Wicked Songs: Grief Came Riding by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

A grief came riding on the wind
Up the southern river Thames
I was sitting on the bank with my mouth open
And I felt it entering
I began thinking about our wedding day
And how love was a vow
And I was thinking about the chamber door
Only we can enter now
I began thinking about our ancient friends
And of kissing them goodbye
And then the wind blew under Battersea Bridge
And a tear broke from my eye
I started thinking about London
And nothing good ever came from this town
And if the Thames weren’t so filthy
I would jump into the river and drown
Don’t be afraid
Come on down
I’m just sitting here thinking loud
A grief came riding on the wind
Up the river where the bridges crouch
Blowing people back and forth
From the marital bed to the psychiatric couch
Blowing people far apart
Blowing others so they collide
Blowing some poor bastard right out of the water
Blowing another one over the side
Hear the ancient iron-bridge
And listen to it groan
With the weight of a thousand people
Leaving or returning home
To their failures
To their boredoms
To their husbands and their wives
Who are carving them up for dinner
Before they even arrive
Don’t be afraid
Come on down
I’m just sitting here thinking loud
Now look there just below the water
See the savior of the human race
With the fishes and the frogs
Has found his final resting place
Don’t be afraid
Come on down
I’m just sitting here thinking loud

I’m feeling a little down if anyone wants to know too? But that’s pretty normal by now anyway, here’s something I wanted to blog about for a long while which is a lesser known Cave track that are still pretty great. I was going to do a few of these as a bit of a set of posts but never ever have. I think, I did one once which was two years ago but was little more known because it was a title track of an album but I never really followed up so here a better late one but hopefully might do a few more posts like this now I’ve remember about it now?

A little history of this track is this: it was bonus extra song from the comeback album after four years break which is still the longest gap in-between albums. Well, if he don’t drop a new album in the last few months of this year and then does in 2019 that with tie but if he’s does do one until 2020 that will top that longest gap. That’s a lot of what if’s because no word about anything new album, off course that’s not counting any of the soundtracks with Warren Ellis which does seem to be taking over more and more than The Bad Seeds albums. 2001’s No More Shall We Part which Nick referred as the wedding or married album more than once but this track was unsurprising originally wrote before getting married and was even demo in 1996 for the album The Boatman’s Call of 1997. It was even labeled too depressing by the band The Bad Seeds themselves too!

So at that point before the release Cave did his one last rehab stay and off course hitch up with Susie Bick who’s the one who did convinced him to give-up the drugs finally. The setting of this song is London and the Thames River from Nick’s old houseboat of that same late 90’s album title that’s it’s somewhat named after. Other that it being played on the piano, the song is far from those break-up tracks of that album because it’s a very sad song after what is suppose to be one of the happiest days of your life, your wedding day.

Grief Came Riding was one of two tracks, this one and the song entitled Bless His Ever Loving Heart plus a little doco of the making of the album of an “enhanced CD compatible with PC & Mac” which off course don’t work on anymore on any new-ish computer now. Remember it’s from 2001? Digging out an old half-working laptop that’s starts to run amazingly automatically! It’s only a less that ten minutes also it all was re-edited and featured as a bonus thingy on the live show DVD from 2002 called and named after the song God Is In The House recorded live in Lyon, France. When reissuing the back catalog in 2011 you could call this song now track number 13, I guess?

Make Leonard Cohen seem like the cheerleader of a happy-clappy revivalist meeting and this sketches a dispiriting and bitter view of London and its inhabitants as a consequence of depression.

  That’s another blogger titled “Songs About Places” describing this track way back in 2010, pretty perfect. Now I could go on and on about it but to some it up on the quicker side today. What I totally love about Cave is he just faces raw feelings like these and is unafraid of those emotions which could be unlike almost any another artist or for that matter almost all people hide away these things, don’t wanted talk about it and then pretend it’s not happening which is totally silly because we wonder why we in the western modern, this first world have such a high suicide rant? If we talked about in the open like, say the weekend footy match or whatever maybe such a lot of people wouldn’t kill themselves or people just wouldn’t be so depressed about everything in wonderful western modern, this first world we have created for ourselves. Just wanted to say that, not the I would ever do that to myself so don’t wonder about that but bloody hell it’s like we know 1 + 1 = 2 but in this case it’s like nope, it isn’t shhhhhhhhhhh…. be quiet and don’t ever say it out loud!

Battersea Bridge by John Atkinson Grimshaw in 1885

BTW After re-posting the 2000 year playlist at the start of this month I’ve now updated the rest of my 2000’s lists to 40 tracks now but not going to re-post them! So that’s, linked here and now: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000.

Cheers 🙂



  1. Totally agree with you William; this is a great song, love the lyrics, and yes, mental health needs to be discussed openly! I hope you are okay! =) Oh and also, more playlists, cooooooolllll!! Cheers! =)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I still think it’s important to tell others how you feel; feeling down at times is part of the human condition, it’s totes normal and doesn’t need to be justified! I hope your eve has been good! 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yeah and hope you had a good one too? It’s been pretty fine day really but since TFS drop a brand new song it’s been bloody great, I’ll blog it up tomorrow morning sometime too, if you’ve not heard it yet?

        Liked by 1 person

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