Nick Cave Monday #32: “West Country Girl”


What do you do when you think a girl is hot and you really want to get with her? You write her a song.

Nick Cave did that for PJ Harvey and “West Country Girl” was released on “The Boatman’s Call” in 1997.

Thus kindled the romance between Nick and Polly.

Let this be a lesson, if it can work for Nick, it just might work for you.

Here are The Bad Seeds performing “West Country Girl” for MTV when the song came out:

And they lived happily ever after. Well, not exactly.

Let’s listen to Nick’s introduction to the song in the clip below:

Someone he once found attractive. Ouch.

Did you notice the lyrics have changed?

From the original song he held in his hand “her Spanish Fly and monkey gland.” In later live versions the line is changed….”I held in her hand, her hippy mom and her sad old man.”

In the interview below, Nick discusses the personal songwriting that happened with “The Boatman’s Call.”

Mick Harvey dropping’ the knowledge. I should have talked to him before I got the acknowledgements together on my first book. When I told my girlfriend at the time that I was going to include her in the acknowledgements she was so flattered. When she saw that she wasn’t first in the acknowledgements and given a special sentence like my friends who really helped me for years….that lead to days of weeping and crying and now she’s first in the acknowledgements. I should have talked to Mick and learned from “West Country Girl.”

I learned my lesson and won’t make that mistake again. But, check out how glorious it has turned out for Nick now that he has Susie as his wife. She’s on his latest album cover, naked and lovely, and he writes all of his songs for her.


Amen Nick, you finally found your lady and we raise a glass to you.

Segue, back to “West Country Girl.” The video here is a little rough, but it’s a brilliant performance where Nick practically strangles the piano and spews with rage as he sings a love song for a lady that he once had the hots for:

Let’s travel to Poland. Nick Cave Monday is huge in Poland so we like to find videos that include Polish subtitles when we can:

Ah, it’s such a great song, even though it may have a history of hurt for Nick. Let’s indulge in our mistakes and keep art alive. Nick includes the song in his setlist in 2009 when he was already very happily married to Susie. Video is a little rough, but the sound is decent:

And, a little sweet extra credit…another song we’ll feature in a later edition of Nick Cave Monday.

Our lesson today was how to woo a woman, Bad Seeder style. It may go wrong, but at least beautiful art can be extracted from love and heartbreak.

“Into my human heart and filled me/
With love up to the brim and killed me/
And rebuilt me back anew/
With something to look forward to…”

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

Tony DuShane is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Penthouse, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer. And, if you’re a Nick Cave fan, check out Nick Cave Monday. More from this author →