Band that inspired Nirvana, The Replacements, sell guitars for charity

Today in history, September 24, 1991, a rock band from Washington state called Nirvana released their second album. At the time, neither the band nor its record label expected the record to achieve commercial success.

Fast-forward to the present day and that same album, titled Nevermind, has been certified 10-times platinum in sales (with 10 million copies shipped) and is today regarded as one of the most influential LPs of all time, helping to break the alternative rock of its era into the mainstream.

Nobody involved in the record's release could possibly have predicted that it would knock Michael Jackson's album Dangerous off the top of the Billboard album charts by February, 1992. But that's exactly what happened. And the surprises didn't end there...

The Top Earning Dead Celebrity

Jackson wasn't the first big-selling pop star to be usurped by Nirvana's singer Kurt Cobain. While Cobain's legacy didn't mean much to music fans over a certain age, a new development - stemming from the singer's suicide in 1994 - would consolidate his importance in 20th century music.

Legendary rocker Kurt Cobain (left) and one of the musicians who
influenced him, The Replacements' Paul Westerberg as he appears
on his debut album, 1981's Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash

The 'development' in question was a surprising endorsement from Forbes. In 2009, the expert body on all things wealth-related released its annual Dead Celebrity Earners list. The list wasn't topped by John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe or even Elvis Presley.

Instead, according to Forbes, Kurt Cobain was the top earning deceased celebrity that year, with staggering posthumous earnings of $50 million. Cobain's wealth was aided by such business developments as the sale of his songs to publishing company Primary Wave by his widow Courtney Love.

Since then, Cobain has been overtaken in Forbes' chart by other deceased high-earners: First, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and later the King of Pop Michael Jackson. The latter's posthumous earnings reportedly stand at $1 billion, and they're rising.

'If there were any justice in the world...'

Just as fascinating as Nirvana were the underground bands who inspired their music. And one of the groups who unquestioningly influenced Kurt Cobain were Minneapolis rockers The Replacements, fronted by slacker icon Paul Westerberg.

Yet, while Nirvana enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, The Replacements (pictured top right) never broke through to the mainstream.

According to the leading music webzine, Pitchfork: "There's never been a shortage of thirty and forty-somethings reminiscing about [The Replacements]... about how this band should, if there were any justice in the world, have had pop hits and been on the radio."

The Replacements' bassist Tommy Stinson is auctioning a number of
signed guitars to help Haiti

Alas, The Replacements didn't have any hits on the radio. But that hasn't stopped them from entering the world of collectibles. 

Nineteen years after the release of Nirvana's most important album, The Replacements' bassist Tommy Stinson has put several guitars and a number of his trademark custom-made plaid suits up for sale on charity auction site Charitybuzz.

Among the lots for sale is a First Act Paul Westerberg model guitar, autographed by Stinson, Westerberg and drummer Chris Mars. Stinson hopes that the band's legendary status among rock fans will help push the guitar's value to $2,500.

Proceeds from the sale will raise money for a non-profit organisation called Timkatec, which houses and educates children in the Port-au-Prince area, Haiti.



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