What does Where Did You Sleep Last Night? mean?

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Nirvana: Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Meaning


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Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Lyrics

My girl, my girl, dont lie to me
Tell me, where did you sleep last night?
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun dont ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through

My girl, my girl, where will you go?
Im going where the cold wind...


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    Dec 18th, 2012 12:28pm report

    It's not the husband asking, for he's already been killed. An older variation called her as "black girl" rather than "my girl". These questions might be asked by anyone, from a caring friend our relative or God. Her husband died and she mourns deeply. That's it, and nothing deeper.


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    Jul 18th, 2012 7:29pm report

    in the pines ,,,the cemetary, after she loses her husband,


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    Jun 9th, 2012 6:28am report

    well i can say for sure the part about the head in the "driver's wheel" has nothing to do with a car accident, that part's been in this song since the 1800's and refers to a drive (powered) wheel of a locomotive, the body was never found because it was left laying where the head was twisted off by the wheel. The rest of the song I'm not sure about, it's been interpreted many different ways over the decades.


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    Mar 5th, 2012 3:39pm report

    Her husband was a railroad man.
    He was killed a mile and a half from here.
    His head was found in the driver wheel (of the railroad locomotive)
    And his body has never been found (anywhere along the tracks of the railroad)

    The Black Girl (My Girl) was so consumed with grief that she fled to the forest and spent the night there contemplating suicide. (Where the cold winds blow)


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    Jan 18th, 2012 1:09pm report

    the original song is very old i believe. It's an folk song from America. it's about a guy and his wife who were missing, and later found in the pines decapitated (his head was found in a driving wheel). atleast, this is what i heard. there are many different story's about this folklore.


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    Oct 17th, 2011 10:56pm report

    I think it was just a cover of the original folk song, with the lyrics changed mostly to be more modern.

    For instance, "My girl" instead of "Black girl"; "where did you sleep last night" instead of "where did you stay last night"; "hard working man" instead of "railroad man".

    The part that Nirvana dropped at the end was:
    "Black girl, black girl, where will you go
    Im going where the cold wind blows
    You called me weak, and you called me the most
    You called rita, bring me back home."

    This doesn't make much sense but probably did 100 years ago.

    I think it is about a woman grieving for her lost husband. And in terms of Nirvana, it can be about grief. The pines is probably a pine forest. The parts "my girl" and "don't lie to me" make the song sound like it is about an affair. But I don't think that Nirvana intended to change it that much from its original meaning. It's a powerful song by itself.


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    Sep 3rd, 2011 9:38pm report

    Its all about the insecure feelings you have when you submit to the love of another. Your mind races when there is a prolonged absence and you don't hear from your significant other...


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    Jun 8th, 2011 6:25pm report

    With these words it's only interpretations within the eyes of the beholder.


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    Jun 8th, 2011 6:47pm report

    This song is sung by the woman's dead husband, whose ghost returns home to discover that she is no longer sleeping in their bed. Did she play a part in his death? Did an unknown lover? The husband's spirit is confined to the walls of their house and therefore can not learn the answer unless she reveals herself there.


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    May 25th, 2011 5:44pm report

    Leadbelly did not write the song. It's an old folk song, most likely with Appalachian roots, and was around for probably over 50 years before Leadbelly recorded it.


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    Apr 11th, 2011 4:49am report

    There is no exact meaning to this song. I think its whatever you make it out to be. I for one believe its a song about an affair. I think 'I'd shiver the whole night through' means he doesnt understand how she could do that to him.


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    Mar 22nd, 2011 3:33am report

    "In the pines, in the pines
    Where the sun dont ever shine"

    This line pretty much sums up the vast majority of this song. The girlfriend/other significant other was sleeping with someone else...I don't need to go any further with "where the sun doesn't shine" most of us guys already know what that is referring to, lol.


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    Oct 29th, 2010 10:22am report

    This song isn't about love, it's about the US government's ongoing racism, theft and murder of american-indians.

    "The Pines" means the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the "body that never was found" is referring to one of the many native american activists murdered by the FBI or by the "GOONS" group they funded to disarm the "AIM" group of American-Indian activists who were trying to prevent violent state incursions on their land and government theft of resources.

    For one article on the issue:

    Another song that makes a mention of the reservations is Ani Difranco's song "Self Evident", where she says:

    "so here's a toast to all the folks who live in Palestine
    El Salvador

    here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
    under the stone cold gaze of mt. Rushmore

    here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
    who daily provide women with a choice
    who stand down a threat the size of Oklahoma City
    just to listen to a young woman's voice"

    listen to the song, and check out the other articles on the international socialist review website. It's tragic when the messages of songs get lost because the history behind them is 'inconvenient' for the government to teach in schools.


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    Oct 26th, 2010 10:06pm report

    I think the person who sings is actualy dead. Her husband's head was found in a driving wheel, killed in a car accident. Now he lies in the casket "in the pines where the sun don't ever shine" and is jealous because his girl sleeps with another person.


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    Sep 4th, 2010 9:50am report

    This song is one that is covered from Leadbelly on by many great blues artists, perhaps because of the depth of feeling. If Kurt would cover a song it is a classic choice. However there may be some emotional tone to this song that resonates from when in his childhood his mothers boyfriend was known for bashing the family and had hospitalized his mother, and it is said his mother drank to compensate. In a sense if a mother becomes emotionally detached or dead to her child while the victim of abuse and the child fears the mother will be killed completely, it would fit the stark lonely landscape of this song.

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