BY SAM GUTELLE
A month after a long-lost Beatles Christmas record arrived on YouTube, another rare piece of music history has shown up on the world’s top video site. John Purkey, a friend of Kurt Cobain’s, has uploaded four early Nirvana demos, which he had previously kept stowed away for years.
The demos date back to 1988, and they feature early versions of songs that would eventually appear on Nirvana’s debut album Bleach, which was released in 1989. In the comment sections of Purkey’s videos, Nirvana diehards have discussed the numerous differences between the demo versions of particular tracks and their album counterparts.
In a video accompanying his four uploads, Purkey talks about the history of the demos, which were nearly wiped out due to storm damage from a monsoon. Ultimately, Purkey decided to sell his Nirvana tapes to a collector, who can keep them safe. “It feels good not to have to worry about that stuff anymore,” he said.
Thankfully, Purkey has decided to share his rare demos with the internet community at large. His uploads are the latest example of YouTube’s power as a digital archive. Whether your old footage features nuclear tests, NASA launches, the O.J. Simpson trial, or an early performance from one of the 20th century’s most iconic bands, YouTube can prevent it from decaying while ensuring it endures as a historical document.