Song of the Day #4,282: ‘China Girl’ – David Bowie

David Bowie’s Let’s Dance comes in at #9 on my list of best 1983 albums. I knew the hits from this album at the time of release but I never heard the whole thing through until I spent some time exploring Bowie’s catalog after his death.

Let’s Dance was Bowie’s most successful album, selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide. Hits ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘Modern Love’ and ‘China Girl’ are among his top-selling singles. Critically, its reception was mixed, though over time its reputation has grown.

In addition to those staples, this album features the excellent ‘Without You’ and a new recording of ‘Cat People (Putting Out Fire).’ Lesser-known tracks ‘Ricochet,’ ‘Criminal World’ and ‘Shake It’ have the same dance-pop production and verve that makes the album such a fun listen.

Bowie’s career went a bit off the rails after this release, but Let’s Dance capped off one of the great stretches of creative output in popular music history.

[Intro]
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl

[Verse 1]
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

[Verse 2]
I’m a mess without my little China Girl
Wake up in the morning, where’s my little China Girl?
I hear hearts beating loud as thunder
I saw the stars crashing down

[Chorus 1]
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

[Verse 3]
I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head, plans for everyone
Its in the white of my eyes

[Bridge]
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

[Chorus 2]
And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby, just you shut your mouth
She says… shh
She says… shh
She says…

[Chorus 2]
And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby, just you shut your mouth
And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby, just you shut your mouth
She says… shh
She says…

[Outro]
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl
Oh-oh-oh-oh, little China Girl

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,282: ‘China Girl’ – David Bowie

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    The hits from this album and their videos on constant rotation on MTV represented a substantial part of my high school freshman life.

    • Amy says:

      Those hits – and their MTV video counterpart – were the first I ever knew of Bowie. The appearance of his lyrics to Changes in The Breakfast Club two years later would be the first time I was eager to know more.

  2. Peg says:

    I have always loved this song! It’s so sexy and I love this video ❤️

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