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David Bowie - China Girl (1983)

  • Video Views 8,409,642
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.21
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"China Girl" is a song written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's debut solo ...

"China Girl" is a song written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's debut solo album The Idiot (1977).

David Bowie version

Music video

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" with the critique of racism in Australia, Bowie described the video as a "very simple, very direct" statement against racism. The video consciously parodies Asian female stereotypes. It depicted as a hypermasculine protagonist in an interracial romance. The original video release includes the two lying naked in the surf (a visual reference to the film From Here to Eternity). Unedited versions were banned from New Zealand and some other countries at the time. The uncensored version was issued on the 1984 "Video EP" issued by Sony on Betamax, VHS and LaserDisc. Versions of the video included on subsequent video and DVD compilations (including EMI/Virgin's Best of Bowie) are censored to remove the nudity. The original video went on to win an MTV video award for Best Male Video.

Reception

BBC Online reviewer David Quantick acknowledged the effect of Nile Rodgers' production on the song, arguing that "nobody but Rodgers could have taken a song like 'China Girl', with its paranoid references to 'visions of swastikas', and turned it into a sweet, romantic hit single". The success of Bowie's cover reportedly led to Pop gaining financial stability via his co-writer residuals.

 

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