Nick Cave is an uncompromising artist not known for concealing his influences. Sample them here on this mixed-genre programme of songs he was inspired to cover.
The latest in our acclaimed “Heard Them Here First” series sees a compilation of eclectic songs, all covered by Nick Cave during his long and varied career, from young punk to modern film scorer. The collection is sequenced to mirror Cave’s own progress – beginning with the Stooges’ punk staple ‘Fun House’ and ending with John Lee Hooker’s ‘Burnin’ Hell’, for which Cave set up a band called the Bootleggers to record the soundtrack to John Hillcoat’s prohibition-themed 2012 film Lawless.
We have brought together a tracklist of artists that were idols to Cave, in many cases going on to become his friends and associates – Johnny Cash requesting him to journey across the US for fruitful joint recording sessions, and Nina Simone agreeing to perform live for him at the 1999 Meltdown Festival.
The original versions of songs Cave chose to cover – on stage, for magazine cover-mounts, for films, tribute albums, in various bands and with a multitude of cohorts – show just how keen a music collector he is. From the 1920s musical theatre of ‘Mack The Knife’, to Pulp’s ‘Disco 2000’, via a Gainsbourg duet and UK comedy treasures Pete and Dud, Cave is resolutely a music fan.
With Cave about to tour once more, and his film 20,000 Days On Earth riding high in the award nominations, interest and respect for his work has never been more acute. With notes by his biographer Ian Johnston and cover photograph by long-term Bad Seed associate, fellow Australian Bleddyn Butcher, this is an essential guide to Cave’s influences for anyone with an admiration or curiosity into his tastes and recordings.