In one of the most punk rock moments in VMAs history, grunge gods Nirvana took the stage at the 1992 Video Music Awards to play their hit “Lithium”—or so everyone thought. What actually happened was this: Kurt Cobain & co. stuck it to the man and ticked off MTV execs by starting out with a few bars of “Rape Me,” the controversial track that the network forbade the band from to play due to censorship issues. They eventually segued into “Lithium” but the anti-establishment behavior didn’t end—Cobain capped off the performance by smashing the band’s instruments, Krist Novoselic threw his bass in the air only to accidentally catch it with his face, and drummer Dave Grohl bated Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who allegedly challenged Cobain to a fight before the show. Ah, how it all warmed our angst-spirited teen hearts.
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