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"On A Plain"
Song by Nirvana

from the album Nevermind

Released May/June 1991 at Sound City, Van Nuys and Devonshire, North Hollywood
Recorded April 1990 at Smart Studios, Madison, Wisconsin
Genre Grunge
Length 3:16
Label DGC Records
Producer Butch Vig
Nevermind track listing
"Stay Away"
"On A Plain"
"Something In The Way"

"On a Plain" is a song by the American rock band Nirvana. It is the eleventh song on their major label debut, Nevermind (1991).



"On a Plain" was written by Kurt Cobain in 1990. It was first recorded in the studio on January 1, 1991 by Craig Montgomery in Seattle, Washington. It was debuted live on May 29, 1991 in Los Angeles, California.

"On a Plain" was recorded for Nevermind in May or June 1991 by Butch Vig in North Hollywood. It was released as a promo single in the summer of 1992, and became a moderate alternative rock hit.

An acoustic version was recorded during Nirvana's MTV Unplugged set on November 18, 1993. This version appears on the band's MTV Unplugged in New York album, released in November 1994. It features Lori Goldston on cello.

A live performance appears on the band's 1994 home video, Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!. It was recorded at the Roskilde Festival on June 26, 1992 in Roskilde, Denmark.

Another live performance of "On a Plain" from Nirvana's show at the Paradiso Club in Amsterdam on November 25, 1991 appears on the 2006 DVD re-release of Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!.

An early 1991 rehearsal of "On a Plain" can be found after the credits have ended on the DVD version of Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!.

Later, through the release of Cobain's Journals, it was discovered that two lines - "Black sheep got blackmailed again" and "I got so high, I scratched 'til I bled" - were lifted from an early draft of a then-unreleased song, entitled "Verse Chorus Verse".

The song was covered by Agent Orange for the album Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute to Nirvana, and Animal Collective

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1992 Modern Rock Tracks No. 25


  • Ranked #19 in NME's "Top 20 Nirvana Songs" (2004)


  • Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Doubleday, New York: 1993, ISBN 0-86369-746-1
  • Kurt Cobain: The Lost Interview by Jon Savage, Guitar World, 1997


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