Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was originally formed in 1984 by two former members of the Australian band The Birthday Party: Nick Cave (vocals, songwriter, keyboards, harmonica) and multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey. They were joined by Einstürzende Neubauten member Blixa Bargeld (guitar), Hugo Race (guitar), and former Magazine member Barry Adamson (bass, piano). Cave's former girlfriend Anita Lane was also a creative influence and occasional lyricist. This line-up recorded their debut album, From Her to Eternity, released in 1984. During their initial Australian tour, Birthday Party bass guitarist Tracy Pew also performed with the band.
The name of the new project indicated the shift in Cave's role from band member, as in The Birthday Party, to band leader, and coincided with his shift in songwriting style from expressionism to detailed lyrical narrative. The group has been through many personnel changes, with Cave and
Cave separated from Lane in the mid-1980s and began a relationship with Elisabeth Recker. While in Berlin, he released four albums with the Bad Seeds: The Firstborn Is Dead; Kicking Against the Pricks; Your Funeral, My Trial; and Tender Prey. Kicking Against the Pricks was the first album to feature the drumming of Swiss Thomas Wydler, who is the longest serving member in the band beside Cave and Mick Harvey.
In 1996, Cave and the Bad Seeds released Murder Ballads. It includes "Henry Lee", a duet with British rock singer PJ Harvey (with whom he had a brief relationship), and "Where the Wild Roses Grow", a duet with Australian pop idol Kylie Minogue. The latter was a mainstream hit in the
Their next album, The Boatman's Call (1997), is marked by a radical shift away from archetypal and violent narratives to biographical and confessional songs about his relationships with Carneiro and Harvey. It was also his first full album to be centered around his own piano playing.
After the release of the 2003 album Nocturama, which failed to excite reviewers, Bargeld announced he was leaving the Bad Seeds to devote more time to Einstürzende Neubauten, leaving Mick Harvey as the only original member still in the band, other than Cave himself. The next
In 2005, Cave and the Seeds released B-Sides & Rarities, a three-disc, 56-track collection of B-sides, rarities and tracks that had appeared on film soundtracks.
Cave told Billboard that apart from his album with his other venture Grinderman (nicknamed Mini-Seeds, because it consists of Seeds members - see below), he has recorded the band 14th studio album between June and August 2007. "It’s quite strange to have the two bands going at once because my head is kind of very much in the new Bad Seeds record,” Cave says, “but I finished that and now I’m going to make a new Grinderman one, I think. I just like making records."
In October 2007 Cave was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. During his acceptance speech he cheekily took it upon himself to also induct the Australian members of the Bad Seeds (excluding Hugo Race), plus the members of The Birthday Party (excluding Phill Calvert).
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ The Best of’