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Nick Cave Monday #11: “Sad Dark Eyes”

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There is a soundtrack that plays in my head when I’m in love with a lady and “Sad Dark Eyes” is a part of that DJ set of my mind.

I was always a DJ in my mind from the time I was a child… it was my way of bringing my thoughts to something beautiful in bad family and environment situations.

They tended to be romantic sets, always with a girl in mind. Now, when I’m single, the songs still run through my head and I direct them at any lady I’m crushing on.

Not that her eyes need to be dark, she could be albino, there’s just something about this song.

Here is Nick Cave performing “Sad Dark Eyes” with Die Haut:

We got a bit of extra credit there with Nick singing “Pleasure is the Boss” with Die Haut as well.

As Nick said in the above clip, Christoph, the bass player of Die Haut, helped him in his transition to Berlin and kept him alive. Thank you Christoph.

Christoph is also a filmmaker and made a few Bad Seeds videos including “Tupelo”, “The Singer”, and “Mercy Seat.”

“Sad Dark Eyes” was originally composed by The Loved Ones from Melbourne. Here they are in 1967 performing “Sad Dark Eyes”:

How cool were they? That video always cracks me up as they show the director and other personnel for the film shoot looking bored. What was the point of that visual narrative?

Segue back to Die Haut, I had no idea who they were until I bought “King Ink”, a book released by Henry Rollins in 1993, authored by Nick Cave and featuring his lyrics from The Birthday Party to the Bad Seeds and there were four songs from Die Haut albums.

I went on a mad search to find Die Haut, especially the track, “Dumb Europe”, those lyrics were very funny.

Mick Harvey, Nick Cave’s collaborator for over three decades, also recorded the song. Below is a live version of Mick doing a solo show:

Thomas Wydler, the Bad Seeds long time drummer, performs in the above video with James Johnston of Gallon Drunk and Rosie Westbrook. Wydler is also the drummer for Die Haut.

I’m singing “Sad Dark Eyes” to a lady in my head right now. You may never know who you are, as crushes come and go. Or I will confess that as I wrote this I was thinking of you, only I won’t tell you that I’ve played “Sad Dark Eyes” in the soundtrack of my mind for every other girlfriend or unrequited crush I’ve ever had.

In other words, babe, this song’s for you.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for Nick Cave Monday.


Tony DuShane is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk (Soft Skull Press). He's a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and hosts the radio show Drinks with Tony. Take his class Novel 1 at UCLA Extension, January 2015. His writing has also appeared in Mother Jones, Penthouse and The Believer. www.tonydushane.com More from this author →