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David Bowie — China Girl
Album: Let's Dance
Avg rating:
7.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1455









Released: 1983
Length: 5:21
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Oh, little China girl
Oh, little China girl

I couldn't escape this feeling with my China girl
I feel a wreck without my little China girl
I hear her heart beating loud as thunder
Saw these stars crashing

I'm a mess without my little China girl
Wake up in the morning, where's my little China girl
I hear her heart's beating loud as thunder
Saw these stars crashing down

I'm feeling tragic like I'm Marlon Brando
When I look at my China girl
I could pretend that nothing really meant too much
When I look at my China girl

I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It's in the white of my eyes

My little China girl
You shouldn't mess with me
I'll ruin everything you are
You know
I'll give you television
I'll give you eyes of blue
I'll give you a man who wants to rule the world

And when I get excited
My little China girl says
"Oh, baby, just you shut your mouth"
She says "sh"
She says "sh"
She says
She says

Oh, little China girl
Oh, little China girl
Comments (154)add comment
 wolverine wrote:
I'm loving this song due to the awesome Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar.{#Bananajam}
 
Let's not be forgetting Nile Rodgers and his funky licks.  It took 2 guitars to get this one right.
 MattRudely wrote:
The limitations of the term "racism" 
 
What?
 HearsayDave wrote:
Crapola in an otherwise impressive catalog.  Play Ashes to Ashes (again) instead.
 

That's just hearsay.  Or is is heresy?
 DChas wrote:
Yes, I heard that too!
 

I think he just said it was from the album Let's Dance.
The limitations of the term "racism" 
Yes, I heard that too!
Bill just introduced this as Let's Dance??
 Mugro wrote:
squidish wrote:
Written by Iggy Pop = genius!
I wonder if Iggy ever recorded a version of this? I would love to hear it if he did. I think that given the lyrics, this would have an ENTIRELY different feel if Iggy would sing it. More menace.
 

It was on his album, The Idiot!
Long Live                                                                                                                                      Radio Paradise
My rating                                                         a SOLID                                                     9 -OUTSTANDING
memories!
Nostalgia factor bumps this to a 9 for me.
I have loved this song since the first time I heard it on the radio. It has killer musicianship, stand-out style, and the unmistakable cool that Bowie possessed throughout his career. I know a lot of people like to bag on his '80s material, but it works for me just as much as anything else he recorded. Shy of MJ or Prince, not many pop songs of the era had such a deep groove — this song has some of the tightest bass and drums of the decade.
 dlabrana wrote:



 

I prefer ABC.   American born Chinese.  

Works well with CBC.  Canadian born Chinese.  
Let's Dance?
I so needed this...thank you!!  {#Cheers}
She saaays... ssshhh...
 quesarah wrote:

Yes!

The drummer isn't too bad either.  This recording was my goto for showing off high end stereo systems. Nothing quite like close miking the drum set..

 
See what I mean?  Still testin'.....{#Drummer}
One of favourite SONOS test songs.  Plenty of bass.  Play loud.  Thanks - today's test successful.{#Bananajam}
 Misterfixit wrote:
"China GIrl" ??  Are we allowed to say that any more?  LIke saying "Oriental" instead of "Asian" ?? Just askin'

 

I'm loving this song due to the awesome Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar.{#Bananajam}
 Raechel wrote:


 
I've always kinda loved this Bowie-tune, but what's this picture of Jennifer Aniston got todo with it….?
A top 40 oldie played to death on all the clear channelisque stations. Bowie has much better to play.
I was going to rate this 9 before the vocal began. Always taken aback by how the vocal makes this song for me. 
Also Putting Out Fire. Also Loving The Alien. Also... 
 
 silby wrote:

That is true.  Yet it is amazing how much they differ in terms of talent and artistic vision...  

 
It's not really "amazing" (well, not literally), they are two different people, from two very different places and backgrounds, who were friends and have worked together at different times.
Crapola in an otherwise impressive catalog.  Play Ashes to Ashes (again) instead.
And let's not forget the genius of the Producer Nile Rodgers.  He is still producing and playing with Chic.  {#Good-vibes} {#Notworthy}
Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitars here. Very nice
 Boy_Wonder wrote:
New Bowie record out.... and boy, is he old now!

 
As you will be someday, if you're lucky, "Boy_Wonder".
Sweet guitars
 SteadyRollingMan wrote:
Iggy...Bowie...of the same cloth....Bowie scores a hit on this one.{#Jump}

 
That is true.  Yet it is amazing how much they differ in terms of talent and artistic vision...  
Iggy...Bowie...of the same cloth....Bowie scores a hit on this one.{#Jump}
always has been horrid in my books, this song
New Bowie record out.... and boy, is he old now!
 JIan wrote:

I didn't know this about the Let's Dance album; thanks for posting this tidbit of trivia trifitfam, much appreciated.
 
I think SRV even toured with him until there was a dispute about money. Peter Frampton stepped in and played the tour. 
Love singing and playing the bassline on this song - it's in the current set of our band - Crowd pleaser !
Happy Birthday Bowie!
 trifitfam wrote:
Really, I have never gotten off on Bowie until this album with Stevie Ray backing him up. Turned so-so music into a masterpiece.
 
I didn't know this about the Let's Dance album; thanks for posting this tidbit of trivia trifitfam, much appreciated.
"China GIrl" ??  Are we allowed to say that any more?  LIke saying "Oriental" instead of "Asian" ?? Just askin'
How far out are you, Commander Bowie?
LAME SONG BY LAME ARTIST.  Some decent guitar work, otherwise BLAH!  Never understood why David Bowie is considered so good by so many people.  I've tried to listen to him with an open mind but it just don't get it.  {#Headache}


Really, I have never gotten off on Bowie until this album with Stevie Ray backing him up. Turned so-so music into a masterpiece.
In the early 1980's I bought a Mercedes 450 SEL from an insurance sale in Beckley WV. It was a big gun boat of a car that had been owned first by the governor of WV, then a divorce lawyer, who apparently had a disgruntled spouse firebomb the car. It flashed through and scorched the interior and broke the windshield. I got an interior from a salvage yard in Charlotte, changed it out, and drove that car for years in Tazewell Virginia. It had a cassette player, and a cassette of this album was in it, intact, and we played it to death. This song still reminds me of the golden years of living in the storybook land of Tazewell VA.
Another great song...from the never ending greatness of Sir David Bowie. 
 cohifi wrote:
bluedot wrote:
Love Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar on this LP...
 
8!
 
Yes!

The drummer isn't too bad either.  This recording was my goto for showing off high end stereo systems. Nothing quite like close miking the drum set..


 h8rhater wrote:

The 80s were musically tiresome.  You are tiresome.  This track is not.

 
Despite what many may want to insist, I do not find the 1980s to be any more "musically tiresome" than any other decade (Phil Collins notwithstanding) - and this song is originally from the 70s, anyhow.  I don't find this version tiresome either.
I'm not a Bowie fan, but he sure knew a stellar guitarist when he heard one.  Rock on Mr. Vaughan!
Cool creepy version  by Xu Xu Fang
 hollirg1 wrote:
This guy needs to get a singing voice... 
 
Yeah, whoever he may be. 



Totally, and when Iggy Pop covered this Bowie-penned song 6 years prior, he was influenced by Kung Fu Panda 3. 1977 was a wild time.
This guy needs to get a singing voice... 
 Baby_M wrote:
David Bowie is a drunken cow who's seen too many WW2 documentaries on the History Channel?
 
There was no History Channel when Iggy Pop and David Bowie wrote these lyrics.

 Dinges,_the_Dude wrote:
Bowie's always cool. This song takes me back to my highschool years... Good memories!
 

{#Cool}
David Bowie is a drunken cow who's seen too many WW2 documentaries on the History Channel?
Bowie's always cool. This song takes me back to my highschool years... Good memories!
Reminds me of my time spent in Japan as a foreign exchange student, this album had just come out and was extremely popular with my fellow students in Higashiura-cho outside of Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture.  My thoughts and prayers to the people affected by the horrible earthquakes and tsunami.

 Raechel wrote:

 
Thanks for posting this!

bluedot wrote:
Love Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar on this LP...
 
8!
SRV, Iggy & Bowie= 7
This song would be cool followed by 'it's no game' a Bowie track with a foreign tongue included.
{#Puke}

Lovely!
this is such a nice classical tune! I know, i will hear this in my ear the whole day long!!
Love Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar on this LP...


David Bowie - China Girl - VH1 Storytellers Live (1999)

David Bowie performing China Girl from the album Let's Dance on VH1 Storytellers in 1999

 lemmoth wrote:
Bowie decided to release the song on Let's Dance so that Pop could collect half the royalties (as co-writer of the track) and get back on his feet financially.

 

OK. But no mention of Bowie's writer's block/cant-be-botherness/pandering to the masses/own-paralysing-drug-abuse-masked-under-his-'hey, I'm straight'-80's-persona?? (for more, go check "Tonight" or "Never Let Me Down").
Play Iggy's original!

Forget about the glossy production... Iggy's a far superior, more heartfelt and less obvious version (did they really have to add that Oriental motif for Bowie's?) And to be reminded of 1980's Bowie is cringe-worthy.


Contrary to many people (apparently) I really believe Let's Dance to be a good album of great musical and compositional value.
LOL. And agree with thought—sort of shocked how either wretched or mediocre some of the folks below find it. Play it again.

Interesting segue to Morphine, what with discussions of heroin below (China White?).

 
mgkiwi wrote:
I like this song, trouble is, an hour later you want to play it again!
 


Go Stevie Ray! {#Bananajam}
This song came out in my second year at Saint Mary's University in Halifax Nova Scotia. Everytime I hear it, I picture my roommate Anne dancing around our residence room. Brings back lots of great memories....{#Dance}


Anna Ternheim - "China Girl", Live Malmö (2007)

"A very personal and beautiful version of this song by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. "

 EssexTex wrote:
Sshh just you shut your mouth.{#Puke}
 

This is such an awful song. From the Cat People, Coffee Generation period. Absolutely bankrupt of good ideas.

I'm noticing that folks below are also disliking the song - but their comments are met with personal insults. That's not how dialogue works. If you like the song, that's cool, and support the song. Point out a guitar solo or a "feel" or something. But don't insult someone personally for having a different viewpoint than you do.
 crockydile wrote:

Stevie gives it a +2
Iggie Pop gives it a -1
Song is a basic 5
My rating: 6

  Oh baby, just you shut your mouse.


Sshh just you shut your mouth.{#Puke}
 Shimmer wrote:
This song sucked when it came out in the 80's and it still sucks now. Not because Bowie was slumming (who cares), but because it's musically tiresome.
 
The 80s were musically tiresome.  You are tiresome.  This track is not.

 horstman wrote:

Scary Monsters and super creeps. And the end of Major Tom.

Closed the door for me.

Sadly. . .

 
You missed a lot.

everything bowie does is touched with magic
i don't do the numbers
just shut my mouth
 Shesdifferent wrote:
OK, I agree Bowie is a phenominal artist....but i think it was around this time when he lost me.
 
Scary Monsters and super creeps. And the end of Major Tom.

Closed the door for me.

Sadly. . .

 bill-1956 wrote:
I saw Bowie at The Scope in Norfolk VA during his China Girl tour.

(The next evening, Saturday, was Neil Young - Pink Cadillac tour at Hampton Roads)

Oh to be young again!

:-)

This song was actually pretty good in concert. Better than on the LP.

But overall - with the test of time - I have to give it a 4 - Acceptable.

 

That's the Seroius Moonlight Tour - as in "under the moonlight, this serious moonlight"

And yes, the songs on the album are often great live.

Love the version of this from Storytellers, where he starts out nice and slow.
If you're out there Bill...I would like to hear the Iggy Pop version of this one. It's rarely heard but has always seemed grittier and more realisitic than the Bowie version.

Nothing against Bowie of course...


David Bowie - "Thursdays child":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S227FFNwl8



 wenatchee wrote:
SRV! Love it!
 
Stevie gives it a +2
Iggie Pop gives it a -1
Song is a basic 5
My rating: 6

 Pyro wrote:
Where else could I learn that Iggy Pop wrote this and Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar on it? (I know, I know, the album.)  RP, naturally!  Thanks, you guys.  I love this place!

 
So come tour Miami ("an elegant coma") with Mr. Pop.
This song is simply awful...{#Puke}
 Bocephus wrote:
Is this another heroin song?

I could escape this feeling, with my china girl
I feel a wreck without my, little china girl
I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder
Saw the stars crashing

Im a mess without my, little china girl
Wake up mornings wheres my, little china girl
I hear hearts beating, loud as thunder
I saw they stars crashing down
 

I didn't think anything could make me like this song less, but your post just did.  A solid 1.
 jagdriver wrote:
Written by none other than Iggy Pop!
 
Of course co-written with David - here from Wikipedia on David's generosity to his good friend Jimmy Osterberg:

"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). However, it was not popularized until it was rerecorded and released by Bowie on his album Let's Dance (1983). Bowie decided to put the song on his album when Pop, his old friend and musical collaborator, was in financial straits (Due to his struggle with drug addiction.) and was close to facing bankruptcy. Bowie decided to release the song on Let's Dance so that Pop could collect half the royalties (as co-writer of the track) and get back on his feet financially.



SRV! Love it!
R.I.P. SRV!
Where else could I learn that Iggy Pop wrote this and Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar on it? (I know, I know, the album.)  RP, naturally!  Thanks, you guys.  I love this place!

Maybe an appropriate song for the times. The China Girl is being seduced by Western values and materialism.

I dedicated this song to my Chinese girlfriend some years back who is now my wife!. Great song. Perfect 10.
This whole album is good:  poppy but edgy.
Written by none other than Iggy Pop!
 mgkiwi wrote:
{#Shhh} - great SRV guitar!

 

+1.  Great rhythm section for sure...

Other musicians on this release:
 Carmine Rojas: bass guitar
 Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson: drums
 Nile Rodgers, David Bowie: guitar
 Stevie Ray Vaughan: lead guitar
 Rob Sabino, David Bowie: keyboards

Ironically, this song reminds me of Japan and not China.  I was a foreign exchange student there while this song was popular with the Japanese... somewhere around summer of '83 I think.
Is this an extended version, or is it the regular edit and is the version in my collection yet another mutilated compilation copy?
I saw Bowie at The Scope in Norfolk VA during his China Girl tour.

(The next evening, Saturday, was Neil Young - Pink Cadillac tour at Hampton Roads)

Oh to be young again!

:-)

This song was actually pretty good in concert. Better than on the LP.

But overall - with the test of time - I have to give it a 4 - Acceptable.

 Shimmer wrote:
This song sucked when it came out in the 80's and it still sucks now. Not because Bowie was slumming (who cares), but because it's musically tiresome.
 

"Oh baby, just you shut your mouth." {#Whipit}
I like this song, trouble is, an hour later you want to play it again!
This song sucked when it came out in the 80's and it still sucks now. Not because Bowie was slumming (who cares), but because it's musically tiresome.
{#Shhh} - great SRV guitar!

 zaakster wrote:
My girlfriend is Chinese — she hates this song. I never liked this tune or this album when it came out, until I saw Bowie perform it live. Ziggy Stardust it ain't, but not half bad either, compared to 80s schlock like Duran Duran or Hall and Oates. This album also has some of the best guitar playing ever recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughn — regardless of what the 'blooze' freaks say about it.
 

Very well said from someone who is not a Bowie fanatic like myself.

For all the naysayers out there - If he ever tours again - go see it and enjoy the reinterpretations, reimaginings and especially how the great and good songs from over his entire career fit together. 
Genius - moves me to this day
 bugleboy624 wrote:
For some reason, I want to equate this song with Billy Idol.
 
The song was co-written with and also individually performed by Iggy Pop, who I used to confuse with Billy Idol when I was a small girl playing by the stereo and catching only glimpses of rockstars on MuchMusic at my sister's. That's some reason, just maybe not yours?

I'm sorry, but I get excited everytime this song comes on. I suspect I always will.

OK, I agree Bowie is a phenominal artist....but i think it was around this time when he lost me.
For some reason, I want to equate this song with Billy Idol.
David Bowie is an amazing artist, :shifty: but this song always makes me go "ho Hum." Actually, it makes me turn the volume off, but since its David B. it gets a 3 anyways.
The greatness of Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar........ anything Bowie is a 10..........
Aww just YOU shut YOUR mouth! :zip-lip: :shhh: :silenced:
RobK wrote:
Oh, he used caps lock so he must be right... :lol: I love the kind of reaction songs like this bring about. A "pop" song from an "alternative" artist - always bound to stir up some controversy. Me, I love the song. The drum and bass parts are particularly cool. The fact that it was a big ol' MTV hit doesn't really bother me at all. I know crap music when I hear it and this ain't it.
You are SO on target!
Bocephus wrote:
Is this another heroin song? I could escape this feeling, with my china girl I feel a wreck without my, little china girl I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder Saw the stars crashing Im a mess without my, little china girl Wake up mornings wheres my, little china girl I hear hearts beating, loud as thunder I saw they stars crashing down
I always thought so. :yes:
I know a lot of the fans of older Bowie don't like this, but I like it ALL. This particular song was popular for a REASON. It rocks (although I have heard other versions that rock more) and I love the guitar work. And I loved this whole album, "commercial" or not! (I also like Alladin Sane and the older stuff.)
Is this another heroin song? I could escape this feeling, with my china girl I feel a wreck without my, little china girl I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder Saw the stars crashing Im a mess without my, little china girl Wake up mornings wheres my, little china girl I hear hearts beating, loud as thunder I saw they stars crashing down
RobK wrote:
Oh, he used caps lock so he must be right... :lol: I love the kind of reaction songs like this bring about. A "pop" song from an "alternative" artist - always bound to stir up some controversy. Me, I love the song. The drum and bass parts are particularly cool. The fact that it was a big ol' MTV hit doesn't really bother me at all. I know crap music when I hear it and this ain't it.
This is total crap!
Cruithne3753 wrote:
Indeed he has. In fact, it was recorded before Bowie's version. It's on "The Idiot". Personally I think Bowie's is by far the better.
I agree. It evokes more appropriate imagery for the song. In related to the previous post, Iggy Pop did not write this song alone. He and David Bowie wrote it. One can imagine Bowie being dominant in the writing department, if only by placing ideas in his writing partners head. Yeah, I'm totally making that part up ... but it just seems plausible to me.
NFG wrote:
This was the beginning of the end for my admiration of Bowie. After 'Scary Monsters' and 'Lodger' he let this album out, and it was just too bad. I don't really like anything he's done since. I used to be a huge fan. The first side of Scary Monsters was a shock to the system. Ingenious.
kinda agree but Cat People theme was pretty good. Interestingly this album was his greatest commercial success.
This was the beginning of the end for my admiration of Bowie. After 'Scary Monsters' and 'Lodger' he let this album out, and it was just too bad. I don't really like anything he's done since. I used to be a huge fan. The first side of Scary Monsters was a shock to the system. Ingenious.
Fantastic lineup of studio gods on this album, aside from the great Bowie...classic.
yea great stuff, hey I still have the orginal LP and its not the same cover as this re_release