There are a few different theories on the origins and meaning of the iconic Nirvana “Smiley Face” logo with it’s crossed-out eyes and it’s drooling mouth.
Most people agree it was drawn by Kurt Cobain and made it first appearance on this flyer for the release party for Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album on September 13, 1991.
Around the same time, it was also used on the front of Nirvana’s Flower Sniffin, Kitty Pettin, Baby Kissin “Corporate Rock Whores” Tee Shirt.
As for it’s meaning, there are tons of different theories. They range from it was a Kurt drawing of Axl Rose, to Kurt getting stoned and drawing it on an apartment wall he lived at or that it was taken from the Marquee of a strip club in Seattle. Here’s the list, you decide…
1. The “Smiley Face” was inspired by the Marquee at the now defunct Lusty Lady Strip Club located on 1315 First Avenue in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Here’s a close-up of the “Have An Erotic Day!” happy face logo.
2. Another theory out there cites the “The Acid House” logo as the inspiration for the Nirvana logo. I don’t know what “The Acid House” is, but rumors are out there that Kurt apparently would visit this place.
3. The Axl Rose theory. Apparently Kurt drew the face as his interpretation of Rose. I think this theory is stupid as the smiley face looks nothing like a smiling Axl Rose.
4. Other say the logo is either a drunk person, a person on drugs, a drawing under the bridge he slept under or Kurt’s interpretation of the face people in the crowd would make when watching Nirvana perform…
I guess only Kurt himself would have known the actual meaning as none of these theories have ever been confirmed. Quite possibly, the logo meant nothing at all.