MTV Unplugged in New York

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MTV Unplugged in New York is a live album by American rock band Nirvana, released on November 1, 1994 by DGC Records. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_0

The album features an acoustic performance recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18, 1993, for the television series MTV Unplugged. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_1

The show was directed by Beth McCarthy and aired on the cable television network MTV on December 16, 1993. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_2

In a break with MTV Unplugged convention, Nirvana played mainly lesser-known material and covers of songs by the Vaselines, David Bowie, Lead Belly, and Meat Puppets. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_3

Meat Puppets members Cris and Curt Kirkwood joined Nirvana for three songs. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_4

MTV Unplugged was released after plans to release the performance as part of live compilation, Verse Chorus Verse, were abandoned. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_5

The first Nirvana album released after the death of singer Kurt Cobain in April 1994, it debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200; it is Nirvana's most successful release since Cobain's death, having been certified multiplatinum by the RIAA in 2020. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_6

It won the Best Alternative Music Performance at the 1996 Grammy Awards, Nirvana's only Grammy Award win, and has since been ranked one of the greatest albums of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_7

The performance was released on DVD in 2007. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_8

Background MTV Unplugged in New York_section_0

MTV Unplugged began airing on MTV in 1989, with artists performing their hits on acoustic instruments in intimate settings. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_9

Nirvana had been in negotiations to appear for some time; Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain finally accepted while touring with the Meat Puppets. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_10

Nirvana wanted to do something different from a typical MTV Unplugged performance; according to drummer Dave Grohl, "We'd seen the other Unpluggeds and didn't like many of them, because most bands would treat them like rock shows—play their hits like it was Madison Square Garden, except with acoustic guitars." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_11

The group looked at Mark Lanegan's 1990 album The Winding Sheet for inspiration. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_12

Among the ideas the band members came up with included covering David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" and inviting members of the Meat Puppets to join them on stage. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_13

Still, the prospect of an entirely acoustic show made Cobain nervous. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_14

Rehearsal MTV Unplugged in New York_section_1

Nirvana rehearsed for two days. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_15

The rehearsals were tense and difficult, with the band running into problems performing various songs. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_16

During the sessions, Cobain disagreed with MTV about the performance. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_17

Producer Alex Coletti recalled that the network was unhappy with the lack of hit Nirvana songs, and with the choice of the Meat Puppets as guests, saying: "They wanted to hear the 'right' names - Eddie Vedder or Tori Amos or God knows who." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_18

The day before filming, Cobain refused to play, but he appeared at the studio the following afternoon. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_19

Cobain was suffering from drug withdrawal and nervousness at the time; one observer said, "There was no joking, no smiles, no fun coming from him ... everyone was more than a little worried about his performance." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_20

Recording MTV Unplugged in New York_section_2

Nirvana taped their performance on November 18, 1993, at Sony Studios in New York City. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_21

Cobain suggested that the stage be decorated with stargazer lilies, black candles, and a crystal chandelier. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_22

The show's producer asked him, "You mean like a funeral? MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_23

", to which Cobain replied, "Exactly. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_24

Like a funeral." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_25

Nirvana was augmented by guitarist Pat Smear and cellist Lori Goldston, who had been touring with the band. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_26

Despite the show's acoustic premise, Cobain insisted on running his acoustic guitar through his amplifier and effects pedals. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_27

Coletti built a fake box in front of the amplifier to disguise it as a monitor wedge. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_28

Coletti said, "It was Kurt's security blanket. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_29

He was used to hearing this guitar through his Fender. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_30

He wanted those effects. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_31

You can hear it on 'The Man Who Sold the World'. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_32

It's an acoustic guitar, but he's obviously going through an amp." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_33

Unlike many artists who appeared on the show, Nirvana filmed the entire performance in a single take. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_34

The 14-song setlist included one song from their debut album Bleach, four songs from their second album Nevermind, three tracks from the recently released In Utero, and six cover songs. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_35

In Utero's "All Apologies" had not yet been released as a single, which means the only contemporary hit the band performed was the Nevermind single "Come as You Are". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_36

Cris and Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets joined to perform three Meat Puppets songs with Nirvana. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_37

The set ended with a performance of the traditional song "Where Did You Sleep Last Night", following the arrangement of blues musician Lead Belly, whom Cobain described before the song as "his favorite performer ever". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_38

After the band finished, Cobain argued with the show's producers, who wanted an encore. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_39

Cobain refused because he felt he could not better the performance of that song. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_40

Release MTV Unplugged in New York_section_3

The Nirvana episode of MTV Unplugged was first broadcast in December 1993. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_41

It was 45 minutes long and omitted the songs "Something in the Way" and "Oh, Me." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_42

After Cobain was found dead in April 1994, MTV aired the episode repeatedly. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_43

To meet demand for new Nirvana material and to counter bootlegging, in August 1994, DGC announced a double album, Verse Chorus Verse, comprising live performances including the entire MTV Unplugged performance. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_44

However, the task of compiling the album was too emotionally difficult for Novoselic and Grohl, so the project was cancelled a week after the announcement; the group opted to release just the Unplugged performance. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_45

Scott Litt, who produced the performance, returned to produce the record. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_46

The performance was released on DVD in 2007. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_47

Reception MTV Unplugged in New York_section_4

MTV Unplugged in New York_table_general_0

Professional ratingsMTV Unplugged in New York_table_caption_0
Review scoresMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_0_0_0
SourceMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_0_1_0 RatingMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_0_1_1
AllMusicMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_2_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_2_1
BlenderMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_3_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_3_1
Christgau's Consumer GuideMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_4_0 AMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_4_1
Entertainment WeeklyMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_5_0 AMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_5_1
The GuardianMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_6_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_6_1
NMEMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_7_0 9/10MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_7_1
PitchforkMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_8_0 9.5/10MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_8_1
QMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_9_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_9_1
Rolling StoneMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_10_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_10_1
The Rolling Stone Album GuideMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_11_0 MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_0_11_1

MTV Unplugged in New York was released on November 1, 1994. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_48

It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 310,500 copies, the highest first-week sales of Nirvana's career. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_49

By March 1995, the album had outsold In Utero with 6.8 million copies sold. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_50

The album received positive reviews from critics. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_51

Tom Hibbert of Q said that as an acoustic ensemble, Nirvana sounded "most moving, possessed of a ragged glory". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_52

Rolling Stone writer Barbara O'Dair found the record "stirring and occasionally brilliant" with "spare and gorgeous spots everywhere", highlighting the band's chemistry on "All Apologies" and Cobain's unaccompanied performance of "Pennyroyal Tea". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_53

Ben Thompson from Mojo felt that unlike most "unplugged" releases, the format's "colourless, generic aspect" and not seeing the actual performance benefits Nirvana's record because of how intense it seems in light of Cobain's death. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_54

In Entertainment Weekly, David Browne felt unsettled listening to it: "Beyond inducing a sense of loss for Cobain himself, Unplugged elicits a feeling of musical loss, too: the delicacy and intimacy of these acoustic rearrangements hint at where Nirvana (or at least Cobain, who was said to be frustrated with the limitations of the band) could have gone." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_55

MTV Unplugged in New York was voted the fourth best album of the year in Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of prominent American critics published by The Village Voice. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_56

Robert Christgau, the poll's supervisor, also ranked the album fourth in his own year-end list, deeming it a testament to Cobain's depth of feeling, "sincerity" as a vocalist, and distinction from other sensitive alternative rock types such as Eddie Vedder and Lou Barlow: "The vocal performance he evokes is John Lennon's on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_57

And he did it in one take." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_58

Retrospective MTV Unplugged in New York_section_5

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine said MTV Unplugged in New York was "fearlessly confessional", as it found Nirvana and Cobain "on the verge of discovering a new sound and style". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_59

Jason Mendelsohn from PopMatters believed its intimate folk rock quality was radical from Nirvana and Cobain, "as crass of a business move as it was" by their record label. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_60

In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), journalist Charles M. Young called it Nirvana's "second masterpiece" after Nevermind, and claimed that Cobain could have "revolutionized folk music the same way he had rock" because of his striking voice; he said his songs worked equally well with "a loud band bashing away behind you" or "with just an acoustic guitar". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_61

Maeve McDermott of USA Today called it "an album of transcendent folk rock that glimpsed what could’ve been the band’s next post-grunge era, had frontman Kurt Cobain survived long enough to see its musical leanings through." MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_62

The performance of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" has been regarded as one of the greatest live performances of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_63

In 2013, Atlantic critic Andrew Wallace Chamings wrote: MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_64

According to Acclaimed Music, MTV Unplugged in New York is the 309th most ranked record on critics' all-time lists. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_65

In 2012, it was placed at number 313 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_66

Rolling Stone also named it the 95th best album of the 1990s. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_67

The readers rated it the 8th best live album of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_68

NME placed MTV Unplugged in New York at number 1 on their list of the "50 Greatest Live Albums". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_69

Kerrang listed it among the 11 best live albums of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_70

In July 2014, Guitar World ranked MTV Unplugged in New York at number 30 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_71

The same magazine listed it at number 4 on their list of "The 10 Best Live Albums You Must Hear". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_72

Far Out magazine also included it at number 4 on their list of the best 20 live albums of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_73

In 2020, The Telegraph included it at number 13 on their list of the best live albums of all time. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_74

Also in 2020, Planet Rock magazine included the album in their list of "The 100 Greatest Live Albums Ever". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_75

The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_76

Reviewing the MTV Unplugged in New York DVD release in 2007, the Los Angeles Times wrote that it "deserves a place on the rock TV history shelf alongside the informal, sit-down section of Elvis Presley’s epic comeback special in 1968". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_77

In June, 2020, the 1959 Martin D-18E guitar with DeArmond Dynasonic and Bartolini 3AV pickups, used by Cobain at the Unplugged concert was sold at Julien's Auctions for US$6 million to Peter Freedman of Røde Microphones, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_78

Track listing MTV Unplugged in New York_section_6

All tracks are written by Kurt Cobain except where noted. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_79

25th Anniversary Edition Bonus Tracks MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_80

Personnel MTV Unplugged in New York_section_7

Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_81

MTV Unplugged in New York_unordered_list_0

  • Kurt Cobain – lead vocals, acoustic guitar (1–9, 13, 14)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_0_0
  • Krist Novoselic – acoustic bass, accordion (3), acoustic rhythm guitar (10–12)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_0_1
  • Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals, acoustic bass (3)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_0_2
  • Pat Smear – acoustic guitar (1–4, 6–9, 13, 14)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_0_3

Additional musicians MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_82

MTV Unplugged in New York_unordered_list_1

  • Lori Goldston – cello (3, 4, 6–9, 13, 14)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_1_4
  • Cris Kirkwood – acoustic bass, backing vocals (10–12)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_1_5
  • Curt Kirkwood – acoustic lead guitar (10–12)MTV Unplugged in New York_item_1_6

Production MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_83

MTV Unplugged in New York_unordered_list_2

  • Alex ColettiproductionMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_7
  • Robert Fisher – art direction, designMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_8
  • Scott Litt – productionMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_9
  • Stephen MarcussenmasteringMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_10
  • Frank Micelotta – photographyMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_11
  • Nirvana – productionMTV Unplugged in New York_item_2_12

Charts MTV Unplugged in New York_section_8

Certifications MTV Unplugged in New York_section_9

MTV Unplugged in New York_table_general_1

RegionMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_0_0 CertificationMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_0_1 Certified units/salesMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_0_2
Argentina (CAPIF)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_1_0 3× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_1_1 180,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_1_2
Australia (ARIA)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_2_0 5× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_2_1 350,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_2_2
Austria (IFPI Austria)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_3_0 2× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_3_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_3_2
Belgium (BEA)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_4_0 3× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_4_1 150,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_4_2
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_5_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_5_1 250,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_5_2
Canada (Music Canada)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_6_0 9× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_6_1 900,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_6_2
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_7_0 GoldMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_7_1 24,373MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_7_2
France (SNEP)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_8_0 2× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_8_1 600,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_8_2
Macao (IFPI Macao)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_9_0 3× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_9_1 90,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_9_2
Mexico (AMPROFON)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_10_0 GoldMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_10_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_10_2
Italy (FIMI)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_11_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_11_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_11_2
Japan (RIAJ)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_12_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_12_1 200,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_12_2
Netherlands (NVPI)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_13_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_13_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_13_2
New Zealand (RMNZ)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_14_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_14_1 15,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_14_2
Norway (IFPI Norway)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_15_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_15_1 50,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_15_2
Poland (ZPAV)
Certification for original releaseMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_16_0
PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_16_1 30,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_16_2
Poland (ZPAV)
Separate certification for re-issued versionMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_17_0
GoldMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_17_1 10,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_17_2
Spain (PROMUSICAE)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_18_0 2× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_18_1 200,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_18_2
Sweden (GLF)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_19_0 PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_19_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_19_2
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_20_0 2× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_20_1 100,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_20_2
United Kingdom (BPI)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_21_0 3× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_21_1 900,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_21_2
United States (RIAA)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_22_0 8× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_22_1 8,000,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_22_2
SummariesMTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_23_0
Europe (IFPI)MTV Unplugged in New York_header_cell_1_24_0 2× PlatinumMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_24_1 2,000,000MTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_24_2
sales figures based on certification alone

shipments figures based on certification alone sales+streaming figures based on certification aloneMTV Unplugged in New York_cell_1_25_0

DVD release MTV Unplugged in New York_section_10

The MTV Unplugged In New York performance was released on DVD on November 20, 2007. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_84

The DVD release featured the entire taping, in 5.1 DTS surround sound, including the two songs ("Something in the Way" and "Oh Me") excluded from the broadcast version. MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_85

Bonus features consisted of the original broadcast version of the performance, a 1999 MTV special titled Bare Witness: Nirvana Unplugged featuring the recollections of MTV producers and audience members, and five full-band songs taped during the pre-show rehearsal: "Come as You Are", "Polly", "Plateau", "Pennyroyal Tea", and "The Man Who Sold the World". MTV Unplugged in New York_sentence_86

Charts MTV Unplugged in New York_section_11

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Unplugged in New York.