The life cycle of sleep is a weird thing… You fight naps when you are a child and live for naps when you are older. Nothing makes me happier than a good nights sleep these days … unfortunately as I get older those nights are less frequent. I’m either too hot … too cold… or just wide awake thinking about the 27 million things I need to do.
There have been some fab songs about sleeping (Golden Slumbers) or not sleeping (No Sleep ’til Brooklyn) but I decided to go with a song that doesn’t ask the question how did you sleep but where did you sleep.
Originally by Leadbelly, Nirvana covered this on their 1993 Unplugged In New York album. Kurt Cobain introduced it by saying, “This song is by my favorite performer.” Earlier that year, Cobain had been offered one of Leadbelly’s guitars for $50,000, although Cobain exaggerated the cost when introducing the song. Neil Young was deeply affected by Cobain’s singing at this performance. He said the tortured final vocals sounded “unearthly, like a werewolf, unbelievable.”
MTV wanted Nirvana to do an encore after “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” was over, but Cobain refused, saying that he sucked and that the whole band sounded terrible. He’d thought the performance was a bomb because the audience was so quiet, not realizing that it was so quiet because they were blown away.
So this video clip makes me both happy and sad at the same time. It is an amazing performance but as Neil Young pointed out … you can feel Cobain’s pain so deeply.