In September 2005, after violating a legal drug probation, Courtney Love was sentenced to a six-month program in a lock-down rehabilitation center, Beau Monde, from which she was released after one half of the sentenced time and completed the other three months under house arrest. During the period in rehab, producer Linda Perry visited Love and supported her by encouraging to write new songs, giving Love a Martin acoustic guitar. Love then borrowed a Panasonic compact-cassette recorder and penned eight songs during her time in rehab, among them "My Bedroom Walls", "The Depths of My Despair", "Sad But True" and "How Dirty Girls Get Clean." Love later told Billboard magazine that "my hand-eye coordination was so bad, I didn't even know [guitar] chords anymore. It was like my fingers were frozen. And I wasn't allowed to make noise [in rehab]." She also told of how she would "sit there and try to quietly write and struggle", as well as of her negative mindset. "I never thought I would work again. 'No one is ever going to talk to me. I'm never going to get a record deal. I'm never going to get on stage again.' So, I just kept writing. This is a very personal album."
Only a few days after her release in November 2005, Love dubbed "The Rehab Tapes" demos with Perry and Billy Corgan. After having returned for the third time to her Nichiren Buddhist practice, Love allegedly started writing a song a day (according to her, the tune "Pacific Coast Highway" was written in a Los Angeles hotel on Christmas Eve, and "Never Go Hungry" was penned in the same day she got out of rehab). In a sequel, the trio put together a back-up band to Love—including guitarist Paul Thorn, bassist Paul Ill and drummer Nathan Washington—and started recording the actual album, with Linda Perry in charge of production and Corgan as a guitarist and arranger. Anthony Rossomando of Dirty Pretty Things and Ben Gordon of The Dead 60s were also said to be present on the work as guest musicians. Love and her band then began rehearsing at a studio in West Hollywood. Many of these rehearsals, as well as various other studio sessions, were featured in the 2006 documentary, The Return of Courtney Love.
In a September 2006 interview, Love declared that the album would be mixed in London by Danton Supple, best known for his work with Coldplay, and was predicted to be released in February 2007. Love did not release the record at that time and continued to issue new release dates which also were not adhered to. The working title How Dirty Girls Get Clean was changed to Nobody's Daughter. Later in November, Love listed the songs that would not make the album, "Wildfire", "The Depths of My Despair", "Sad But True", "Good In Bed" (adding that they "really tried" to make the latest two work) and "My Bedroom Walls", though the lyrics of this one were used on another. The song "How Dirty Girls Get Clean" (which also was the working title of the album) was reworked and was then confirmed not to be featured on the release. Later, she also confessed that she felt the album needed one more song for the work, which apparently had been written in January. Courtney described the tune, which carried the working title of "Can You Make Me Cry", as being influenced by White Stripes, and she would be "fine-toothing" the lyrics and finishing it with Linda Perry in the following days. In the same month, Moby, was rumored to be involved in the album's production in the early stages, told Billboard: "Courtney sent me a CD of demos and I thought the music was remarkably good, it reminded me of Irish protest songs or old Bob Dylan. It was just her with an acoustic guitar." Besides Dylan, – mainly the album Blood on the Tracks—Love had confirmed R.E.M., Radiohead, U2 and Fleetwood Mac as influences on the album.
More information regarding possible songs to be featured on the album were leaked in early February 2007. According to Love, there were another five songs that could be on the album, named "I See Red", "Too Much Dope", "In My Gutters", "Samantha" and "Honey". Love later stated that these songs were mostly demos, except "Samantha", which was the last song to be recorded in late March 2007 and was being considered as a possible first single. In the January 2009 issue of Elle Magazine, Love announced that the album would be released as a digital download on her official website on January 1, 2009. However, this did not happen. On January 2, Love's MySpace administrator posted a blog entry on the site explaining that with much regret the album had again been delayed, in part, due to technical sound issues at the studio where the album was recorded.
On April 29, 2006, Love performed at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center Benefit at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. With Billy Corgan and Linda Perry, she played acoustic versions of "Sunset Marquis" and "Pacific Coast Highway", as well as a one-time performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon". Love later invited NME journalists to a private acoustic performance of more songs in her London hotel room, "Stand Up Motherfucker", "Good in Bed" and "Dirty Girls". Love played four songs from her new album at the Los Angeles House of Blues on June 1, 2007, as a special guest of Linda Perry. Perry played acoustic guitar and sang backup.
In July 2006, Perry talked again about working with Love in an interview with rock journalist Morley Seaver, from RocknWorld.com. Between comments about Courtney's musical abilities, she revealed "working on this record has been just a pleasure" and "a slow process because we've been really horning in on a vibe."
A month later – with her new backing band consisting of Micko Larkin, bassist Patricia "Pato" Vidal, drummer Stu Fisher, pianist Bethia Beadman and guitarist Liam Wade – on July 4, Love performed in Paris, France and on July 9, 2007, performed a "secret" birthday show at London's Bush Hall. Love's final two shows of 2007 were held in the Hiro Ballroom in New York on July 12 and the famous Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood on July 17. Her performance at the Hiro Ballroom was recorded by music website IMEEM and footage from the show was released on Love's official IMEEM page. Love's performance at the Roxy Theatre was also recorded partially by MySpace.com and six songs were posted on Love's official page a few days after the show.
For her final solo dates before Hole's reunion shows, Love performed at Carnegie Hall as part of the (RED) Nights concert series on October 4, 2009 – which benefited the (RED) Campaign – and on December 31, 2009, at New York's Standard Hotel's Boom Boom Room as part of its New Year celebration.
On September 27, 2006, a documentary entitled The Return Of Courtney Love was aired on More4 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Directed by Will Yapp, the documentary followed Love while she recorded How Dirty Girls Get Clean, the original incarnation of Nobody's Daughter, as well as how Love was coping with life after rehab. Throughout the documentary excerpts of new songs were played, which included "How Dirty Girls Get Clean", "Sunset Marquis", "Letter to God", "Pacific Coast Highway" and "Stand Up Motherfucker", as well as others which remain unidentified.
In October 2006, during an interview for Rolling Stone concerning Dirty Blonde, Love played an impromptu and "raspy, absurdly awesome" version of "Never Go Hungry", which at the time was titled "Never Go Hungry Again." The comments were pleasant, noting that "this proud confessional combines simple folk-rock soundcraft with the guttural scream and lyrical fire of a never-to-be-retired riot grrrl [...] it's 1994 all over again." In November, a rough recording of "Never Go Hungry" was released from a podcast interview for The Times and later the same month, Love exclusively played two separate clips of "Pacific Coast Highway" from the unmixed album on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and Russell Brand's radio show. Love later appeared on Brand's show for a second time and performed an acoustic version of "Sunset Marquis."
Billy Corgan and Linda Perry were the principal personnel involved in the recording of the original version of the album, Courtney Love's How Dirty Girls Get Clean. Corgan helped Love lay down some demo tracks at Los Angeles studio Village Recorder in 2006 and assumed the role of guitar player on most of the songs, as well as writing the main riff to "Samantha", while Perry co-wrote a number of songs and headed production. In a May 2006 interview, Perry stated that her "dedication right now is to bring back the queen of rock and roll, and that's Courtney Love... my job now is to make that rock and roll record that everybody's gonna love."
However, after many failed attempts at recording the album throughout 2006–2008, Michael Beinhorn was hired as a producer in late 2008, along with an assistant producer, Owen Lewis. Love had stated in a blog post that her "final producer on this record is very strong as a man and has opinions very strongly- he did Celebrity Skin." Recording for the album began in Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, California in January 2009 and continued there for a number of months. Further recording was done at Henson Recording Studios, where "Skinny Little Bitch", "Samantha" and the title track "Nobody's Daughter" are known to have been recorded. Prior to the second sessions for the album, Beinhorn departed from the project leaving guitarist Micko Larkin in charge of additional production. According to Love, she had been listening to Elvis and lots of blues music when writing and recording the songs, which she cited as an influence on the track "Someone Else's Bed".
Final sessions for the album began at New York's famous Electric Lady Studios in August 2009 and lasted until December. Of all three recording sessions, the band's stay at Electric Lady Studios was the shortest and most concerned with additional overdubs (on the likes of "Never Go Hungry") and production. Around that time, Love stated that the record was finished with the completion of the song "Honey", "the widow song" she never wanted to record, but is extremely pleased with.
At first Love was rumored to have signed with Linda Perry's label, Custard Records as a solo artist for the release. Subsequently, Universal Music, which Love as part of Hole had sued to get out of their contract became the record label. On the subject of being under Universal again, Love declared she was "not holding any grudges about it".
At the end of January 2007, Love signed with The Firm, a notorious Californian management company, for representing her on the sale of the upcoming album and on August 7, Love claimed to have struck a distribution deal with Universal Records sub label W14 Music, a London-based label, although Love was still signed directly to Perry's Custard Records. On January 5, 2009, Love claimed the album was endorsed by a tequila and menstrual brand. According to Love's MySpace administrator, the sponsorship accounts for more than 30 million dollars.
Later in 2009, Love denied rumors that she had signed a deal with Custard Records. Information from social networking site Facebook stated that Nobody's Daughter would be released by "CherryForever on various majors internationally." Love hired Stoked PR to handle her public relations across the U.K. and Europe in an attempt to raise awareness of the upcoming release of Nobody's Daughter. At this time it was announced the record would be released under the Hole moniker.
In February 2010, record deal negotiations were mentioned on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Hole signed with Universal Records' Island Def Jam Music Group subsidiary Mercury Records. Hole also announced that the band are being managed by Crush Management.
On June 17, 2009, English music magazine NME posted two in-depth blogs and two interviews of Courtney Love and Micko Larkin announcing the reunion of Hole. The article was primarily focused on Nobody's Daughter, which was up until then a Courtney Love record, and claimed with the "rock Courtney back in action, this music could only come out under one name, HOLE." According to the NME's posts, former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur would re-join the band as a bassist with Micko Larkin replacing co-founder Eric Erlandson, however, a drummer was not mentioned. There was also mention of "tours next year." Erlandson later suggested in an interview with SPIN magazine that no reunion can take place without mutual involvement between himself and Love, as stated in a contract signed when the band initially split.
In response to Erlandson's statements, Love stated that Hole is "MY Band MY name and MY Trademark" suggesting that she was the legal owner of the name and not Erlandson. Amidst this, some fans speculated whether or not Nobody's Daughter would be a Hole or Courtney Love record. Love later stated that Auf der Maur did not end up being a part of the album or the band, despite her earlier statement in an interview with an NME journalist, saying that "Melissa is a darling girl, she never came down and sang, she was as touring and she has feelings." Hole opened a Facebook page and new website promoting Nobody's Daughter on January 1, 2010.
On April 14, 2010 – shortly before the release of Nobody's Daughter – Erlandson confirmed to GrungeReport.net that the contract that he had mentioned in SPIN in 2009, stating, "in the agreement, she agreed that she would not use the name Hole commercially without my approval. She was intent on using her name at that point, figuring it had more value than the name Hole." He also claimed, "[Courtney's] management convinced me that it was all hot air and that she would never be able to finish her album. Now I’m left in an uncomfortable position" and disputed claims that he and Love reached a financial settlement over the name Hole, stating, "we haven’t settled the issue. There’s been no financial settlement. I'm sure what she meant to say is that she hoped for a settlement in the future. But nothing’s happened yet. Courtney and her management continue to roll along with their plans to, in my opinion, ruin the Hole legacy, just for some cheap thrills." Despite this, Nobody's Daughter was released under the name Hole and the band have also toured under the name.
The album debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling approximately 22,000 copies in its first week in the United States. By its third week of release it had sold 33,000 copies in total. The album has been viewed as one of the biggest commercial flops of 2010, having undersold Love's previous solo album, America's Sweetheart (also considered a commercial failure).
The album received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, it holds an average score of 57 out of 100. Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine was critical of the record's "inward-leaning singer/songwriter roots", stating "it’s impossible to disguise the turgid tuneless folk-rock swirl at the heart of Nobody’s Daughter". Other publications, such as Rolling Stone, had a lukewarm reception to the album, calling it "a noble effort" but not a "true success", while Q Magazine said, "The main impression left by Nobody's Daughter represents no great surprise: that for all her raging intelligence, Courtney Love is only as good as her collaborators." BBC Music called the album "rich and emotionally searing", and Billboard Magazine noted that "[with an entirely new lineup], Love sounds as self-assured as ever, sliding over syllables and hitting the emotional high notes [...] Nobody's Daughter recalls the highlights of the band's critically acclaimed 1994 album, Live Through This, and shows that, as a band, Hole is not one bit damaged."
To promote the album, Hole, with the line-up of Love, Micko Larkin, Shawn Dailey (bass) and Stu Fisher (drums) performed "Samantha" on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on February 12, 2010. Love was also interviewed prior to the performance. The band also performed their first show since their reunion at London's 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire on February 17, 2010. The band performed two other European dates at Milan's Magazzini Generali, and Amsterdam's Paradiso on February 19 and February 21, 2010, respectively.
"Samantha" and "Skinny Little Bitch" were performed at the NME Awards at London's 02 Academy Brixton on February 24, 2010. Highlights from the show, including a shortened version of "Samantha", were broadcast on February 26, 2010, on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Love also appeared on Alan Carr: Chatty Man on February 25, 2010, to promote the album.
For promotion in the United States, Hole performed at Spin's annual South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas on March 19 and 20, 2010. The shows were the band's first tour dates in the U.S. since their final tour in 1999. Further U.S. dates were added the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles on April 22, 2010, and Terminal 5 in New York City on April 27, 2010. Love was also the lead guest on the Late Show with David Letterman on April 27, 2010, and Hole performed "Skinny Little Bitch." Two days later, Hole performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
Hole was supposed to tour extensively through Europe during the summer in support of the album, however, due to an unspecified "legal matter", all European dates outside of the United Kingdom were canceled and replaced with North American venues.
The following is a list of songs that have been recorded or mentioned – either by Courtney Love or Hole – during the Nobody's Daughter sessions and have not been released commercially.