1992: Nirvana are a smash
Kurt Cobain was never at ease with the fame game, which makes it somewhat surprising that Nirvana agreed to perform at the 1992 VMAs at all. But perform they did, kicking off their set and punking MTV execs by playing the first few lines of their un-PC song "Rape Me," before launching into "Lithium." Bassist Krist Novoselic then capped off the performance by hurling his guitar into the air and catching it with his face. As he stumbled off the stage in a daze, Kurt began trashing the amps and remaining instruments, while drummer Dave Grohl ran to the mic to repeatedly yell, "Hi Axl!" to provoke Axl Rose after he'd challenged Kurt to a fight backstage before the show. If that wasn't enough, the band later sent a Michael Jackson impersonator to the stage to accept their Moonman for "Smells Like Teen Spirit," claiming he'd resigned his role as King of Pop to become the "King of Grunge."