The lead single from their second album, The Firstborn Is Dead, The fearsome, post-punk stomper ‘Tupelo’ is arguably the first Bad Seeds classic. The Seeds, and in particular their charismatic frontman Cave, provide a scary, almost biblical account of “the King” Elvis Presley’s birth amidst a heavy storm in the small Mississippi town of Tupelo. A slow building, yet increasingly violent escalation of crashing drums, throbbing bass and background thunder provide the ground for Cave’s anguished and manic howls. The lyrics focus on the unheavenly burden on the young baby who would go on to be the biggest rock star on the planet. Directly inspired by the Southern blues tradition of the likes of John Lee Hooker and Lead Belly, ‘Tupelo’ is a great track to play for a late night drive through the American south, or in the midst of a violent storm.
Available on: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds The Firstborn Is Dead (Mute, 1985).