So here’s basically what I have here: an alternate history timeline.
-Kurt Cobain doesn’t commit suicide in 1994, he also never even becomes addicted to heroin. As a result, Nirvana is still a recording and touring concern as of today, complete with giving Dave Grohl more of the frontman, co-vocalist and co-guitarist role he has in the Foo Fighters in our reality. Kurt also ends up eventually divorcing Courtney Love and remarries to Charlize Theron; besides their own careers, they form an entertainment conglomerate, Springbok Productions, responsible for projects in film, television, streaming, musical theater, video games, music, books and amusement park attractions. This includes constant team-ups with Disney. Springbok is basically an efficiently run, well-managed version of what The Beatles tried and failed to do with Apple.
-Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Chris Cornell are also both still alive in this timeline, though as a tradeoff, Eddie Vedder dies from an OD in 1998, because without Kurt becoming a martyr, Vedder doesn’t have the mental fortitude to handle his fame. Much of Cornell's solo work becomes Soundgarden material, particularly Euphoria Morning, and Audioslave's albums and songs all become Soundgarden material, here being known as three albums in a trilogy called "The Morello Sessions", a piss-take on Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" and having Tom Morello still be part of the whole process as a guest collaborator. William DuVall also still ends up becoming a member of AIC, sharing the frontman role with Layne and Jerry Cantrell, making the band a five-piece as well moving into three-part harmonies on the songs. The albums Black Gives Way to Blue, The Devil Put Dinosaurs here and Rainier Fog also still exist in this timeline, but with Layne's involvement.
-Van Halen’s attempted reunion with David Lee Roth in 1996 is fully consummated, though the classic VH era lineup still does not last forever, and Eddie’s son Wolfgang still ends up taking the bassist spot. The band and Eddie releases much more music, though Eddie still dies from cancer in 2020. A surprise reconciliation between Kurt and Axl Rose prevents Slash from leaving Guns N' Roses, leaving the Use Your Illusion lineup of GNR essentially intact, Chinese Democracy out in 1997, and the band pushing on to greater glories up through today.
-Tom Petty dies from his secret heroin addiction in 1999 and Ritchie Blackmore from a car crash in 2000; Britney Spears commits suicide during the height of press frenzy about her breakdown in 2007, while Michael Jackson is still alive. INXS frontman Michael Hutchence never hangs himself. Sublime's Bradley Nowell is still alive with the band being a viable and going concern, while Green Day fizzles out after Warning ,with Billie Joe Armstrong's alcoholism becoming a problem much earlier than in our reality. In their place, Nirvana ends up assuming the role Green Day has, complete with making its own analogs to American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Bands like Nickelback and Limp Bizkit are still on the scene and still have their spotlight, but in the former's case, fall out of favor earlier, especially with Layne having beaten his demons and Jerry likewise also reaching sobriety sooner, Jerry's initial love of Chad Kroger and company fades when Layne and Kurt point out the generic approach, repetitive nature, and ugly misogyny within the lyrics. Nickelback's ride ends with Dark Horse.
-Linda McCartney has a double mastectomy in 1994, basically making her an early proponent of the strategy used by Angelina Jolie, even though in 1994 there certainly wasn't advanced technology to find the genetic marker and Linda would simply be acting on a hunch and doing a preventative measure. As such, she is still alive and she and Paul are still married, she continues to record and tour with Paul. George Harrison is also not stabbed at the end of 1999, meaning that his cancer doesn't reoccur and he also is still alive and making music. Kurt, being the ardent Beatlemaniac that he is, actually gets to watch things from The Beatles Anthology onwards, such as the release of the "reunion" singles "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" and so on, and also gets to meet and know the surviving Beatles and their families, as well as Yoko Ono and Sean and Julian Lennon.
-Instead of a segregation of music genres, particularly regarding rock, mainly in terms of playing off grunge/alternative/Adult alternative against metal/hair metal and so on, and Internet flame wars of where you support one or the other, both remain viable genres at the same time, which helps rock remain relevant in the mainstream.
-The music industry as a whole is in a much stronger place, because it accepts and adopts the Internet Revolution from the start in the ’90s; so here each record label and artist website have stores to buy MP3 files from, rather than one centralized store like iTunes. This obviously also includes The Beatles and their solo works, though the creation of the iPod alone is enough to spur the third and final round of Apple v. Apple litigation and the resulting settlement. Radio station and ticket seller/promoter conglomeration doesn’t take as much hold as in our reality. MTV still expands its programming, but mainly remains focused on music as its primary driving element.
-Artists open their archives more and many famous and oft-bootlegged items are released to the public earlier or for at all in this timeline, and this affects groups like The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
-Lots of political ripples also occur that I can’t get into, other than the hyperpartisan atmosphere is cooled down and because of things, COVID-19 burns itself out essentially by June 2020; and except for Italy and Brazil, no countries have to undergo true lockdowns and closures. Movie theaters only close for three months, though concerts and stage productions still don’t come back until 2021.
Here’s also an idea of how Disney is affected in this timeline:
-Michael Eisner’s tenure as CEO lasts from 1985 to 2008. He also leaves the company on a much happier and celebratory note, and is remembered fondly as a visionary. This is because, when making the Capital Cities/ABC purchase, he decides from the start to make Bob Iger the number two at Disney, rather than micromanage the company by keeping Frank Wells’ duties for himself. Thus, Eisner and Iger form a working partnership much like the one Eisner had with Wells that makes everything run smoothly and makes Disney even bigger, especially because Iger manages to convince Eisner to not go forward with certain ideas and do certain others instead.
-The distribution arm is renamed Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures back in 1985, to make it clear from the start that Disney distributes its work. The rest of the semi-retirement of the Buena Vista name still doesn’t occur until 2007.
-Disney purchases both Pixar and Lucasfilm in 1996. This ensures that relationships with Pixar never deteriorate, puts Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull on the board from the start (so Jobs is both CEO of Pixar and a Disney board member when he returns to Apple in 1997), puts Lasseter in charge of the animation studios in ’96 as well, and the “brain trust meeting” ends up adopted by Disney as a whole to keep track on all their projects. Disney also negotiates to get Fox to give up its perpetual license to the original Star Wars, so that Disney is the distributor for the 1997 special edition of the original trilogy, as well as the prequels, the Clone Wars show, and the modern sequel era. The history of Star Wars is essentially the same, except that Lawrence Kasdan polishes the dialogue in Lucas’ scripts for the prequels; by a twist of fate, Adam Driver does not enlist in the Marines but ends up discovered (much like James Cameron did for Edward Furlong to be John Connor in T2) at a gym by Kasdan and he ends up playing Anakin in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (but Hayden Christensen still gets his shining glory in the movie Shattered Glass); Jonathan Jackson, who was an original candidate to play Anakin, reenters the fray by playing Kylo Ren in the sequels.
-To head off antitrust concerns when purchasing ABC, Pixar and Lucasfilm in the same year, Disney spins off 80 percent of its stake in Miramax, keeping only home video rights. However, Harvey Weinstein is exposed during the Oscar campaign for Shakespeare in Love. Besides the fact that Saving Private Ryan wins Best Picture and an earlier, more nuanced and mature version of Me Too/Time’s Up unfolds regarding exposing predators, Miramax limps along until shuttering in 2001, when Disney fully repurchases it dirt cheap and folds it and the library into that of Touchstone Pictures. Many Miramax films released in 2001-2010 are released by Touchstone during this period, though Hollywood Pictures gets some films, and others are farmed out to other studios. The library and filmography of The Weinstein Company, which never exists, is split among the various studios, with less Disney releases compared to Miramax. Disney still spins off the name, but not the full library, in 2010, along with 300 development projects, to Filmyard Holdings, until it is then sold to beIN Media, then split between it and ViacomCBS. Disney does grant the new Miramax the right to securitize the library as well as make sequels and derivative works on the library. This also has an effect in the studio chair. Dick Cook is joined by Meryl Poster as co-chair, and they remain studio heads as of today. Alan Horn remains retired after leaving Warner Bros.
-Touchstone Pictures thus remains a very active label even into today for releasing mature films. The distribution deal with DreamWorks goes happier, with the deal made as nonexclusive to grant freedom for DreamWorks to do other studios; and the original 30-film target is fulfilled. However, there is a hiatus, and Steven Spielberg still forms Amblin Partners and makes the deal with Universal.
-Disney’s purchases of Marvel and Fox still happen; though the Fox purchase happens with the original asking price of $52 billion, because ITTL, Comcast is not allowed to own more than 35 percent of NBCUniversal, and thus cannot bid for 21st Century Fox. Disney also does not try to hold onto Sky, and spins it off to Fox Corporation, which still sells it to Comcast. Fox 2000 Pictures remains active. The Fox name also remains on the assets, because of a number of political considerations I can’t get into here, as well as James Murdoch triumphing over Lachlan.
-Disney does not have a streaming service, because ITTL, Hollywood and the music industry embraced the digital Revolution in the ’90s rather than dragging their feet. Blockbuster not only remains alive, but owns the one streaming service library for all non-pornographic movies and shows that have survived as well as original streaming content. Of course the Disney+ content is still made, it’s under a different umbrella.
-Without the “Save Disney” war, the “Disney Renaissance” never ends to lead to a post-Renaissance and the “Disney Revival.” The Renaissance does dip and have peaks and valleys, but it remains going from 1989 until today, This is in part because films like Home on the Range, The Good Dinosaur, John Carter, The Lone Ranger, and Chicken Little never happen, and certain unproduced films on the WDAS and Pixar slates occur instead. Treasure Planet is also delayed until June 2003 and the first POTC to August that year, to be part of a gimmick called “The Swashbuckling Summer of Pirates”, making Treasure Planet a massive hit. This also means that Brother Bear is WDAS’ film for 2004, and it is tweaked a bit. Disney’s biggest box office flop in its history ends up being The Alamo.
-Eisner is talked out of expanding Disneyland Paris too early and from making Anaheim’s second gate be called California Adventure; the second gate in Anaheim ends up being a revived and modified WESTCOT that opens in 2003. Disney’s America is revived as a 5th gate at WDW. Hollywood Studios undergoes a facelift to be more of a parodic-themed park to be “the Hollywood that never was and always will be.” Except for TOT, everything is rethemed, especially to be non-IP. Disney buys 3000 additional acres to add to WDW to make another six gates over the decades, including a full-scale Galaxy’s Edge, a full-scale Pandora: The World of Avatar, a park called Pixar Place, a park called Marvel: Hero’s Landing, a Studio Ghibli-based park (in place of the Skyway transportation area) and a Fox IPs park.
-ABC does not struggle in its early Disney years and is stable throughout, even before airing Millionaire. The ABC Daytime slot remains occupied with soaps besides General Hospital. Playtime Disney/Disney Junior is spun off to be a self-contained 24-hour network that anyone with even basic cable can access, to make way for an anime-based programming block on The Disney Channel. Disney also creates ABC Classic and Disney Channel Classic, rerun-based channels, also for basic cable. SOAPNet still exists. A great number of Disney Channel programming and DCOM content simply doesn’t exist to make way for better shows. ABC Family/Freeform still happens and exists.
-Eisner never does Club Disney. Mistakes he still makes include Celebration and GO.com, as well as backing certain movies that don’t pan out.
-ITTL, the Copyright Term Extension Act is not passed, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is more liberalized. Thus, Mickey enters public domain on New Year’s Day 2003. Eisner does panic and initially tries to prevent it by filing a letter of revisionist history to claim that Ub Iwerks, not Walt, created Mickey. It doesn’t go over well to say the least, and Eisner is argumentative and tunneled in. He does back down, and Iger takes over for a while as Eisner goes on vacation to put the fires, and he does so admirably. Eisner returns a much humbled man and is also able to turn his own reputation around to be able to stay until 2008.
-Disney never severs ties with McDonald’s, in part because the Golden Arches isn’t forced to support year after year of flops, but they do make it nonexclusive, but still very involved. While the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs full-service location still closes, the freestanding park locations remain open, and there are ones in the new parks as well. Disney also never sells the Saban Entertainment properties (except for letting Haim Saban reclaim half the stake in Power Rangers in 2010, but Disney remains holding the other half) and never cuts ties with Studio Ghibli.
-Springbok co-produces the live action remake slate; and Springbok is able to help sell the public even more convincingly about the films and make them see that there is a purpose and reasoning behind it; this and other things prevents the perception that Disney is a mercenary, IP-driven machine cynically retreading past glories. These are the same, with the exception of some tweaking for The Lion King (namely replacing Beyonce as Nala and fleshing out some more background between Mufasa, Scar and Sarabi as well as jettisoning the version of “Be Prepared”) and Mulan (removing the chi element from the story, making certain elements closer to the original, having Gong Li’s character be a lieutenant to Shan Yu/Bori Khan but not a witch).
How The Beach Boys and their circle is affected:
-The overall arc of history from the beginning of the band up through now is largely unchanged, but there are some positive developments that help things out. Notably, Nirvana/Springbok becomes quite friendly with Brian, to the point that when Nirvana's concept album that is a replacement for American Idiot is made, Brian and Van Dyke Parks look in on the proceedings and give some advice for characterizations.
-The Beach Boys and Brian's solo archives are opened up more fully and much earlier in terms of releasing session outtakes, alternate mixes and live material to the general public, with Capitol taking full advantage of all of this. This includes the full Andy Paley sessions being unearthed.
-Nirvana participates in Brian's sessions for In the Key of Disney, to the point that two full albums are made, one with Brian's name, the other a Nirvana album of that title.
-Springbok co-produces Love & Mercy, and their record label, Exploitation Records, also signs up Wilson Phillips to their roster and spurs a considerable comeback for the trio.
-Woodstock 50 actually occurs in this timeline, as a week-long festival basically spanning the history of rock and pop, with Brian and Mike Love putting their differences aside long enough to perform at the festival. This helps lead to the bustle of activity, rights selling and other news to take advantage of the 60th anniversary of the group.
To see the actual timeline itself, go here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/cobain-continues-redone-a-kurt-cobain-survives-timeline.424961/
A repository of articles in a story on FictionPress is here: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3352454/1/Cobain-Continues-Redux-Press-Clippings
An overview of Springbok Productions and its assorted projects on my FictionPress profile: https://www.fictionpress.com/u/1149966/Toxic29
There is also a Wiki/Fandom being built: https://springbok.fandom.com/wiki/Springbok_Wiki
If you like what you’ve heard and seen, my collaborators on the timeline and I are looking for additional team members to help us build an extended version, and build up the FictionPress repository and the Wiki. If you are interested, please let me know. We would love to have you, especially anything you have to add that is Beach Boys-related. We're also especially looking for people versed in other fields including music in general, movies, TV, politics, economics/business, tech, social changes, and people who can write Wiki articles and code, people with a wider interest besides Zep and have the knowledge to participate.
Note: this project is volunteer-only; there is no money to be made, just interest and passion. Hopefully some of you will be fine with that.