500 Greatest Songs of All Time

149

Iggy Pop, 'Lust for Life'

Writers: David Bowie, Pop
Producer: Bowie
Released: Sept. '77, RCA
Did not chart

With its enormous kaboom and Pop's sneering, free-associative lyrics (the line about "hypnotizing chickens" is a reference to William S. Burroughs' The Ticket That Exploded), "Lust for Life" is half a kiss-off to drugged-out hedonism, half a French kiss to it. The opening riff was supposedly taken from some Morse code Bowie heard on the Armed Forces Network. Nineteen years after the song first appeared, it was used in the 1996 movie Trainspotting, paving the way for cleaned-up versions to be used in TV ads for cars and cruise lines. And the line "Of course I've had it in the ear before"? "That's a common expression in the Midwest," Pop said. "To give it to him right in the ear means to fuck somebody over."

Appears on: Lust for Life (Virgin)

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