Aussie Buys Kurt Cobain’s MTV Unplugged Guitar For Record Breaking $6 Million

Aussie Buys Kurt Cobain’s MTV Unplugged Guitar For Record Breaking $6 Million

kurt cobain, mtv unplugged
Kurt Cobain at Sony Studios in New York City, 11/18/93. Photo by Frank Micelotta.

Kurt Cobain’s famed acoustic guitar, played during Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance, was the featured highlight at Julien’s Auctions over the weekend where it sold for a record-breaking US$6.01 million – almost $9 million AUD –  to Aussie buyer Peter Freeman from RøDE Microphones, setting a new world record for the most expensive guitar sold. The legendary axe came with its original vintage case, adorned with a sticker for Poison Idea’s 1990 album Feel the Darkness. The previous record-holder was a Black Stratocaster owned by David Gilmour from Pink Floyd that sold for US$3.95 million last year.

“This important guitar has earned its rightful place in rock & roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time,” said Darren Julien, CEO of Julien’s Auctions.

In a press release, proud new owner, Peter Freeman – who is the CEO and founder of RøDE Microphones – said he plans to display the guitar on a worldwide tour of exhibitions and donate all proceeds to the deeply embattled performing arts industry which has been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“When I heard that this iconic guitar was up for auction,” said Freeman. “I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure it and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced.”

“The global arts industry has been shattered by the impact of COVID-19, with musicians and artists being amongst the most affected,” added Freeman. “The last few months were the straw that broke the camel’s back, and for many in the arts have brought forth the harsh reality that they work in an industry for which there is little support in times of need.”

Nirvana | “The Man Who Sold The World” [MTV Unplugged]

MTV Unplugged Live in New York was recorded on Nov 8, 1993, and was the first Unplugged to be filmed in one take. The stage was set with Stargazer lilies and black candles, for the band’s 14-song set that included their own “Come As You Are,” “About A Girl,” and “Dumb,” plus a variety of covers that included David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World,” Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”. The powerfully intimate and candid show inadvertently became a living requiem when it was released seven months after Cobain’s death in 1994. 

In October 2019, the green cardigan worn by Kurt while filming the Unplugged performance became the most expensive sweater ever purchased at auction when it sold for $334,000.

Nirvana’s Unplugged is one of my favourite records of all time, and easily one of the best live performances ever captured on film,” said Freeman. “They were a huge influence on me; the early-90s were RøDE’s formative years, and Nirvana’s music was very much the soundtrack to that time in my life and that era of the company.”

Listen to Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York on Spotify:

Listen to Nirvana: MTV Unplugged In New York on Apple Music:

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