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As a baby, Spencer Elden was thrown into a pool for the cover photo of Nirvana's famous album

Released in 1991, Nirvana's "Nevermind" launched grunge rock

Elden, now 20, loves Nirvana music

CNN  — 

As an infant 20 years ago, Spencer Elden was thrown into a pool in Southern California to be photographed, naked, underwater, appearing to reach for a dollar bill. The photo would become one of the most iconic images of 1990s music: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover.

Released on September 24, 1991, “Nevermind” catapulted the band and its music to the top of the charts, with songs including “Smells Like Teen Spirit” giving birth to the Seattle-based grunge musical style.

On the 20th anniversary of the album’s release, Elden, the now-20-year-old son of an artist, said in jest that now he suffers more tribulations than other famously photographed babies whose images are associated more with cuteness than grunge.

“When I am introduced, they introduce me as the Nirvana baby,” said Elden.

And because he was sans diaper when the famous shot was taken, there are other questions.

“They usually poke fun at me asking me, ‘Is it the same size?’”

“I always say, “It’s changed, do you want to see it?’”

Elden, also an artist, said he never met Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, whose looks and demeanor epitomized the ’90s Generation-X subculture, a group and a mindset chronicled in films such as “Slacker.”

“Definitely, I like Nirvana a lot and there are no songs that I don’t like – they all have a special place for people,” Elden said.

Elden said he is not swimming in cash as a result of his baby celebrity status. His father, artist Rick Elden, agreed in 1991 to work on the cover with fellow photographer Kirk Weddle. He received no royalties for the job.

“My dad was an artist rigging special effects for Hollywood,” said Elden.

“They went to the local pool, threw me in the water and that was it. It was a friend-helping-a-friend kind of thing.”

On Saturday, Elden said he celebrated the historic release of “Nevermind” with friends.

“We hung out … and just listened to Nirvana music, drank beer and hung out. It was a good time,” he said.