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Where Did You Sleep Last Night?



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is about a man who finds out his wife has been cheating on him. He goes out into the cold night and is killed in an accident.
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.

This was also one of the few songs Cobain played in public with his wife, Courtney Love. They performed it on September 8, 1993 at Club Lingerie in Los Angeles. (thanks, Matt - Millbrae, CA, for above 2)
The first "recent" cover version was by The Four Pennies under the title "Black Girl." It made the UK charts in October 1964 and rose to #20, but got nowhere in the USA. (thanks, Michael - Villereau, France)
More Leadbelly songs
More songs about cheating

Comments (9):

No matter how many times I hear it, Cobain's screaming "shiver" sends chills down my back.
- Derek, Who Cares?, DC
This song is absolutely NOT about cheating. Nothing to do with it. It is about a black woman getting lynched.
- Michael, Skokie, IL
i cant believe no one has brought up the fact that robert plant has covered this song!
but,of course,nirvana's version more than amazing
Kurt Cobain-the greatest of the greats!
- alexandria, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Nirvana's version was by far Kurt's greatest vocal performance IMO. His screaming at the end still gives me goosebumps.
- Scott, Boston, MA
In the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter" young Loretta Lynne sings this on her daddy's front porch as her future husband "Dew" is bringing back the body of his former moonshine-running partner.
I always thought the song was a jealous man who drove his woman from the house in a fit of rage. He's found dead and all she can say is she spent the night in the hills afraid to go home.
- Lalah, Wasilla, AK
Had anyone been in the room with me when I watched Nirvana's performance of this on the day I found out Kurt was dead, they would've seen a 19-year-old male cry. More than a decade later, I still get choked up. It's that powerful.
- Dan, Parsippany, NJ
If you want you can find Leadbelly's version on a website called You have the option of listening to it or downloading it. Either way it's great.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
Played nirvana's version at a birthday party in 1997 with an extemporary blues band formed by three guitarists:i played acoustic guitar and was the lead singer...memories of a time when i could have been a musician and not a lawyer as i am today...
- Rocco, Naples, Italy
I've never heard the original but Cobain's version was heartbreaking to listen to. Probably my fav song from the unplugged album.
- Jolene, Melbourne, Australia
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