Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds burst out of the 1980s post-punk like nothing that had come before them, and remain unmatched by anything since. More than 30 years on, they continue to reinvent the alt-rock genre into a masterfully sculpted sonic odyssey. So, let's enjoy the best of the Bad Seeds!
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | 'Red Right Hand [Official Video]
Red Right Hand first appeared on the band’s 1994 album, Let Love In, as a six-minute oeuvre that was later condensed into a single cut. The title of this ominous goth-waltz comes from John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, which refers to the vengeful hand of God. The track has become one of his signature songs, epitomising Cave's ability to conjure romance from the dark side. It has been covered by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker and more.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | 'Henry Lee' [Official Video]
Speaking of PJ Harvey… According to Nick Cave, this music video for their duet Henry Lee which appeared on the Bad Seeds’ 1996 album, Murder Ballads, was actually the catalyst for a short-lived love affair between the pair, not the result.
In a 2008 interview with The Guardian, Cave said: “… That’s a one-take video. Nothing is rehearsed at all except we sit on this ‘love seat’. We didn’t know each other well, and this thing happens while we were making the video. There’s a certain awkwardness, and afterwards, it’s like, oh...”
It certainly makes you watch the video with renewed interest!
Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue | 'Where The Wild Roses Grow'
Another famous duet from 1996’s Murder Ballads is Where The Wild Roses Grow, performed with Kylie Minogue. The song is (unsurprisingly) about a man who can possess his beloved only by killing her. In Molly Meldrum presents 50 Years of Rock in Australia Cave is quoted as saying: “‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ was written very much with Kylie in mind. I’d wanted to write a song for Kylie for many years. I had a quiet obsession with her for about six years. I wrote several songs for her, none of which I felt was appropriate to give her. It was only when I wrote this song, which is a dialogue between a killer and his victim, that I thought finally I’d written the right song for Kylie to sing.”
It might seem like an unlikely pairing, but Cave’s instincts were right! Where The Wild Roses Grow became the lead single from Murder Ballads, and remains one of the Bad Seeds’ most commercially successful tracks to date. The pair reunited for this particularly moving rendition at Glastonbury Festival a couple of years ago.
Kylie Minogue | Where The Wild Roses Grow' [feat. Nick Cave] [Glastonbury 2019]
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!'
Described by NME as a "gothic psycho-sexual apocalypse," they basically reinvented the musical wheel (again) in 2008, with their 14th studio album, Dig Lazarus Dig!!!. The Bad Seeds cacophony of rock, country, blues and post-punk rhythms meld seamlessly with Cave’s lamentations on sex, death, God, and America. The spit-furious album basically laughs in the face at anyone who ever suggested rockers mellow with age; proving wisdom and experience can be a weapon in the right hands.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | 'Stagger Lee' [Live in Copenhagen]
This incredible live performance of Stagger Lee on a recent European tour stands to prove why The Bad Seeds remain the world’s pre-eminent punk provocateurs. Cave drags a good chunk of the audience on stage to join him in what seems to be a dance between good and evil, holding him in a middle ground purgatory. Moving maniacally between the two halves, Cave taunts the sea of people with screams of “are you ready?” while Warren Ellis creates a demented symphony with his violin.
You see a glint of pride in his eye as one onstage audience member calls Cave’s bluffs, retaliating with equalled enthusiasm, demanding to know if Cave is in fact “Ready.” His unhinged energy is infectious, and he knows it.
And, for further affirmation that Nick Cave & The Bad Seed are truly masters of their craft, at the very top of their game, who know no limits, check out this mesmerising performance of Jubilee Street from the same concert.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | 'Jubilee Street' [Live in Copenhagen]
For more bold and pivotal moments from the critically acclaimed alt-rockers, check out Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds collection, spanning three decades (1994-2014) of masterful melancholy here.
Listen to our I Like: Nick Cave playlist on Spotify:
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