The classic rock station here in Toronto, Q107 — which I believe has been trying to set a record for "Most times playing 'Takin' Care Of Business' by BTO" for the last decade — has started playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nirvana. Today I heard it for the second time; the first time I assumed I must have unknowingly flipped the dial to the Edge, but this could be no mistake.
I get it: the song's from 1991, and that's 17 years ago. Most of the students I teach weren't alive when the thing came out. If you want to define this song "classic" status in terms of sheer age, then fine — I mean, when I first started listening to classic rock in about 1992 (namely, to Detroit's WCSX, which I could pull in from my parents' house), 17 years before that was 1975, and I know for a fact that station played stuff from that year and newer.
But Nirvana is different. You can trace it back through various roots and influences to band such as The Melvins, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and farther back to bands like The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Clash. Very few of these bands (with the puzzling exception of The Clash) ever see the light of day on classic rock stations, so it stands to reason that Nirvana shouldn't, either.
I'm not sure why this whole situation makes me feel so violated, but it does. Nirvana is just too important in music history to relegate it to the same station as The Cars, Steve Miller and Fleetwood Mac — popular bands to be sure, but fairly inconsequential.