05/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

KURT COBAIN 15 Years Later: Is He Forgotten?

Nirvana's sound was largely crafted by Kurt Cobain, with great assistance from drummer Dave Grohl and bass player Krist Novoselic. "His singing style especially became the default template for rock music," said Sasha Frere-Jones, pop music critic for The New Yorker magazine, of Cobain. "You could look at David Cook. Alice in Chains. Nickelback. He changed the way singing was done."

Cobain's songwriting has also helped to stir a generation. "Kurt Cobain was one of the most important writers in American rock history," said Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music Publishing, the company that owns the rights to Nirvana's songs. "I think 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was a song that changed the way people in the '90s viewed music, everything from how unique the video was to the sound itself."