This week’s featured artist is Courtney Love! Born Courtney Michelle Harrison on July 9th 1964, she rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Hole, which she formed in 1989. A divisive figure in the music world, Love has drawn public attention for her uninhibited live performances and confrontational lyrics, as well as her highly publicized personal life following her marriage to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. In 2020, NME named her “one of the most influential singers in alternative culture of the last 30 years.”
Musically, Love’s work with Hole and her solo efforts have been characterized as alternative rock. Hole’s early material, however, was described by critics as being stylistically closer to grindcore and aggressive punk rock. Spin’s October 1991 review of Hole’s first album noted “Love’s layering of harsh and abrasive riffs buried more sophisticated musical arrangements”. In 1998, she stated that Hole had “always been a pop band. We always had a subtext of pop. I always talked about it, if you go back … what’ll sound like some weird Sonic Youth tuning back then to you was sounding like the Raspberries to me, in my demented pop framework.”
Love has had an impact on female-fronted alternative acts and performers. She has been cited as influential on young female instrumentalists in particular, having once infamously proclaimed: “I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming”. Hole’s third album, Celebrity Skin (1998), was nominated for three Grammy Awards. With over 3 million records sold in the United States alone, Hole became one of the most successful rock bands of all time fronted by a woman. VH1 ranked Love no. 69 in their list of The 100 Greatest Women in Music History in 2012.
Check out this live performance of Hole’s acclaimed song Celebrity Skin from 1998, along with a tab of how to play it!
How do you like Courtney Love’s music? What are your thoughts on her influence on young female musicians? Let’s keep that comment section classy, folks! We’re currently offering Video Conference Lessons if you want to learn and talk about the ongoing history of music with a professional!
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