Lust for Life (Iggy Pop song)

"Lust for Life" is a 1977 song performed by Iggy Pop and co-written by David Bowie, featured on the album of the same name. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 149 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

"Lust for Life"
Lust for Life.jpg
Cover of the 1977 Netherlands single
Single by Iggy Pop
from the album Lust for Life
ReleasedOctober 1977 (1977-10)
Producer(s)David Bowie
Music video
"Lust for Life" on YouTube
Alternative cover

Composition and performanceEdit

Co-written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie, (written on a ukulele) the song is known for its opening drumbeat (played by Hunt Sales). The rhythm was based on the Armed Forces Network call signal,[2] which Pop and Bowie picked up on while waiting for a broadcast of Starsky & Hutch.[2] The drumbeat has since been imitated in numerous songs, including "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet and "Selfish Jean" by Travis; however, Sales's use of the rhythm was not original, as it was itself derived from "You Can't Hurry Love", released in July 1966 by The Supremes,[3] and "I'm Ready for Love", released in October 1966 by Martha and the Vandellas.

In 1977, the song reached No. 3 in the Dutch Top 40 as well as in Yugoslavia. Its success was ignited by a legendary performance in the Dutch pop TV show TopPop, where Iggy Pop, shirtless, wrecked part of the stage set (which consisted of a couple of potted plants and some cardboard scenery).[4][5] Although many viewers and newspapers complained about the apparent damage, the director of TopPop later admitted that they knew beforehand what Iggy was going to do and that the damage was minimal.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

1996 UK singleEdit

  1. "Lust for Life" – 5:11
  2. "(Get Up I Feel Like A) Sex Machine" – 4:05
  3. "Lust for Life (Live at the Feile Festival, 1993)" – 5:35
  4. "I Wanna Be Your Dog (Live at the Rock for Choice Benefit concert)" – 4:55


The song's lyrics contain a number of references to William S. Burroughs' experimental novel The Ticket That Exploded, most notably mentions of "Johnny Yen" (described by Burroughs as "The Boy-Girl Other Half strip tease God of sexual frustration") and "hypnotizing chickens".

In a 1995 interview, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and manager Danny Sugerman stated that the opening lyrics were about their deceased heroin dealer, nicknamed "Gypsy Johnny", arriving at Wonderland Avenue, with his heroin and his "motorized dildos". Sugerman also said that the riff was a rip-off of "Touch Me" by the Doors.[citation needed]


In pop cultureEdit

In 1980, the song was featured in a disco scene in the Dutch film Spetters.

In 1985, the song was used in the film Desperately Seeking Susan.

In 1996, the song gained a new audience when it was used in the introduction of the film Trainspotting. Indeed, this usage made UGO's list of Top 11 Uses of Classic Rock in Cinema.

Since then, the song has appeared in a number of other movies and commercials, though sometimes with edits to the lyrics; the version of the song in the film Rugrats Go Wild changes "here comes Johnny Yen again" to "here comes Spike the Dog again". In a commercial for Royal Caribbean, "with liquor and drugs," for instance, was replaced by "looks so fine."[citation needed] The song's use in commercial contexts was satirized by the newspaper The Onion in the article "Song About Heroin Used to Advertise Bank".[6] For his part, Iggy Pop has mentioned that he has no problem with his song being used in this manner considering it was previously getting little radio play and the commercials have sparked listener interest.[7]

The instrumental opening of the song is used as the de facto 'theme' of The Jim Rome Show on radio. It is played at the top of each hour of the show, and is also used as the song to end the show.

The live version of "Lust for Life" from the 1996 UK single appears as a playable song in the video game Guitar Hero 5. In addition, the original version appeared in Guitar Hero Live, as well as being made available as DLC for Rock Band 4.

In the Simpsons episode "The Regina Monologues", the song is played as Bart and Lisa become hyperactive after tasting British candy in a sequence largely referencing Trainspotting.

The song was featured on the soundtrack of Major League Baseball 2K10, but it was heavily edited to be more appropriate for younger people.

The song along with "Success" were featured in the documentary Warren Miller's Impact.

The song is also featured, in a remixed version by The Prodigy, at the end of the Trainspotting sequel, T2 Trainspotting, directed by Danny Boyle and released in early 2017.

In 2018, the song features in an advertising campaign for the video game Assassin's Creed Odyssey in the United Kingdom, in a sequence of gameplay initially spoofing the opening of Trainspotting, together with similar narration from the film; specifically "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose your friends" and other phrases.

Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Murray Smith (29 March 2002). Trainspotting. British Film Institute. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-85170-870-6. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Iggy Pop on David Bowie:"He Resurrected Me"". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  3. ^ "Old Music Tuesdays: The Lust for Life Beat". Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  4. ^ Bessemer, Ronald (2009-08-04). "Rev. of Iggy Pop, Lust for Life". Platomania. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  5. ^ "TopPop". School voor Journalistiek. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  6. ^ "Song About Heroin Used to Advertise Bank". The Onion. 2001-04-18. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  7. ^ O'Reilly, Terry (9 February 2013). "Under the Influence: Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma". CBC Radio One. Retrieved 10 February 2013.