Hum Along: Nick Cave Meets Harry Potter!

by | Nov 20th, 2010 | 12:34PM | Filed under: Hum Along, Movies

We used to have a running segment here at redblog called “Hum Along,” where we talked about movie music: scores, songs used in films, trailer music, etc. Well what better way to resurrect Hum Along than with one of the odder–and yet more appropriate and successful–song-movie pairings of late?

I can’t say I’m a huge Harry Potter fan–I plead agnostic, neither a hata nor a lover. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear a song from one of my all-time favorite songwriters used in a very prominent and emotionally pivotal point of The Deathly Hallows Part 1: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “O Children,” playing over the slow-dance scene in the tent as Harry and Hermione share a poignant moment of melancholy escape from the fugitive life.

Here’s the full version of Cave’s “O Children,” and below I’ll give you a little background on the Austrailian Goth poet-songwriter and suggest other Cave tunes if you’re interested.

Cave on Film

Nick Cave’s been making dark, alt-Goth music ripe with romance, religion, and mortality since the late ’70s–first with The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, then The Bad Seeds–as well as a solo album and lately the no frills post-punk crash of Grinderman.

Though if you like the rich, dreamy, epic feel of “O Children” (from the Orpheus half of the 2004 double album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus) you may want to start with the more recent stuff and work your way back to the edgier, more post-punk offerings of the ’80s.

Cave is no stranger to soundtracks. His music started to reach wider audience with a couple songs in 1987′s Wings of Desire, and his Bad Seeds song “Red Right Hand,” dripping with creepy serial-killer portent, has appeared in everything from an episode of The X-Files and the Scream films to last year’s Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. (Listen to “Red Right Hand” here.)

And one of my favorite Cave songs (hauled out on the extra-gloomy days) “People Ain’t No Good”was featured in Shrek 2 (listen to it here–contains some language).

Along with his wild-eyed violinist muse Warren Ellis, Cave composed full instrumental scores for films like The Road, The Proposition, and my favorite, The Assassination of Jesse James (listen to the haunting “Song for Bob” here). He also wrote the screenplay to The Proposition, as well as–at Russell Crowe’s request–an un-produced Gladiator prequel.

Like what you hear and want more Cave?

Any Cave fans care to recommend other stuff?


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10 Responses to “Hum Along: Nick Cave Meets Harry Potter!”

  1. Agatha
    Posted on November 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Any Cave fans care to recommend other stuff?

    “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” (Nick Cave) – 4:38 – From the Wim Wenders film “Until the End of the World”.

  2. Trevor L
    Posted on November 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you so much :) This just made my night. I’m constantly searching for new music.

  3. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on November 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Ooh, good one, Agatha! The perfect combo of Cave’s music, film ties, and prose work! And some of the deepest of Cave’s deep baritone! Thanks!

  4. Heather J
    Posted on November 21, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Cave was actually playing round in Melbourne with the Boys Next Door in Melbourne well before they became the Birthday party. Check “shivers” by the boys next door.

  5. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on November 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Heather — I was aware of The Boys Next Door, but always lumped them as a sort of school band. But you’re right, though they were essentially The Birthday Party under a different name, they did record several songs and videos, including the fine “Shivers” you mention, which is just dripping with Bauhaus/Joy Division influences:

  6. Susanna
    Posted on November 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Nice post. I’m a longtime Nick Cave AND Harry Potter fan and never would have thought those worlds would collide so naturally. The song was a lovely touch and made for a perfect scene.

  7. Tbone
    Posted on November 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    How to, prematurely, end an interview with Nick Cave…
    Call him goth. Big black hair was really as close to Goth as he ever got.
    His love of American Gothic themes in music is, completely, different.
    Goths dont listen to early American roots music.

  8. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on November 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I agree and disagree, Tbone–yes, in terms of the sort of narrow marketing term “Goth,” Cave’s influences and styles have ranged far and wide from Goth, but there’s no denying his Goth roots in the ’70s and ’80s, before he really started branching out into Americana, Gospel, Blues, etc. And if there is guilt by audience, I’d say ask most ’80s and ’90s Goths who their all-time favorite performers are and Cave would very often be at the top of their lists.

    But yes, I am guilty of using “Goth” as a lazy catch-all to kinda, sorta place him somewhere recognizable on the musical spectrum. Cave’s music goes far beyond that narrow label.

  9. Matt
    Posted on November 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    completly agrees with susanna I m also a longtime Nick cave (qui a lot actually) and HP fan andthe scene was beyond all i could imagine…very good one It was weird to be surrended by people who couldn t understand because this song is not only my favourite one but not a well known such as where the wild roses grow or the mercy seat…..
    For people who ll discover him and his huge discography…enjoy!!!