Monday, November 09, 2009

Ziggy, Iggy, and the Wall

Thanks to John Lessnau, who points us to this great story on his Lessnau Lounge:
“Iggy Pop and I were a couple of very naughty boys, who went to Berlin to learn how to be good…I remember one morning, after a particularly mischievous night out, we both met up at a coffee bar we used to frequent and discussed the doings of the night before, and Iggy, or Jim, related most extraordinary events.
He said that he’d been to a punk club. It was the anniversary of the building of the Wall, that you must remember, and he went to a punk club that were holding an anniversary party and they built an entirely accurate replica of the Berlin Wall, and at the stroke of midnight, fifty savage, demented punks leapt on this wall and tore it to pieces with their mouths and teeth and fists – smashing it.
But he said that it was the aftermath that was the most affecting, because after all this had happened – they demolished the wall – there were small groups of them, standing around the corners, pitifully crying, tears streaming down their faces. And I thought that was an incredibly moving thing, and a real memory of Berlin – the Berlin that I knew at the time, anyway. This is a song (China Girl) I wrote with Jim at around that time…And I guess this one is also sort of about invasion and exploitation.”
-David Bowie.

"China Girl" first appears on The Idiot, the 1977 Iggy Pop record that Bowie co-produced. Bowie later recorded "China Girl" and made a hit out of it, largely to send some royalties in Iggy's direction; he was struggling for money at the time. The Berlin Wall went up in 1961, so by that point, it had been around long enough to be a teenager.

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