China Girl (song)

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"China Girl"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Let's Dance
B-side"Shake It"
ReleasedMay 1983
Format7"/12" single
RecordedPower Station, New York, December 1982
GenrePop rock, dance-rock, New Wave
Length5:32 (album version)
4:14 (single edit)
LabelEMI America Records
EA157
Writer(s)David Bowie, Iggy Pop
ProducerNile Rodgers
David Bowie singles chronology
"Let's Dance"
(1983)
"China Girl'"
(1983)
"Modern Love"
(1983)
Let's Dance track listing
"Modern Love"
(1)
"China Girl"
(2)
"Let's Dance"
(3)
 
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"China Girl"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Let's Dance
B-side"Shake It"
ReleasedMay 1983
Format7"/12" single
RecordedPower Station, New York, December 1982
GenrePop rock, dance-rock, New Wave
Length5:32 (album version)
4:14 (single edit)
LabelEMI America Records
EA157
Writer(s)David Bowie, Iggy Pop
ProducerNile Rodgers
David Bowie singles chronology
"Let's Dance"
(1983)
"China Girl'"
(1983)
"Modern Love"
(1983)
Let's Dance track listing
"Modern Love"
(1)
"China Girl"
(2)
"Let's Dance"
(3)

"China Girl" is a song co-written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's album The Idiot (1977). It became more widely known when it was rerecorded and released by Bowie on his album Let's Dance (1983). Paul Trynka, the author of David Bowie's biography Starman, claims the song was inspired by Iggy Pop's infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a beautiful Vietnamese woman.[citation needed]

The UK single release reached #2 for one week on June 14, 1983, being kept off the top position by "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. The US release reached #10.

Contents

Track listing (Bowie remake)

7": EMI America / EA 157 (UK)

  1. "China Girl [Edit]" (Bowie, Pop) – 4:14
  2. "Shake It" (Bowie) – 3:49

12": EMI America 75038 / 12EA 157 (UK)

  1. "China Girl" (Bowie, Pop) – 5:32
  2. "Shake It [Re-Mix]" (Bowie) – 5:21

Music video (Bowie remake)

The music video, featuring New Zealand model Geeling Ng, was directed by David Mallet and shot mainly in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia. Along with his previous single's video for "Let's Dance", Bowie described the video as a "very simple, very direct" statement against racism[1] Although the video consciously parodies Asian female stereotypes, it was nevertheless criticised by Ellie Hisama for failing to give the female character a personality and voice.[2] The original video release includes the two lying naked in the surf (a visual reference to the film From Here to Eternity), though versions of the video included on subsequent video and DVD compilations are slightly censored to remove the nudity. The original video went on to win an MTV video award for Best Male Video.[3]

Live performances

The song was a regular for Bowie's live shows for the rest of the 1980s (appearing on concert videos in 1983 and 1988 as Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider, respectively). It was rehearsed for his appearance at the 1985 London Live Aid concert but along with the songs "Fascination" and "Five Years" was eventually dropped due to time constraints. Additional live versions of the song appear on 2009's release of a 1999 performance for VH1 Storytellers and a 2010 release of Bowie's 2003 concert, entitled A Reality Tour.

Chart performance (Bowie remake)

Chart (1983)Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart15
Austrian Singles Chart2
Canadian Singles Chart2
Dutch Singles Chart5
Irish Singles Chart2
German Singles Chart6
Norwegian Singles Chart7
Swedish Singles Chart5
Swiss Singles Chart1
U.K. Singles Chart2
U.S. Billboard Hot 10010
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play
(charted together with "Shake It")
51
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks3

Production credits (Pop original)

Musicians

Production credits (Bowie remake)

Producer

Musicians

Other releases

Cover versions

References