing instead to present the recorded facts along with the opinions of others and the particular insights provided by the musician's own private journals, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Cobain often gave the impression that he was making life up as he went along, but one gets the impression that he was driven to succeed and actively sought fame. Unfortunately, having achieved all his ambitions he found that he was no happier than before and drugs, especially heroin, became a new and dangerous way to seek contentment. Sadly he rationalized his addiction, believing that the medication he took for acute stomach problems had much the same effect as the 'heroine', so he might as well indulge. Cross has produced an even-handed, exhaustive study of a lonely, self-destructive life. Cobain's time on Earth was short (1967-94) and this account can sometimes feel uncomfortably voyeuristic in its level of detail, but will be ambrosia for the fans. This is a depressing cautionary tale for our times. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

19,738 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 40% (7,823)
4 36% (7,141)
3 19% (3,760)
2 4% (753)
1 1% (261)
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