Courtney Love is one of rock’s most polarizing figures — male or female. But, love her or loathe her, the former Mrs. Kurt Cobain has been almost as successful as she has been notorious over the past few decades. Courtney Michelle Harrison was born in San Francisco, on July 9, 1964, then raised outside Portland, Oregon after her mother (an author and psychotherapist) and father (who had briefly managed the Grateful Dead) divorced. By her teens, the future Courtney Love had become involved with both music and film, splitting her time between bands like Pagan Babies (with future Babes in Toyland leader Kat Bjelland) and an embryonic Faith No More, while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. This later led her to New York City and a supporting role in 1986’s Sid Vicious biopic, Sid and Nancy, but, by 1989, Love moved on to Los Angeles, where she founded the band Hole with guitarist Eric Erlandson, and proceeded to debut in 1991 with the Kim Gordon-produced Pretty on the Inside. But it was her drug-shrouded romantic relationship with Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain that transformed Courtney Love into household name, and then guaranteed an entirely higher level of hype and scrutiny around the release of Hole’s second album, Live Through This, which arrived in stores with unbelievably morbid timing, just a week after Cobain’s suicide. From this point forward, Love’s musical exploits could never be fully disentangled from her personal life, though Courtney’s confrontational persona didn’t help: whether she was struggling to record Hole’s third album, Celebrity Skin, in 1998, starring in 1996’s critically acclaimed The People Vs. Larry Flint, or sparring over some detail of her former husband’s life and legacy. In 2004 Love released her first solo album, America’s Sweetheart, following it two years later with a memoir entitled Dirty Blonde, and then a fourth Hole album, Nobody’s Daughter, in 2010 -- all of this interspersed with enough public controversy and celebrity feuds to keep the tabloids in business. Among the highlights were Love’s on-and-off skirmishes with former Nirvana member and Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl, as well as her own daughter Frances Bean Cobain, but music remains in Courtney’s plans for the near future.
- Selected Discography: Live Through This (1994), Celebrity Skin (1998), America’s Sweetheart (2004)
- Related Artists: Hole, Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters, Faith No More, Billy Corgan, Babes in Toyland
- Further Reading: 10 Unforgettable Courtney Love Moments