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Paul McCartney to Front Nirvana at Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Nearly 20 years after Nirvana ended with the suicide of singer Kurt Cobain, the band will be back together for one night … but not with the help of a hologram. None other than Sir Paul McCartney will reportedly fill in for the late grunge god and be backed up by Dave Grohl on drums, Krist Novoselic on bass, and unofficial member Pat Smear on guitar for a performance at the Hurricane Sandy benefit in New York City on Wednesday night. Although the news began as speculation, McCartney's publicist would neither "confirm nor deny."

But before fans start complaining that a 70-year-old grandfather shouldn't be singing songs like "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the song the new quartet is set to perform will be an original that was created during a recent studio session. McCartney told The Sun that during a phone conversation with Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman asked him to join him and "jam with some mates." And when he arrived, those pals ended up being his former Nirvana co-members. "I didn't really know who they were," McCartney said of Smear and Novoselic. "They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said 'Whoa? You guys haven't played together for all that time?' And somebody whispered to me 'That's Nirvana. You're Kurt.' I couldn't believe it."

Neither can a lot of Nirvana fans. But although it may seem crazy to have someone like McCartney fill the Converse sneakers of Cobain, who shot himself in April 1994 at the age of 27, it's likely not something that would make him roll over in his grave. According to Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Cobain wrote the 1989 song "About a Girl" after spending an afternoon listening to Meet the Beatles! on repeat.

In a December 1993 interview with MTV, Cobain talked about wanting to change up Nirvana's grunge sound, and cited McCartney and Co. as a successful example of that. "I want to do something different," he explained. "And I want to have enough guts to do that. If it alienates people, then that's too bad. You know, the Beatles went from — not to compare us to the Beatles — but the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and bands like that went from 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' to 'Sgt. Pepper's.' That was a massive progression."

But Cobain never got the chance to achieve that goal. Five months later on April 8, his body was found in his Seattle home after he had been missing for days. He left behind wife Courtney Love and then-20-month-old daughter Frances Bean.

The "12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief" airs tonight on 34 U.S. networks and streams online at 7:30 pm EST.

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