The top 10 questions about the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind

Nevermind Cover

Kirk Weddle

It’s one of the most famous album covers from the past 30 years, and that means you probably have some questions about it. That’s why we’re telling you the basics about the cover to Nirvana’s classic, Nevermind.

The basics

Q: Who is the Nevermind baby? How did he get on the cover?

The baby’s name is Spencer Elden, and his parents were friends of photographer Kirk Weddle. The label gave them $200 to use Spencer for the shoot.

Q: Who photographed the Nevermind cover?

Nevermind was photographed by Kirk Weddle. One of Weddle’s specialties is underwater photography, and he employed that when shooting the cover for Nevermind.

Q: Where is the Nevermind pool?

The cover was shot in Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

Q: What happened to the Nevermind dollar on a hook?

We don’t know. The dollar was added after the photograph was taken.

The photo shoot and cover

Q: Did they always plan on having a baby chasing a dollar?

Not necessarily. There were many different shots, and the band was even photographed for the cover.

Q: Why was the baby chasing a dollar?

Kirk Weddle believes it was meant to be a jab at the record label. “ I can’t say for sure if the chasing the dollar bill was a dig at the label,” he told Spin, “but that’s how it looks.”

Q: Was Spencer always the baby?

Weddle says he shot a few different babies, including a girl. The record label decided they wanted the controversial photo of a nude baby boy, so Spencer made the cut.

Q: How did people react to the cover?

For the most part, the band kept censorship of the cover at bay. Some reports say Cobain insisted any censorship be accompanied by the following message: “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile.”

There were also parodies, homages, and countless other tributes. One of the first was Weird Al’s cover for Off The Deep End, which included a parody of Smells Like Teen Spirit. The photographer? None other than Kirk Weddle.

Off the Deep End cover

Kirk Weddle

After the cover

Q: What happened to the baby?

Spencer has endured hundreds of interviews over the years. As of this writing, he’s an artist.

Among his media appearances are a recreation of the legendary photo (though it wasn’t shot by Weddle).

Spencer Elden today

He also appeared in a short video in 2011.

Q: What happened to the photographer?

Weddle continues to photograph a wide range of subjects, some underwater, some not. In addition to Weddle’s site, you can find a good overview of his work here.


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