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Credit: Channel 4


Revisit Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds cover Johnny Cash song 'The Singer' live on The Tube back in 1986

We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a very special performance from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in promotion of their then-new album Kicking Against The Pricks. Cave takes to the youth TV show’s stage to perform a quite astounding rendition of ‘The Singer’ that has rarely been unearthed.

It’s fair to say that media has changed a fair bit since The Tube, Channel 4’s youth and music television show, first aired. In the eighties, the show became essential viewing for any well-respected adolescent as it persevered to bring you the cutting edge of new music.

In an age when you’re far more likely to watch a film on your phone while sitting on the lavatory then get in position for a scheduled TV programme, shows like The Tube have fallen by the wayside. The magazine format dedicated to bringing you the ins and outs of the music world is largely redundant when you can conduct your own investigation using social media and the internet.

Luckily, what the internet also provides, is an avenue to rediscover these gems and love them all over again. One such gem is this 1986 performance of ‘The Singer’ from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds on the fifth series of The Tube. Restored with fantastic audio by Rosa Mannen, the clip sees Cave and his band on searing form.

The group were promoting their recently released covers album, Kicking Against The Pricks — an album we’d consider to be one of the best covers albums of all time. The arrived to the Tyneside studios with a version of Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels’ song ‘The Singer’ in their hands and thunder in their eyes.

After a slightly nonsensical introduction that offered up information on a former altercation with the NYPD that Cave had endured and included a reference to “goths rolling their graves”, the host soon gets out of the way and lets the band deliver a quite astounding performance. With Cave playing the undeniably watchable protagonist to a tee, you can get a sense of how the band quickly asserted their cult following.

Of course, the group were on their third album and Cave had already found some fame with his band The Birthday Party, so their following were already well aware of the band’s power. But for many, this was their first mainstream introduction to Nick Cave and we don’t think you’ll find a better one.

What better way to accurately sum up the vastness of the band’s talent than to revisit this simply smouldering performance. So sit back and get reacquainted with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds with their immaculate performance of Johnny Cash’s ‘The Singer’ on The Tube back in 1986.