All Apologies

All Apologies
"All Apologies"
Single by Nirvana
from the album In Utero
A-side "Rape Me"
B-side "Moist Vagina"
Released December 1993
Format CD, gramophone record, cassette tape
Recorded February 1993 at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota
Genre Grunge, alternative rock
Length 3:50
Label DGC
Writer(s) Kurt Cobain
Producer Steve Albini
Nirvana singles chronology
"Heart-Shaped Box"
"All Apologies"/ "Rape Me"
"Pennyroyal Tea"

"All Apologies" is a song by the American grunge band Nirvana, written by frontman Kurt Cobain. It was released as the second single (as a double A-side with "Rape Me") from the band's third album, In Utero, which was released on September 21, 1993. "All Apologies" was the band's third number one Modern Rock hit and reached number 32 on the UK Singles Chart.



"All Apologies" had been around since 1990. Nirvana first recorded the song during a January 1, 1991 demo session with Craig Montgomery in Seattle, Washington. This version of the song had more a folk music aspect than later versions. Bassist Krist Novoselic accompanied Kurt Cobain on a second guitar instead of his standard instrument, utilizing several seventh chords as he played. Drummer Dave Grohl's drumming was accented by a tambourine.[1]

Nirvana recorded the song for its third album In Utero in February 1993 with Steve Albini in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The song, at that point tentatively titled "La La La", was recorded on February 14. The recording featured Kera Schaley on cello, who was the only other musician to play on the album besides the band members.[2] It was remixed, along with "Heart-Shaped Box" and later "Pennyroyal Tea," by Scott Litt prior to the album's release, with Cobain asserting that the vocals and bass sounded "mushy" in the unmastered Albini recording. Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic viewed "All Apologies" and "Heart-Shaped Box", the other single released from In Utero, as "gateways" to the more abrasive sound of the rest of the album, telling journalist Jim DeRogatis that once listeners played the record they would discover "this aggressive wild sound, a true alternative record, one of the best songs of the nineties".[3]

Composition and lyrics

Cobain dedicated "All Apologies" to his wife Courtney Love and their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. The songwriter told biographer Michael Azerrad that while the lyrics had nothing to do with his family, the song's mood (which Cobain summarized in the words "Peaceful, happy, comfort") was intended for them.[4]

Release and reception

"All Apologies" was released as a split single with "Rape Me" in December 1993 on CD, cassette tape, and 7" and 12" vinyl record formats.[5] The only instruction Cobain gave the single's art director Robert Fisher regarding the packaging was that he wanted "Something with seahorses".[6] Like its predecessor "Heart-Shaped Box", the single was not released commercially in the United States.[5] Everett True of Melody Maker made "All Apologies" the Single Of The Week for the magazine; he wrote "It's the most supremely resigned, supremely weary fuck you to the outside world I've heard this year. 'All Apologies' has the most gorgeous, aching tune, an emotionally draining ennui."[7] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 455 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8] This song also ranked at number 99 in Blender's The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.[9]

The Unplugged version, which features Lori Goldston on cello, appears on the band's 1994 album MTV Unplugged in New York. This version was also included on the 2002 "best-of" compilation album, Nirvana. An acoustic demo appears on the band's rarities box set, With the Lights Out released in 2004 and on the compilation album, Sliver: The Best of the Box released in 2005.

"All Apologies" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song in 1995.[10]

Track listing

All songs written by Kurt Cobain

  1. A. "All Apologies" - 3:50
  2. A. "Rape Me" - 2:49
  3. B. "Moist Vagina" - 3:34

Some versions of the single list "Moist Vagina" as "MV".


  • Kera Schaley: cello on "All Apologies"

Charts and succession

Chart (1993) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[11] 20
UK Singles Chart[12] 32
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[13] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks[13] 1
Chart (1994) Peak
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[14] 41
French Singles Chart[15] 20
New Zealand Singles Chart[16] 32

Cover version

Sinéad O'Connor released the song as a double A-side single with Famine, from her album Universal Mother in 1995.


  • Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1994. ISBN 0-385-47199-8
  • DeRogatis, Jim. Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's. Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81271-1
  • Gaar, Gillian G. In Utero. Continuum, 2006. ISBN 0-8264-1776-0


  1. ^ Gaar, p. 13-14
  2. ^ Gaar, p. 55
  3. ^ DeRogatis, p. 18
  4. ^ Azerrad, p. 32
  5. ^ a b Gaar, Gillian G. "Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History of Nirvana". Goldmine. February 14, 1997.
  6. ^ Gaar, p. 85-86
  7. ^ True, Everett (2007). Nirvana: The Biography. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81554-6. p. 502.
  8. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500)". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
  9. ^ #99 in Blender's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born
  10. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 26, 1995). "Playing Grammy Roulette". The New York Times. Retrieved on March 6, 2009.
  11. ^ "Search the charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved on December 8, 2008. NB: Enter "All Apologies" in "Search by Song Title" and click "search".
  12. ^ "All Apologies/Rape Me". Chart Stats. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  13. ^ a b "Nirvana > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  14. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 59, No. 7, March 07 1994". RPM:59 (7). March 7, 1994. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  15. ^ "Nirvana - All Apologies (Chanson)". (in French). Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  16. ^ "Nirvana - All Apologies (Song)". Retrieved on December 8, 2008.

External links

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