There is almost nothing left un-pilfered about Nirvana. There have been more box sets, re-releases, bonus tracks, and #rare archive material than I care to remember, but just when you think the well has been tapped dry – somehow something new manages to surface. Today, we've been gifted an alternative version of "Marigold".
"Marigold" was written and composed by Dave Grohl in 1992 for a solo album called Pocketwatch, which he released under the pseudonym Late! It was re-recorded by Nirvana in 1993, during the In Utero sessions, and Kurt Cobain is said to have sung the low harmony and played either drums or guitar although there are equal rumours that say Cobain was actually absent during the production of "Marigold", and it remains the only Nirvana track he had no hand in writing. It ended up being released as the b-side to "Heart Shaped Box", and later appeared in the posthumous box set With the Lights Out in 2004. A live version was then featured on the Foo Fighters' Skin and Bones in 2006.
So that's you caught up on the potted history of "Marigold", and below you can listen to the newly surfaced alternative version from the 1993 sessions, featuring additional cello by Kera Schaley – who also performed on "All Apologies" and is the only other musician to play on In Utero besides members of Nirvana. Here's what Dave Grohl had to say about the song when Rolling Stone asked him if he was "surprised" that Kurt wanted to record it.
"I wrote that on the four-track machine at the house. He was in his room. I didn't want to wake him. So I would record things, whispering quietly into a microphone. I was recording the vocal harmony to the chorus of that song, and the door opened. He goes, 'What's that?' 'It's just this thing I wrote.' 'Let me hear it.'
We sat there and played it a few times. I would do the high harmony, he would do the low harmony. It's funny writing songs with other people. I've never done that. I write songs [for Foo Fighters] and then the band plays them with me. But sitting face to face with someone, that's another trip. I don't know if he had ever done that either. It was like an uncomfortable blind date. 'Oh, you sing too? Let's harmonize together.' I was kind of shy back then too.
I was very flattered. But I remember, I think it might have been Steve who said, 'Marigold' should maybe be on the album. I was terrified [laughs]. No, no, wait. It was that famous joke: What's the last thing the drummer said before he got kicked out of the band? 'Hey, I wrote a song.'
Obviously, it didn't make it. ['Marigold' came out as the B-side to 'Heart-Shaped Box'.] I'm glad. Because the album retained the integrity of Kurt's vision. But I was incredibly flattered. 'Really, you like that?'"