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Thursday, November 03, 2022

Nick Cave and His Favorite Neil Young Song

Nick Cave  
(Click photo to enlarge)

Nick and Neil are brothers in music, separated by vast time, music and geography spaces. (kinda like some of us and our fave commenters out there)

If you're familiar with Nick Cave and Neil Young and their music, much of this may already be familiar. Otherwise, carry on... 

  Neil Young Tribute album to benefit The Bridge School (1989)


From  a 1990 Neil Young interview by Nick Kent that appeared in VOX Magazine, where Neil was asked about an tribute album of covers including Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds cover of ‘Helpless’:

VOX: You've been been quoted as saying you found 'The Bridge: the recent tribute album "threatening". Why?

Neil Young: "Well I made that statement before I'd actually heard the record.

I love that record now.

Before, I saw it as all these groups saying 'O.K. Uncle Neil, time for that rocking chair'. I love all those guys on the record - The Pixies, Sonic Youth and that Nick Cave guy in particular. When I heard it, it really touched me."
From Nick Cave names his favourite Neil Young song | Far Out Magazine by :

This led Cave to discuss what he refers to as his “hiding songs.” These “sacred” tracks “deal exclusively in darkness, obfuscation, concealment and secrecy.”


Cave shared, “My ‘hiding songs’ serve as a form of refuge for me and have done so for years. They are songs that I can pull over myself, like a child might pull the bed covers over their head, when the blaze of the world becomes too intense. I can literally hide inside them. They are the essential pillars that hold up the structure of my artistic world.” 

Alongside Cohen’s ‘Avalanche’, another track that Cave refers to as a “hiding song” is ‘On the Beach’ by Neil Young, the first track on side two of his 1974 album of the same name. The album explores the isolation and alienation that Young experienced after the success of his 1972 album Harvest. Discussing how his successful album inspired On the Beach, Young said, “[Harvest] put me in the middle of the road. Travelling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride, but I saw more interesting people there.” 

‘On the Beach’ reflects Young’s struggle with fame and his love-hate relationship with being a performer. The musician sees escape as the only way to cope with his feelings, which he admits are “meaningless” in the grand scheme of things. He finds that escaping into nature, spending time with friends and hitting the road doesn’t rid himself of his issues, but that’s all he can do.

Ahh, ‘On the Beach’ yet again.

More  on "the essential Neil Young song and album 'On the Beach' ":


Tracks On The Beach 
by Neil Young
(Click photo to enlarge)

Labels: , , , ,


At 11/03/2022 02:52:00 PM, Blogger Steve L said...

Nick Cave listed his hiding songs in one of his Red Hand File entries.


Avalanche, Leonard Cohen
Katie Cruel, Karen Dalton
On the Beach, Neil Young
Tupelo, John Lee Hooker
T.B. Sheets, Van Morrison
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, Bob Dylan
Plain Gold Ring, Nina Simone
Holocaust, Big Star
Becalmed, Brian Eno
One Fine Morning, Bill Callahan.

In another File he set out in some detail why On the Beach means so much to him. Unfortunately, it was in sort of a digression in response to a fan query about something else, and I can't immediately find the relevant entry otherwise I'd quote it here because I am sure you would find it interesting.

I love the music of Nick Cave, Neil Young and Low. A musical highlight for me is the collaboration In the Fishtank 7 EP, involving Low and The Dirty Three, which is a project involving one of the Bad Seeds, Warren Ellis. (BTW, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are currently touring promoting the Carnage album, which has a fantastic song on it entitled Albuquerque. Not Neil's song, this is Nick's own composition, but it has some thematic similarity, and it is also a very good song (I nearly said just as good, but Neil's Albu is one of my top 3 NY songs so I won't go quite that far...)

Anyway, back to In the Fishtank 7. On this EP there's a wonderful version of Down by the River, with vocals by Low's Mimi Parker with Warren Ellis fiddling in the background. Check it out, there's a copy on YouTube, it's v. good.

At this point I want to take the opportunity to wish Mini Parker a full recovery from her current cancer treatment.

Sorry for the ramble...

At 11/03/2022 02:58:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

never apologize for a ramble here on TW, Steve. it's what we do. :)

so nick cave.

not sure when we got turned on to him. it was long ago and we checked him out. but we found his music to be a bit darker than we were looking for at the time and moved on.

since then, as nick fans well know, tragedy has befallen him.

and it seems to have changed him and his music.

cave's music seems more accessible now. other than the Helpless cover, we could never manage to find the musical intersection.

but over and over we've had so many Neil fans recommend Nick that we finally took the plunge.

no regrets. check out Nick if you like Neil.

and vice versa.

At 11/03/2022 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Steve L said...

I did Warren Ellis a disservice. The Albuquerque on Carnage is a joint composition Cave/Ellis with lyrics by Cave.

Here's the Low/Dirty Three version of DBTR in case anyone is interested...

At 11/03/2022 09:23:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

musical connections? I am not sure, but the same sort of jittery yet unflinching pursuit of truth through emotional wreckage is apparent- both musicians are creative survivors who have transformed their grief and anguish into catharsis and hope.

At 11/04/2022 12:18:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Steve - no worries on disservice.

@Abner - you nailed what we were trying to say. thanks.

At 11/04/2022 04:18:00 PM, Blogger Phil said...

There are many connections between Nick Cave and Neil Young... About On The Beach, listen "Higgs Boson Blues" from Nick Cave's Push The Sky Away in 2013...


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