Nevermind has since been certified as a Diamond-selling album in the US (over 10 million copies sold) and has gone five times platinum in the UK.
Nirvana sued by the baby from Nevermind’s album cover
Written by Strella on August 25, 2021
Spencer Elden, who featured on the album cover art at just four months old, claims that the was sexually exploited as he wasn’t able to give consent to the photo.
The baby who featured on Nirvana’s Nevermind album artwork is suing the band.
As BBC reports, Spencer Elden – who was just four months old when the iconic cover photo was taken – has launched a federal lawsuit on the grunge rockers and those involved in the making of the artwork for exploitation.
According to the outlet, Elden claims in the lawsuit that the band promised to cover his genitalia with a sticker and that the image constitutes child pornography.
“The images exposed Spencer’s intimate body part and lasciviously displayed Spencer’s genitals from the time he was an infant to the present day,” legal papers filed in California claim.
Elden, who is now 30, claims that the the band – made up of Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and and the late frontman Kurt Cobain – failed to protect him from being sexually exploited.
He adds that his naked image featuring on an album has caused him life-long damage.
Elden is reportedly asking for $150,000 (£109,000) in damages from each of the 15 defendants, who include the band’s surviving members, photographer Kirk Weddle and the manager’s of Kurt Cobain’s estate; Courtney Love.
One of the most famous cover stars of all time, baby Spencer was captured in the Pasadena swimming pool after Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl were inspired after watching a TV show about water births.
His father Rick was a friend of photographer Kirk Weddle, who was setting up the shoot for the album cover.
Elden told Buzzfeed in 2011: “He called up my dad saying, ‘They’re paying me to take this picture of a baby underwater and I don’t have a baby’. I was just born so they went down to the local pool and threw me in the drink.”
Spencer’s dad Richard was actually a lifeguard, so he knew what he was doing: “There’s tricks to it,” he told CNN in 2008
“You blow in the kid’s face and it creates a gag reflex. Infants have a gag reflex, as we all do. You hold him up really close to your face. You blow into him really hard. They gasp, and into the water they go.”
Photographer Weddle shot 18 frames and Spencer’s parents were paid $200 at the time. Spencer recalls: “A couple of months later, they were driving down the road and they’re like, ‘Hey look! There’s my baby on a billboard!’”
Elden hasn’t always had completely negative feelings about the shoot and has previously recreated the cover at the ages of 17 and 25 years of age, where he displayed very Cobain-like long hair, which was typical of the grunge era.