Here we are now … at one billion views! Nirvana‘s music video for their hit song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off the critically acclaimed album Nevermind reached the massive milestone on YouTube on December 25. It took the video, which was uploaded on June 16, 2009, 10 years and six months to reach its one billionth view.
Bassist Krist Novoselic shared his appreciation with fans on Christmas Day, retweeting Nirvana’s announcement:
Ahead of getting so many eyeballs, the video–which earned Nirvana the Best New Artist in a Video and Best Alternative Video moonmen at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards–Novoselic told his Twitter followers that when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” reached the milestone, it would be in memory of late frontman Kurt Cobain. “The One Billionth view will be for Kurt!!!!” he declared December 19.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which science argues is the most iconic song of all time, isn’t the first music video to garner the astounding number of views. South Korean musician PSY was first to the mark with “Gangnam Style,” which was uploaded to YouTube in July 2012 and reached the billion mark by December the same year. It currently has 3.4 billion views.
Since then, numerous videos have made it to one billion views. Among them are Guns N’ Roses‘ “November Rain” off 1991’s Use Your Illusion I, which reached the threshold in July 2018. The 9-minute video is currently the only ’90s video to have more than one billion views. Then in October, the band’s “Sweet Child of Mine” off Appetite for Destruction became the first ’80s music video to surpass the massive number of views.
Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” currently holds the record for the most views on YouTube with 6.5 billion.