Well the night was deep and the night was dark
And I was at the old dance-hall on the edge of town
Some big ceremony was going down
Well dancers writhed and squirmed and then
Came apart and then writhed again
Like squirming flies on a pin
In the heat and in the din
In the heat and in the din
I fell to thinking about the brand new wife of mad John Finn

Well, midnight came and clock did strike
And in she came, did John Finn's wife
With legs like scissors and butcher's knives
A tattooed breast and flaming eyes
And a crimson carnation in her teeth
Carving her way through the dance floor
And I'm standing over by the bandstand
Every eye gaping on John Finn's wife
Every eye gaping on John Finn's wife

Now John Finn's wife was something of a mystery
In a town where to share a sworn secret was a solemn duty
I had brass knuckles and a bolo knife
Over near the bandstand with John Finn's wife
She got perfumed breasts and raven hair
Sprinkled with wedding confetti's
And a gang of garroters were all giving me stares
Armed, as they were, with machetes
Well the night through the window was full of lights
A-winking and a watching at John Finns' wife
A-winking and a watching at John Finns' wife

Well next came the cops, all out on the town
But it don't look like no trouble there
As they head for the bar in their lumpy suits
I slip my hand between the thighs of John Finn's wife
And they seemed to yawn awake, her things
It was a warm and very ferocious night
The moon full of blood and light
And my eyes grew small and my eyes grew tight
As I plotted in the ear of John Finns' wife

Enter John Finn in his shrunken suit
With his quick black eyes and black cheroot
With his filed-down teeth and a hobnail boot
And his fists full of pistols in his pockets
Aiming at me and aiming at his wife
The band fall silent fearing for their lives
And with fear in my guts like tangled twine
'Cause all I got is brass knuckles and a bolo knife
And mad John Finns' wife is all
And the three of us w walk out of the hall

Now the night bore down upon us all
You could hear the crickets in the thickets call
And guns did flare and guns did bawl
And I planted my bolo knife in the neck
Of mad John Finn
I took his wretched life
Now I'm over by the bandstand
Every hand moving on John Finns' wife
Every hand moving on John Finns' wife

And John Finns' wife
Took all the flowers down
From her hair
And threw them on the ground
And the flies did hum
And the flies did buzz around
Poor John Finn
Lying dead upon the ground
Lying dead upon the ground

Lyrics submitted by Girgo, edited by sharkycharming

John Finn's Wife Lyrics as written by Nicholas Cave

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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John Finn's Wife song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentAnother reason Henry's Dream is such an amazing album - lyrically - musically its fantastic as well, but it is seriously a lyrical onslaught and this is a prime example.

    I suppose there could be some metaphor going on here, but to me it just seems like something you could integrate into Murder Ballad (he had so many before the album - someone should release and modified murder ballads which all of them throughout his career) - but i digress.... Nick's telling a story, and a dirty violent one at that - enjoy.

    i love the last two verses - love ALL the verses - love the song PERIOD
    StickityWicketon July 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTOO good.
    maggotbrainon May 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI f*cking love this song.

    SweetDeannaon September 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentexellent!
    Andres_81on October 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is great... Such an intense performance.
    JumpHaroundon March 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf I could have any woman in the world, it would be the brand new wife of mad John Finn.
    Can't stop thinking about her.
    BluesBisonon October 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's an amazing song, the way it builds and builds and crescendos, and then has that beautiful denouement of a final verse, the spoken words of Nick Cave with the Bad Seeds singing in the background, so sad and sweet.
    sharkycharmingon August 09, 2013   Link

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