The Nirvana baby that graced the cover of 1991’s album, Nevermind, the baby that was floating in the pool, naked, chasing a dollar bill on a fishing line, is named Spencer Elden. At just four months old, the infant graced the cover of Nirvana’s iconic album that sold over 26,000,000 copies worldwide. And according to himself (and literally no one else), he may even “have the most famous penis in the music industry.”
The Story Behind The Nirvana Baby Album Cover
The story goes — his parents were going to art school with the main photographer for Nevermind, Kirk Weddle, supporting him and helping him along. He invited them to a local pool where the infamous shot was taken. They were paid $200 for the afternoon, and they’ve never seen any royalties from record sales. “My dad was like, ‘Ah, no problem, man. We’ll just go down to the pool and throw him (in) and that’ll be it.’ And it was no big deal. And no one knew what it was going to become.” He was an unwitting star-in-the-making after the album catapulted Nirvana to the top of the charts and solidified their place in music history for decades to come. As the subject of one of the most iconic grunge icons, the baby of Nevermind is still trying to cash in on his early-life fame.
Every couple years or so, we’ll see the now grown-up Spencer Elden make the rounds in the media. Like when he recreated the Nirvana pool baby picture in 2001 and 2003… and 2008.
Now 25 years old, Spencer Elden is much more than that floating infant in the pool, naked. But he’ll always be the Nirvana baby that we remember him as. “It is weird being part of such a culturally iconic image, because I didn’t really have anything to do with it. But it’s opened doors for me,” he tells the Guardian. Currently living in Los Angeles as a starving artist, Elden works with Obey’s Shepard Fairey and attends the Art Center College of Design. Check out an interview with Elden below.