Court Brings Back Nirvana Lawsuit Over “Nevermind” Album Cover

US rock band Nirvana is heading back to court over the “Nevermind” album cover. The band is accused of child sexual abuse after using a photograph of a naked baby as an illustration on the album that kickstarted the grunge revolution.

The plaintiff in the court case is Spencer Elden, the swimming baby from the album cover. Elden, now 32, sued the band and the label two years ago in 2021. He accused them of sexual exploitation that caused him continuing personal harm. He asked for $150,000 in compensation from the surviving members. Part of the lawsuit is Dave Grohl, Kris Novoselic, and Kurt Cobain’s widow Cortney Love. Additionally, Elden is requesting compensation from Universal Music Group, Nirvana label at the time, and photographer Kirk Weddle.

Last year in Los Angeles, US District Judge Fernando Olguin dismissed Elden’s lawsuit. Judge Olguin stated that Elden did not file the suit within a 10-year limitations period after learning about the cover.

Nirvana Kurt Dave Krist
Dave, Kurt, Krist – Nirvana / Image courtesy of Strato Paul / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

Court Revives Lawsuit Accusing Nirvana Over Nevermind Album Cover

So what has changed in the last 2 years that allowed for lawsuit revival? For one, Nevermind was rereleased in 2021. The illustration on the cover was the same. The photo depicts nude baby Elden swimming in the blue waters of a pool toward a one-dollar bill used as a lure on a fishing hook. This cover earned Spencer Elden the nickname “Nirvana baby.”

The 9th US Circuit Court did not rule on whether the image on the cover is child sexual abuse. Instead, the judge ruled that due to Nevermind’s rereleasing in 2021, the original ruling that Elden waited too long to bring his lawsuit no longer applied.

Nevermind” is one of the best-selling albums of all time, having sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It is Nirvana’s second studio album. The group released the album on 24/09/1991. “Nevermind” features several iconic tracks Including “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come as You Are,” “Lithium,” and “In Bloom.”

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