Nirvana Baby Spencer Elden Has ‘Nevermind’ Tattooed on His Chest
Ranked highly among the most recognizable album covers of all time, Nirvana’s Nevermind cover features a birthday-suited baby boy underwater and reaching for a dollar bill. Spencer Elden is the now-grown baby’s name, and he now sports a tattoo Nevermind tattoo across his bare chest. However, that tattoo doesn’t mean he’s chill with the band as, judging by the recent lawsuit he filed against Courtney Love and the remaining members of Nirvana, Elden is still reaching out to grab that almighty American dollar.
‘Nevermind’ from Nirvana launched the 90s grunge movement
Released to critical acclaim in 1991, the album cover –and Elden— turned 30 years old this year. Elden was four months old when his parents were paid a flat $200 to use his image. Nevermind was the first Nirvana album recorded with drummer Dave Grohl and stands solidly as the epitome of Seattle grunge. More radio-friendly than the band’s debut album, Bleach, Nevermind debuted the same day as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magick and went on to sell more than 30 million copies, says Billboard.
Elden sports a ‘Nevermind’ tattoo on his chest
Elden did not complain about his involvement with Nevermind until recently and often bragged that he was swimming on the now infamous cover. Elden, who sports a sizable “Nevermind” tattoo across his chest, voluntarily recreated the pose for photographers in 2001, 2008, and 2016.
In 2015, Elden told readers of The Guardian that he was glad they chose him to be the Nevermind cover baby and that he was extremely pleased that his nude image wasn’t used “for something like a Backstreet Boys album.” He also said:
“Sooner or later, I want to create a print of a real-deal re-enactment shot, completely naked. Why not? I think it would be fun.”
According to the New York Post, Eldon’s juvenile and adult photo sessions happened in a lap pool at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, noting that in 2016, the then-25-year-old Elden was paid the same amount his parents received for the original Nevermind image. Elden offered to strip naked at his most recent underwater photo shoot, but his offer was declined, says Stereogum.
In 2016, Elden told Time magazine that he considered the album cover concept “genius.” In that same five-year-old article, Time also mentioned that Elden had “recently” failed to pursue a lawsuit against Geffen Records.
Still grabbing for the dollar
Flash forward five years, and Elden is trying to cash in with another lawsuit. This time, he’s suing David Geffen, Universal Music Group, Warner Records, Courtney Love, the Kurt Cobain estate, and the surviving members of Nirvana. Other defendants in the lawsuit include art director Robert Fisher, photographer Kirk Weddle, several now-defunct record distributors, and the original Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, who had nothing to do with the Nevermind album, explains Variety.
The first time Elden tried to sue Geffen Records, he thought he deserved financial compensation for using his infantile image. This time around, Elden is claiming that the Nevermind album cover amounts to kiddie porn and that the way he reaches for the dollar bill on a fishhook made him look like a sex worker.
Will the lawsuit pan out the way Elden hopes it will? Maybe, maybe not. According to Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiff and his lawyers are bound to have a hard time proving their case due to “the numerous times that the plaintiff himself embraced the photo and sought publicity for himself.”
Forbes says the lawsuit is frivolous, baseless, and an insult to actual victims of heinous crime while explaining that Elden’s 2015 offer to recreate the nude Nevermind cover as an adult is sure evidence of implied consent. At this point, whether or not Elden will win his lawsuit is anyone’s guess. We’ll keep you posted.