One of the most anticipated albums of 1993 was the release of Nirvana’s In Utero, the follow-up to Nevermind, which of course was a major-league game-changer in the world of rock. After all, this is the album that shoved Michael Jackson off the top of the charts for good and at one point was selling 300,000 copies a week. There was much, much hype and great expectations.
Yet when In Utero came out on September 13, 1993, it sold less than 200,000 copies in its first week. Why? Partly because the world had begun to get a little weary of Nirvana, especially Kurt and Courtney’s escapades. But the big issue was with Wal-Mart. The chain refused to stock the record because they didn’t like the explicit lyrics and the cover art, and wouldn’t sell it unless a censored version was made available. The label wouldn’t compromise, so In Utereo was essentially banned from all 1,964 Wal-Mart stores. That hurt.