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"The Passenger" is a song by Iggy Pop and Ricky Gardiner, recorded and released by Iggy Pop on the Lust for Life album in 1977. It was also released as the B-side of the album's only single, "Success". It was released as a single in its own right in March 1998, reaching number 22 in the UK Charts.

"The Passenger"
The Passenger (song).jpg
Song by Iggy Pop
from the album Lust for Life
ReleasedAugust 29, 1977 (1977-08-29)
RecordedApril – June 1977 at Hansa Studio by the Wall, Berlin
LabelRCA Records
Producer(s)Bewlay Bros.

The lyrics, written by Iggy Pop allegedly aboard Berlin's S-Bahn, have been interpreted as embodying the nomadic spirit of the punk outcast. Guitarist Ricky Gardiner composed the music. The song is loosely based on a poem by Jim Morrison.[1][2]


Background and conceptionEdit

In an interview with The Guardian, Iggy Pop spoke about how "The Passenger" was partly inspired by travelling with David Bowie on tour, "...I’d been riding around North America and Europe in David’s car ad infinitum. I didn’t have a driver’s licence or a vehicle."[3]

In the mediaEdit

[citation needed]

The song has been featured in numerous movies, video games, documentaries and TV shows including He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, This Must Be the Place, Radiofreccia, 30 Days, Jarhead and the 2002 video game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2. More recently, Up in the Air, The Weather Man, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, Scarface: The World Is Yours, 24 Hour Party People, If I Stay, Sons of Anarchy, War Dogs , Ash vs Evil Dead , 12 Monkeys and Berlin Station (Season 3 episode 1) in addition to advertisements for Dublin Bus, Captain Morgan, Kohl's "Simply Vera" collection, Guinness, the fifth season of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, and the film Waking Life.

  • The instrumental lead-in riff of this song served as the intro theme music for the CNN program Anderson Cooper 360.
  • In Lego Rock Band, the song appeared as a playable track featuring a Lego-style avatar of Iggy Pop on vocals.
  • In 2009, New Zealand broadband internet provider Orcon held a promotion where eight fans re-recorded the song via the internet. The recording featured instruments foreign to the original, such as a flute.[4]
  • It was re-released as a single in the UK in 1998 in the wake of the Toyota Avensis commercial, peaking at number 22.
  • The song was included in the book The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present published in 2008.
  • In 2010, the German mobile phone provider T-Mobile launched their "Welcome Home" flash-mob advert on British television. Amongst the songs performed using only voices was "The Passenger", sung by local Brighton resident George Ikediashi.[5]


Region Certification
Italy (FIMI)[9] Gold


Siouxsie and the Banshees versionEdit

"The Passenger"
Single by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album Through the Looking Glass
B-side"She's Cuckoo", "Something Blue"
ReleasedMarch 16, 1987
Format7" single, 12" single
GenrePop rock, alternative rock
Producer(s)Siouxsie and the Banshees
Mike Hedges
Siouxsie and the Banshees singles chronology
"This Wheel's on Fire"
"The Passenger"
"Song from the Edge of the World"

English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees covered "The Passenger" in 1987 for their all-cover-versions album Through the Looking Glass. The group revamped the song by adding brass arrangements. Released as the second single from that album, it peaked at number 41 in the UK singles chart.[10]

Iggy Pop praised their version and stated: "That's good. She sings it well and she threw a little note in when she sings it, that I wish I had thought of, it's kind of improved it [...]. The horn thing is good."[11]

The song was featured at the end of Tonya Harding's biographical film I, Tonya (2017).[12]

Other cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ PBS documentary Rock and Roll episode 7: The Wild Side, 1995
  2. ^ The Lords and the New Creatures Poems by Jim Morrison, Simon & Schuster, 1969, pg. 32
  3. ^ Perry, Kevin EG (5 March 2016). "Josh Homme on Iggy Pop: 'Lemmy is gone. Bowie is gone. He's the last of the one-and-onlys'".
  4. ^ "Iggy re-records 'The Passenger' with a little help from NZ fans". 3 News. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  5. ^ "George Ikediashi from Brighton lands starring role in T-Mobile national TV ad". Brighton Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "Fighttracks: walkout songs of UFC 212". MMA Junkie.
  7. ^ Dawson, Abigail. "Tourism New Zealand launches new mobile-led campaign". Mumbrella. Mumbrella. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Leto The Passenger".
  9. ^ "Italian single certifications – Iggy Pop – The Passenger" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved November 1, 2014. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "The Passenger" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  10. ^ "Siouxsie & the Banshees [uk charts]". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  11. ^ "120 Minutes" Iggy Pop interview. MTV. June 1990. Excerpt about Siouxsie and the Banshees' version of The Passenger from 08:38
  12. ^ Rosen, Christopher (December 11, 2017). "Best of 2017 (Behind the Scenes): The stories behind the best songs on the I, Tonya soundtrack". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2017.