Few people can boast of appearing on the cover of one of the most listened to and emblematic albums in the history of music. The baby on the cover of Nevermind from Nirvana has gone around the world, and it is that the second album of the band of Kurt Cobain has sold more than 20 million copies in the three decades it has been on the market. In addition, it changed the grunge landscape forever and elevated it to a higher category.
The boy on the cover, submerged in water, is Donor Elden, and he was barely four years old when he was immortalized to star in it. In addition, his face is not only on the cover, but the merchandising has made it possible to see him on t-shirts, mugs, paintings and all kinds of objects. You don’t have to be a fan of the band to know this baby’s face..
In the interviews he has given later, Elden has always been surprised with the significance it had. “It’s weird to be part of such a culturally iconic image because I really had nothing to do with it. My mother has a crazy story. She says that when she was young, she had a kind of vision that her baby was going to be in everywhere “, he told The Guardian in 2015.
However, not all have been joys for the protagonist of this iconic cover. As collected The country, the musician would be frustrated by the financial compensation he has received in return. All those charged with carrying out that work would have made much more money than he did.
Magazine Time reported in a report that Elden’s parents charged $ 200 to subject their son to the photo session, which was later placed with a graphic editor in the pool. The photographer, Kirk Weddle, pointed out that for the session, which lasted just five minutes, he had received the amount of $ 1,000. “My father was called by his friend Kirk and said: ‘Do you want to earn some money today and throw your son in the pool?’ My parents took me there, apparently they blew in my face to stimulate my immersion reflex They submerged me, took some photos of me and took me out. That was it. They paid them $ 200 and went to eat tacos after“, he confessed to The Guardian in 2015.
One of the photographs exhibited in the exhibition ‘In Bloom: The Nirvana Exhibition’, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the publication of ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana. / Samir Hussein/Getty Images
Over time and with the perspective of age, the illusion of appearing on the album cover faded. In the magazine Time He pointed out again, in 2016, that it was not all as beautiful as it sounded. “Man, everyone in the stadium has probably seen me naked as a baby. I feel that my rights as a person were overruled. “Furthermore, he regrets that the members of the band who are still alive, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, have never contacted him.
Since 1991, the young man has not received money for image rights. “Everyone who participated in the album has tons and tons of money. I feel like I’m the latest in grunge. I live at my mother’s house and I drive a Honda Civic. It’s hard not to get angry when you hear how much money was at stake, “he told the publication.