With touring for the mammoth hit Nevermind considered complete February 1993 saw Nirvana booking into the Pachyderm Recording Studio to begin recording the follow-up. Naturally, the two-week session focused on Kurt Cobain penned Nirvana material as well as some group efforts but owing to the speedy rate that he had recorded his drum tracks, Dave Grohl also found some time to record some of his own material. “We blazed through In Utero. I was done after three days. I had another ten fucking days to sit in the snow, on my ass with nothing to do,” recalled Grohl.
Alleviating the boredom, Grohl took the opportunity to first record an untitled track described as “A quick minute and a half of heavy metal-style riffing,” recording bass, guitar, and drums himself. Following this quick outburst, he then decided to re-visit one of the songs he’d first recorded with Barrett Jones back in 1990, ‘Color Pictures of A Marigold’. This time, however, Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain got involved in the process.
Three takes were recorded of the song in all, with the first take featuring Cobain on drums, Novoselic on Bass and Grohl playing acoustic guitar. The recording was largely similar to Grohl’s earlier solo effort but naturally, the professional recording studio and 24-track tape recorder meant production was far slicker this time around. The track had also slimmed down slightly, with one less verse meaning the running time was now some 30 seconds shorter.
For the second take, Cobain had vacated the drum stool with Grohl jumping back behind the kit. Both of these initial takes were instrumental but a third take then followed, with Grohl once again remaining behind the kit and then recording the guitar tracks.
Novoselic also remained on bass but for this final take, Grohl experimented with adding a fourth instrument to the mix. Kera Schaley had been hired by the band to perform cello on the Nirvana songs ‘All Apologies’ and ‘Dumb’ and taking advantage of her presence, Grohl invited her to perform on his track.
Grohl recorded vocals for this final take and in a surprise to many Nirvana fans at the time, the track was released as a B-Side to the first single from the album, ‘Heart-Shaped Box’. This would mark the first (and only) time a Nirvana release would feature a song neither penned by Kurt Cobain nor featuring the frontman on vocals.
The third take of the song was used for the release, although Schaley’s cello was not included in the final mix. The track did however rather curiously feature the sound of a chair scraping on the floor at the start of the song, as well as some other quiet ambient noises. Novoselic’s strong bass was also featured prominently in the mix.
The title of the song was shortened to simply ‘Marigold’ for the release and whilst he first instrumental piece of music was never officially released it was made available in an online ‘leak’ in 2017, as were the first two takes of ‘Marigold’.