Marlon Brando

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim has asked us to choose a song that has a famous person’s name in it. I chose Little China Girl by David Bowie.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Paul Trynka, the author of David Bowie’s biography, Starman, explains the song was inspired by Iggy Pop’s infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a Vietnamese woman, as a metaphor for his Stooges career.[3]

Nile Rodgers, the producer of David Bowie’s 1983 version of the song, imagined his own meaning: “I figured China Girl was about doing drugs … because China is China White which is heroin, girl is cocaine. I thought it was a song about speedballing. I thought, in the drug community in New York, coke is girl, and heroin is boy. So then I proceeded to do this arrangement which was ultra pop. Because I thought that, being David Bowie, he would appreciate the irony of doing something so pop about something so taboo. And what was really cool was that he said ‘I love that!’.”[4]

The part of this song I find unsettling is:

Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the white of my eyes

As a Jewish person, all I can say is Yikes & WTF?

But I did like Marlon Brando, of blessed memory, so there you have it.



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 their 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 beating, loud as thunder
Saw their stars crashing down

I feel 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

And when I get excited

My little China girl says
Baby, just you shut your mouth
She says, sh-sh-shhh
She says, sh-sh-shhh

Songwriters: David Bowie, James Osterberg
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group, Songtrust Ave, TINTORETTO MUSIC, BMG Rights Management

Author: The Abject Muse

Susan Marie Shuman is an author and freelance writer/editor who currently resides in the wilds of Birmingham, AL. She shares her life with four spoiled cats, several friends (not all of them imaginary) one husband and one step-son. When she's not working, Susan enjoys horseback riding, reading, taking her cats for a spin in their pet stroller, and taking naps. An ex-bartender, recovering crash test dummy and all-around late bloomer, Susan graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2004 with a BA in English. She minored in Russian. Long-range goals include visiting Israel, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. Susan is also planning to launch a micronation which would be called either Suzannistan or Eastern Suzanorovia.

7 thoughts

  1. Now there’s a thought Jade!

    Of course the thoughts stay and may even be temporarily enhanced.

    Love can bring out so so much.

    Think of attachment and detachment in a Buddhist way perhaps.

    Confucianism and Taoism come up in a big way too when I think of this song.

    And the whole drug thing in popular and alternative music – Rogers did have his finger on the pulse in that regard, didn’t he, Susan.

    And this is about Iggy Pop and the Vietnamese woman in his life.

    Watched a great show where one of the people is a ‘Nam veteran and he talks about the Montagnards. His trauma comes out big in the second episode.

    All about Life – I tossed up a bit of Bowie also – he did the Pictures of Lily.

    Liked by 1 person

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