“Where the Wild Roses Grow” is a duet by Australian rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and pop singer Kylie Minogue. It is taken from the Nick Cave album Murder Ballads and was released on Mute Records in 1996. It was written by Nick Cave especially with Kylie Minogue in mind. The song received a positive reception from music critics and became the band’s most successful single worldwide.
Cave was inspired to write “Where the Wild Roses Grow” after listening to the traditional song, “Down in the Willow Garden”, a tale of a man courting a woman and killing her while they are out together. Although the song does not feature on a Minogue studio album, it can be found on her compilations Hits+, Greatest Hits 1987–1999, Ultimate Kylie and The Abbey Road Sessions. Minogue performed a chorus of the song during her Showgirl and Homecoming tours.
NME listed the song in the “100 Best Songs of the 1990s” at number 35.
Cave described writing the song: “Where The Wild Roses Grow was written very much with Kylie in mind. I’d wanted to write a song for Kylie for many years. I had a quiet obsession with her for about six years. I wrote several songs for her, none of which I felt was appropriate to give her. It was only when I wrote this song, which is a dialogue between a killer and his victim that I thought finally I’d written the right song for Kylie to sing. I sent the song to her and she replied the next day.”
The video for this song shows Kylie Minogue in character, apparently having been murdered by Nick Cave’s character. We see her in ghost-like form and also in a river in a pose reminiscent of Millais’ painting Ophelia. The video ends with Cave’s character putting a rose in Minogue’s mouth and closing her eyelids.