Courtney Love (born Love Michelle Harrison, 9.7.1964)
Courtney Love is an American songwriter, musician and actress.
Courtney Love: Childhood
Courtney Love was born to Linda Carroll and Hank Harrison. Linda was a therapist and Hank was formerly a roadie for The Grateful Dead, as well as being a publisher. Courtney had a turbulent childhood: her parents divorced when she was young and underwent a custody battle, with Linda accusing Hank of having given Courtney LSD at the age of three (though he vehemently denies this).
Courtney mainly lived with her mother, eventually settling in hippy communes in Oregon. She then went to a boarding school in Nelson, New Zealand. Whilst there, she was a huge fan of Bay City Rollers and applied to join the Mickey Mouse Club (which spawned careers for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears) but was rejected after reading a Sylvia Plath poem.
At the age of 16, Love travelled independently around England, financed by a trust fund and hanging out with musicians such as Julian Cope of The Teardrop Explodes, as well as Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen.
Courtney Love: Music Career & Acting
Courtney Love's first foray into music was as the singer of Faith No More. Roddy Bottum has since stated that Love's personality did not fit in.
When Courtney Love moved to Portland, Oregon, she formed a band with Kat Bjelland (later of Babes in Toyland) and Jennifer Finch (later of L7), called Sugar Baby Doll (or Sugar Babylon). They wore ripped baby doll dresses, and dubbed their style 'Kinderwhore'.
In 1986, Courtney auditioned for the role of Nancy Spungen in Alex Cox's Sid and Nancy. She lost out to Chloe Webb, but played Nancy's friend Gretchen. Sid Vicious was played by Gary Oldman. The following year, Alex Cox cast Courtney in his spaghetti-western, Straight to Hell, along with Joe Strummer, Grace Jones, Kathy Burke and Dennis Hopper.
After recruiting Eric Erlandson on guitar, Courtney Love formed Hole in 1989. Their debut album, Pretty on the Inside, was produced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, as well as Dom Fleming. She made a number of musician friends in this period of her life, including R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Shortly before the release of Live Through This, their second studio album, the band was hit by tragedy when Courtney's husband, Kurt Cobain died of an apparent suicide. A few months later, the bass player, Kristen Pfaff also died, of a suspected heroin overdose. She was replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur.
In 1996, Courtney Love appeared in Milos Forman's biopic The People Vs. Larry Flynt, playing Larry Flynt's wife, Althea. Larry was played by Woody Harrelson and the film also featured Edward Norton (whom she briefly dated). Love's performance was highly acclaimed and her public perception of her abilities started to shift.
Hole's next album, released in 1998 was another success for Love. Entitled Celebrity Skin, the album featured a more polished sound, that Love dubbed 'Fleetwood Smack'. Drummer Patty Schemel had left the band and was replaced by a session drummer, Samantha Malone.
Hole began a US tour in 1999 supporting Marilyn Manson but dropped out half way through.
In 2001, the future of Hole was uncertain. Love started a 'supergroup' named Bastard, with Louise Post of Veruca Salt and bass player Gina Crosley. Crosley was replaced by Corey Parks from Nashville Pussy, but the project never came to fruition.
2004 saw Courtney Love release a solo album entitled America's Sweetheart. The album received mixed reviews but it did not fare as well commercially as previous releases with Hole.
Courtney's second solo album, Nobody's Daughter, was started in 2005, with Linda Perry (former singer of 4 Non Blondes and songwriter for artists such as Pink, among others) at the helm, producing the album. Billy Corgan is also one of the album's collaborators. Among the musicians playing on the album are Schoo Fisher of Ozric Tentacles, Micko Larkin and Bethia Beadman.
In 2009, it was announced that Hole would be reforming, with Micko Larkin (formerly of Larrikin Love) replacing Eric Erlandson. It was also reported that Melissa Auf Der Maur would be re-joining.
Courtney Love: Personal Life
Courtney Love married Kurt Cobain, singer, guitarist and lead songwriter of Nirvana, in Hawaii, in 1992. Six months later, Courtney gave birth to their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
Kurt Cobain was found dead at their family home, with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in his head. His suicide note featured lyrics from a Neil Young song, 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)'.
In 2006, Courtney Love published her memoir, Dirty Blonde, which featured extracts of her diaries that she had kept since she was young.