Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds debut with the exquisite From Her To Eternity

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Live 1984 (nyt.com)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Live 1984

Introduction

Part 2 in the 5-part mini-series ‘Classic releases in the month of June 1984‘.

Like a bolt from the blue, From Her To Eternity by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds appeared out of nowhere, an album so different, so disturbing, so hard and so intimate, it still keeps me occupied to this day. The first life-signal to a career that thrives to this day and continues to charm and entertain.

The Birthday Party

Even though it was a bolt to me, Cave had turned heads before with his band The Birthday Party, the band that astonished and perplexed their audience with intense, aggressive and intimidating music and concerts.

The Birthday Party - Prayers On Fire & Junkyard (nickcave.com)

The Birthday Party – Prayers On Fire & Junkyard

Originally using the moniker The Boys Next Door, who released their debut album Door, Door in 1979, the band moved from Melbourne, Australia to London in 1980 and released the album The Birthday Party. It would be their new band name.

The music changed. Chaos became a part of the music and concerts, raw blues, dark lyrics and the shout vocals by Cave, made for a complete new sensation. Concerts by the band quickly led to anarchy and chaos, a contributing factor in the band’s inevitable demise. The Birthday Party only released two records, while operational: Prayers On Fire (1981) and Junkyard (1982). Next, the band moved to Berlin, Germany, got exhausted and fell victim of discord. Midway 1983 it was over. The hurricane The Birthday Party had settled down.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

After the demise of The Birthday Party Nick Cave immersed himself into a new career. In September/October 1983 Nick Cave started work on material for a scheduled solo-album: Man Or Myth?, but he felt he would be more comfortable with a steady group of people surrounding him. Nick Cave and ex-The Birthday Party member Mick Harvey formed a new band containing Blixa Bargeld (member of the German collective Einstürzende Neubauten), Hugo Race and Barry Adamson (former bass player in Magazine), that was named Nick Cave And The Cavemen in the end of November 1983. In May 1984 the name was definitely established as Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (probably inspired by the release of The Birthday Party’s last EP, titled The Bad Seed).

Almost immediately, the band started recording their debut album at the Trident Studios in London. These recordings, supplemented with the Man Or Myth? recordings, would lead to From Her to Eternity.

From Her To Eternity

Nick Cave - From Her To Eternity (nickcave.com)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity

On June 18th, 1984, the revolutionary From Her To Eternity was released. Upon hearing it, I was blown away. The threat, the in-your-face production and the sensitivity/romance was new, especially combined the way it was. The driving riffs, together with the sounds Blixa Bargeld made with his guitar, created some kind of high, from which escape was impossible.

The very first song the listener ever heard by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds was a cover, Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche. Nick Cave made the song into his own, it doesn’t even remotely sound like a Cohen song. The claustrophobia of Cabin Fever! that follows is like a sledgehammer blow to the head. The originality and idiosyncrasy roar out of the speakers. Beautiful and exciting, to this day!

The following Well Of Misery on the other hand is slow and sounds like a ‘work song’, wherein the leading figure is seemingly whipped by the percussion. The title track is a minimalist song, that gains its color from additional instrumental embellishments. It’s an addictive song, with Blixa Bargeld playing a major part with his dissonant guitar, the refrain is a great hook. To this day, the band plays this song at nearly every show and it remains one of the highlights in the set. It’s a song that reveals the dynamics by The Bad Seeds perfectly. Pure adrenaline!

Side B of the original LP opens with the song Saint Huck: “Achtung!”, that seems to be spat out with disgust. A pulsating bass (one of the major instruments in The Bad Seeds’ music), with drum explosions. Wings Off Flies is about what the title implies. The “she loves me / she loves me not” game is played. Children (maybe grown-ups as well, I dont’ know) (used to) play games with flowers by taking petals off to determine whether someone is in love with them or not. Cave uses flies instead of flowers. Or maybe not?

Welcome the solitary flyer ya
See it land on the rim of my glass
It’s going around and around and around
Look I just don’t have the heart to hurt a fly
I grabbed it in my paw
Snatched it up
And then I held it to my ear, could hear it scream
Could hear it scream and scream and scream
Till it screamed not…

© 1984 Nick Cave, Jim Thirlwell

And then, A Box For Black Paul, a highlight in the entire body of work of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, and essentially the entire history of (pop)music. The first notes immediately induces goose bumps. The song is about the way the death of ‘Black Paul’ is handled, who obviously must have been an inspiring figure. After his death accounts are settled, the survivors’ in particular.

The lyrics are beautiful, confrontational and moving. The sentences that can reduce me to tears to this day, by the way Cave delivers them, are:

Well, ain’t there nothin’ sacred anymore?

Black-puppet, go to sleep, mama won’t scold ya anymore

Well, I have cried one thousand tears
And I cried a thousand tears, its true
And the next stormy night you know,
That I’m still cryin’ them for you

Until you’ve built a box for my gal too

© 1984 Nick Cave

This song, clocking in at 09:44 minutes, alone provides ample reason for buying this album and putting it on repeat.

Nick Cave - From Her To Eternity - Poster (worthpoint.com)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity – Poster

The album has been engineered by Flood, who would go on to produce U2 and The Smashing Pumpkins later on, and continued working with Nick Cave Up to 1997.

A special mention to Blixa Bargeld, the unconventional guitar player, who brings his unique eruptions of sound to the album. Cave: “I don’t really think he knows how to play in the conventional sense at all. He just makes these incredible sounds”.

Remaster

In 2009 the album was re-released as part of the larger remaster campaign of all Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds albums. The series is beautifully designed and the so-called collector’s editions come with a DVD, containing video’s and clips and a documentary called Do You Love Me Like I Love You, which is divided up onto all 14 re-releases and offers extra detail on the album it accompanies.

Review

I don’t think I have to add anymore than I already have. This album is essential for every music lover, especially those that warm up to post-punk.

Songs

All songs written by Nick Cave, unless stated otherwise.

  • Avalanche #
  • Cabin Fever! ^
  • Well Of Misery
  • From Her to Eternity *
  • Saint Huck
  • Wings Off Flies ~
  • A Box For Black Paul

Written by
# Leonard Cohen
^ Music: Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld. Lyrics: Nick Cave
* Music: Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Hugo Race, Barry Adamson, Mick Harvey. Lyrics: Nick Cave, Anita Lane
~ Music: Nick Cave, Peter Sutcliffe. Lyrics: Nick Cave, Jim Thirlwell

Nick Cave - From Her To Eternity - Musicians (rockers.de)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity – Musicians

Musicians

  • Nick Cave – vocals, piano
  • Barry Adamson – bass
  • Blixa Bargeld – guitar
  • Mick Harvey – drums
  • Anita Lane – keyboards
  • Hugo Race – guitar

After From Her To Eternity

Nick Cave - In The Ghetto (single) (muziekcovers.com)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – In The Ghetto (single)

The very same year Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds would release the single In The Ghetto. A beautiful version of the somewhat pathetic song, which was a major hit for Elvis Presley in 1969. At first the release was regarded as a parody. However, the band and Nick Cave were deadly serious. This was the music they listened to and downright adored. In 1986 they released the (beautiful) cover album Kicking Against The Pricks. An album filled with covers of songs that meant the world to the band and Nick Cave. That music was far removed from the post-punk and confrontational new wave by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds.

During the 1990’s the band would move ever more away from that direction, still producing great albums. However, I did lose sight of the band during that time, only to return again in 2004 when the band released the utterly brilliant Abbatoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus. Since that time I, once again, follow the band’s every move.

More stories on the fabulous Nick Cave And the Bad Seeds will surely be published on A Pop Life, so stay tuned.

In closing

What’s your take on From Her To Eternity? Let me know!

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds debut with the exquisite From Her To Eternity. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.