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Nirvana - Polly - Lyrics Meaning

"Polly" was the sixth track on Nirvana's breakthrough 1991 album Nevermind. The song is based on an actual incident that occurred in June 1987. A fourteen-year-old girl was abducted in Tacoma, Washington while returning home from a punk show at the Community World Theater. Her kidnapper, Gerald Friend, attached a pulley to the ceiling in his home and hung her upside down by her ankles. He then proceeded to torture her with razors, a leather whip, hot wax, and a blowtorch. The girl later managed to escape from her captor's car while he stopped for gas. Friend was eventually arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. Nirvana's only addition to the story was Kurt Cobain's suggestion that the girl manages to escape from her imprisonment by flirting and pretending to enjoy what her captor is doing to her, thereby convincing him to trust her and to let his guard down. In the liner notes that appear in Incesticide, Nirvana's compilation album from 1992, Cobain writes about a tragic event that happened after the song's release: "Last year, a girl was raped by two wastes of sperm and eggs while they sang the lyrics to our song 'Polly.' I have a hard time carrying on knowing there are plankton like that in our audience."

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