Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam

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Posted: 2011 09-29


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Two Hundred and Ten Seconds of Nirvana A Recipe for alt.rock Perfection

If you need a reminder as to why Nirvana were the most exciting and important band of their generation, look no further than this clip, captured in the fall of 1991 at a moment when their breakthrough “Nevermind” was just starting to blow up around the globe, but before the mass adulation and ensuing media attention began to take its toll on the group.

From the fuzz echo guitar and throaty, plaintive drawl of Kurt Cobain to the ferocious, single-minded skin pounding of Dave Grohl and the syncopated, low-slung bass playing of a barefoot and bouncing Krist Noveselic, all the elements of the classic Nirvana sound are present, including the alternating quiet/heavy/quiet dynamics and punk rock power riffing wrapped around a conventional pop song structure.

The number they’re playing is an old Nirvana favourite, a cover of The Vaseline’s "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam", which the group would also play on their MTV Unplugged set a few years later. This version is more ragged and energetic, and is complimented by pleasingly raw camera work and minimal editing, which makes the whole affair seem almost offhand in its casualness. Enjoy this moment for what it was, three guys on the verge of superstardom who were still enjoying the spotlight and happy to be playing before an audience of hometown fans.

YouTube Uploader: deadlygrunge

Nirvana - 01 Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam (Paramount Theater 91)

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam on Wikipedia
"Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam"
Song by The Vaselines from the album 'Dying for It (EP)'
GenreAlternative rock
Label53rd & 3rd
WriterEugene Kelly, Frances McKee

"Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" is a song originally recorded by Scottish alternative band The Vaselines for their EP Dying for it. It is a parody on the Christian children's hymn, "I'll Be a Sunbeam", which has the opening line "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam".

The song was a hit only in indie-pop and twee circles until in 1992, The Vaselines re-released the song with a slight title change ("Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam") on the compilation album The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History.

Nirvana released a cover of "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" on their live acoustic album MTV Unplugged in New York. Nirvana also released two more versions of this song on their 2004 box set With the Lights Out. This included an acoustic version recorded in Europe in 1994, along with a live electric performance on the DVD section of the box-set.

On the version contained on the MTV Unplugged in New York album, Kurt Cobain refers to the song as: "a rendition of an old Christian song, I think. But we do it the Vaselines' way."[1]


  1. ^ Kurt Cobain. November 1, 1994. MTV Unplugged in New York. DGC Records.

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