Hole’s second album Live Through This generated a lot of attention for Courtney Love’s band, and probably not the kind of attention they were looking for. The enduring myth around the album is that it was co-authored, or ghost-written by Love’s husband, Kurt Cobain.
It might seem obvious to explain that the term ‘ghost-written’ here suggests that Cobain wrote the album for her in secret, although the timing of the album’s release – just seven days after Cobain’s suicide in April 1994 – may have suggested to Hole’s more mystical critics that Cobain wrote it as a real-life ghost.
Released so soon after Cobain’s death, Live Through This was thrown onto shelves with what I’m sure was hand-rubbing gusto by the record label. It’s also important to note that the label was DGC – an imprint of Geffen, the label that had released Nirvana’s Nevermind and In Utero. ‘Should we delay the release of the Hole album as a mark of respect?’ a well-meaning intern may have suggested, to a barrage of laughter. Record labels will be record labels.
But, my thoughts on Courtney Love aside (spoiler alert: I don’t like her), it seems unbelievably sexist and reductive to think that she couldn’t have written this album. It’s the ‘90s equivalent of believing that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles.
Love herself has only addressed the issue a couple of time, to strongly deny it and suggest that it would be a stronger album if he had written it. ‘His skills were much better than mine at the time – the songs would have been much better. That’s the first thing.’
Hit: Doll Parts
Hidden Gem: Rock Star