Nirvana was a popular American rock band originating from Aberdeen, Washington. With the lead single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from their 1991 album Nevermind, Nirvana exploded into the mainstream, bringing along with it a subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. Other Seattle grunge bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden also gained in popularity, and, as a result, alternative rock became a dominant genre on radio and music television in the United States during the early-to-middle 1990s.
As Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain found himself referred to in the media as the "spokesman of a generation", with Nirvana the "flagship band" of "Generation X". Cobain was uncomfortable with the attention and placed his focus on the band's music, challenging the band's audience with their third studio album In Utero. While Nirvana's mainstream popularity waned somewhat in the months following its release, their core audience cherished the band's dark interior, particularly after their 1993 performance on MTV Unplugged.
Nirvana's brief run ended with the death of Cobain in 1994, but the band's popularity expanded in the years that followed. Eight years after Cobain's death, "You Know You're Right", an unfinished demo that the band recorded two months prior to Cobain's death, topped radio playlists around the world. Since their debut, the band has sold more than sixty million albums worldwide (see also Best selling music artists), including more than ten million copies of Nevermind in the US alone. Nirvana remains a consistent presence on radio stations worldwide.