Nirvana: Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Meaning
Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Lyrics
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...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Nov 27th 2018 report
I always thought the song sounded like it involved a murder. The girl cheated on her husband with the singer, he fell in love with her and either she kllled her husband or he helped kill him. Now she’s cheating on him and he’s thinking she will do the same thing to him. He risked everything for her, now she is betraying him just like she betrayed her husband.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous May 11th 2014 report
The Lead Belly/nirvana version of this song is a lot darker than some other versions. Basically with over a hundred years and over 160 versions its a song that has been reinterpreted and rewritten to suit whomever sings it.
My take on the Lead Belly/nirvana version is that someone is worried about the girl because she didn't come home or whatever. She slept in the pines. Why? Because her husband was killed (maybe in an accident or maybe by the girl). And she is grieving or contemplating suicide or hiding . When asked. "where will you go"? She says she's going back to the pines to hide or to actually commit suicide....or maybe she is already dead and she is a ghost.
That's what make s this song so haunting for me considering what Kurt ended up doing.
I came up with this theory based on the LB version before I really took time to watch or listen to the unplugged nirvana one.
But that's my idea . You don't have to agree. Interpret it however you want
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Mar 5th 2012 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)
anonymous Jan 31st report
I love the idea that she must have felt like I do now in this world gone mad, hateful, dark, and cold. I want to just run into the woods and escape this life and enter into the next, paradise?the end of a long exhausting war going on inside me... I've been there. Ready to tap!!
anonymous Sep 7th 2020 report
My mom sent me that song when I was 5 years old I am now 68 and I still sing that song my Head
anonymous Aug 6th 2020 report
my grandfather sang a version of it decades before myself or kurt were born and it went: "the longest train i ever saw came down that georgia line. the engine backed up one mile from town and killed my girl, you know. her head caught in the driver's wheel her body we never could find." there have been many lyrics to this melody over the years but i dont believe any of them had to do with heroin or other drugs, but the event that inspired any of the lyrics was definitely tragic.
anonymous Dec 28th 2019 report
I liked the idea that everybody interprets it in the way one feels it. I sometimes sing it too. For me it's not about suicide. Probably when Kurt sang this song hadn't thought of suicide yet. I think it's about retreating from the society, from a superfical world, the world of labour for the ones that rule the world, the world of accidents caused by arrogance and stupidity of the society. It's about leaving and taking the hard way out (shivering), no longer following stupid dreams (the sun never shines). It's a tough realm where girl is leaving, but more real, more natural (pines) where she escapes, but one that makes the protagonist free if prepared.
anonymous Sep 28th 2019 report
So I think its interesting how I've looked through interpretations and no ones had this explanation...
To me, and I believe probably to Kurt, he saw the song as a metaphor to heroin. My girl was originally black girl, and kurt as we all know was deep into heroin around that time. Mexican heroin is referred to as "black" which is Seattle's main type. Then he goes on to say where did you sleep last night. In the pines sun dont ever shine I would shiver the whole night.
I think the song is mostly about not being able to score some black. The pines are the pins and needles you feel from withdrawal as well as the shivers and the sun never shines relates to how depressed you are during the comedown. As soon as I heard these lyrics I assumed it was about heroin. I used to be an addict myself so this speaks volumes to me.
P.s. dont know about the mans head. Maybe some horrible accident while high?
anonymous Aug 28th 2019 report
Asking "her" where she slept last night..yes "her" how sad for Kurt. Listen to the song on Mtv unplugged..seemed pretty emotional..
anonymous Jun 9th 2019 report
To me it sounds like there is a woman who had an upstanding husband and someone is
questioning where she slept when this accident took place, sounds like he's suggesting she'll be sleeping in the pines (old coffins were pine) and to shiver in a cold grave for whatever she is suspected of doing.
anonymous May 30th 2019 report
The song says alot. So do alot of Kurt's songs. Listen to the words. How sad. Case needs reopened.Case needs reopened! Period.
anonymous May 30th 2019 report
I think we all know why he sang that. Nothing to do with suicide..face it we all know who that song was aimed at and she does too
anonymous Mar 12th 2019 report
I thought the songs lyric is "in the past" which she had previously forgotten.
anonymous Nov 27th 2018 report
I always thought the song sounded like it involved a murder. The girl cheated on her husband with the singer, he fell in love with her and either she kllled her husband or he helped kill him. Now she’s cheating on him and he’s thinking she will do the same thing to him. Such a powerful performance.
anonymous Nov 10th 2018 report
I love the nirvana version of this song.. extremely emotional and moves everybody.. I think this song is about a man who falls victim to his drug taking partners erractic abusive life and he finds himself in the pines to distance himself .. he truly loves her and can’t stand to see her in such a destructive state.. I think the pines is a place of comfort where he feels centred. .
anonymous Nov 18th 2016 report
The girl sleeps with another guy while he is at work.he caught her so her husband was in deep pain that he commit suicide on his work..'in pines where the sun dont ever shine i would shiver the whole nigt through'its just an excuse for the girl so that she could win him...why would one sadly say where do you sleep last to his wife'in case they dont hav a home or a bed..his wife turns to black girl cauz she flirts him..to show how much her husband love for her instead of black girl kurt knew the author's feelings hurt so he turns to 'my girl'
anonymous Oct 16th 2016 report
From Kurt Cobain: Please let me rest in peace. This song, like everything I wrote was open to the interpretation of the listener first and foremost... and any resemblance to specific meaning is none of your damn business. It was what it was, words that evolved until they felt right. Anymore in-depth analysis and you might as well be shuffling tarot cards and applying calculus to numerology. Thanks, now go away!
anonymous Jan 14th 2016 report
I think Nirvana re-wrote the song the way they did was because of Courtney Love cheating on Kurt Cobain, which I also suspect is part of the reason for his suicide, along with the pressure of his growing fame.
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