The song was written by Barry Adamson, Nick Cave and Mick Harvey in mid-late 1984. Using biblical imagery, the song describes the birth of Elvis Presley during a heavy storm in Tupelo, Mississippi. The song is loosely based on the John Lee Hooker song of the same title, which also focuses on a flood in the same town. The "looky looky yonder" motif that is featured in the song is derived from a song of the same name recorded by Lead Belly, usually found as part of a medley which Cave himself covered under the title "Black Betty" on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' third album, Kicking Against the Pricks.
"Tupelo"'s b-side, "The Six Strings That Drew Blood", was recorded in March 1985 at Trident Studios in London and was a re-recording of a song Cave originally recorded with The Birthday Party during the Mutiny EP sessions in 1982. The original version of the song is included on The Birthday Party's Mutiny/The Bad Seed compilation album. "Tupelo" was released on 29 July 1985.
All songs written by Nick Cave except where noted.
- Standard 7" vinyl
- Standard 12" vinyl
- "Tupelo" - 5:01
- "In the Ghetto" (Mac Davis) - 4:08
- "The Moon Is In The Gutter" - 2:38
- The Six Strings That Drew Blood - 4:50
- SikTh covered the song on their album The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild.