This remarkable set contains 81 tracks, 68 which were previously unreleased.
The box set spans Nirvana's entire career, from a recording of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" at the band's first show in 1987 to solo acoustic performances from singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain in 1994. With The Lights Out features a 60-page color booklet with rare photos and liner notes by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and writer Neil Strauss.
The three CDs, arranged largely chronologically contains home and rehearsal demos, including for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (whose lyric "With the lights out" provides the set's title), "Rape Me," "Heart Shaped Box" and a trio penned by legendary bluesman Leadbelly.
Heard in the 12 previously unreleased solo acoustic tracks are such gems as "All Apologies," "Lithium" and "Sliver." Six previously unreleased radio performances range from "Anorexorcist" in 1987 to "Dumb" in 1991 (two years before it was on 1993's In Utero). Along with the remaining debuts are a handful of earlier issued, though rare, b-sides and demos as well as the original Butch Vig mix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Highlighted on the With The Lights Out DVD is a previously unreleased video of nine songs performed in 1988 at bassist Krist Novoselic's mother's house in Aberdeen, Washington; the rare "In Bloom" Sub Pop music video, and 10 never-before-seen live performances. Noteworthy among them are debut renditions of "Pennyroyal Tea", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" both from early 1991. Also premiering is an unlikely performance of Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen's "Seasons In The Sun" shot at a Rio de Janeiro studio.
Nirvana debuted on album with 1989's Bleach (years later going platinum), followed by the EP Blew, each on Seattle-based Sub Pop. Drummer Dave Grohl joined in fall 1990 and soon after the band signed to Geffen Records. Nevermind (1991), propelled by the platinum Top 10 anthem "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and its landmark music video, hit #1 and is now 10 times platinum. Up next were the Top 40, platinum Incesticide (1992) and the #1, quintuple platinum In Utero (1993). In April 1994, Cobain committed suicide. Issued posthumously have been 1994's MTV Unplugged In New York (#1, quintuple platinum), 1996's live compilation From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah (#1, platinum) and 2002's "best of" Nirvana (#3, platinum).