Courtney Love Wrote ‘Doll Parts’ in a Bathroom in 20 Minutes
In the 1980s and ’90s, rock music came to be dominated by bands and singers that by and large consisted entirely of men. Courtney Love was one of the few women who lived their lives as rockstars. After creating her alternative band Hole, Love struck up a romance with a prominent rockstar at the time: Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Courtney Love is a rockstar in her own right
Though Love is often tied to her marriage with Cobain, her success was never dependent on his, and vice versa. Love first met Cobain in the fall of 1991, shortly after Hole’s debut album Pretty on the Inside was released.
Their courtship was brief: the two tied the knot in February 1992 on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their only child, Frances Bean Cobain, was born in August 1993.
Cobain’s death by suicide in April 1994 marked a tragic time in Love’s life, but she never let it stop her career momentum. Hole’s second album Live Through This was released just a week after Cobain’s death, with the single “Doll Parts” becoming popular due to speculation that it was about Cobain.
Hole continued to grow from there. Their 1998 album Celebrity Skin earned three Grammy Award nominations and was the band’s most commercially successful release, and the lead single of the same name remains the band’s most popular song.
Miley Cyrus recently covered a Hole classic
Some women who’ve come up in music after Love have paid tribute to Love and her contributions to the industry. One rocker chick to do so is Grammy-winning singer Miley Cyrus.
In November 2020, Cyrus just released her album Plastic Hearts, which blends rock and alternative sounds with pop influences, not unlike some of Hole’s songs. To promote the album, Cyrus covered beloved songs by rock bands such as “Zombie” by The Cranberries and “Heart of Glass” by Blondie.
In an appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Cyrus covered Hole’s 1994 single “Doll Parts.” She admitted that she’d never sang the song before aside from when she rehearsed it for the first time just one day earlier.
Courtney Love revealed the story behind ‘Doll Parts’
Love saw Cyrus’ performance and responded in a heartfelt Instagram post, calling it a “sweet version” of the song.
In a subsequent post, Love shared a video of her late husband Kurt Cobain who claimed onstage that Love was “the best f*ck in the world.” Love went on to tell the story of how she wrote the iconic song — and who it was based on.
“The song ‘Doll Parts’ is a homage I wrote in 20 minutes in a girl named Joyce’s bathroom in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Love revealed. “I had to write most of the lyrics on my arm in sharpie as I ran out of paper. People were pounding on the door as I wrote it. It was played for the first time about an hour later, at the Virgin megastore in Boston.”
“It was about a boy, whose band had just left town, who I’d been sleeping with, who I heard was sleeping with 2 other girls,” she continued. “It was my way of saying ‘You’re a f*cking idiot if you don’t choose ME, and here is all the desire and fury and love that I feel for you.”
“Good songs don’t always come in 20 minutes but the force was strong and that one did,” Love concluded. “Anyway, I married that guy.”