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David Bowie’s Hit Song ‘China Girl’ Allowed Iggy Pop to Get Married

During an interview, Iggy Pop revealed David Bowie's "China Girl" had a major impact on his personal life and finances. He also commented on a few of Bowie's cover songs. Bowie’s "China Girl" became a big hit in the United States, as did its parent album, ‘Let’s Dance.’

“China Girl” is one of David Bowie‘s most famous classic rock songs from the 1980s. During an interview, Iggy Pop revealed the song had a major impact on his life. He also discussed what he thought of Bowie’s “China Girl.”

David Bowie wearing a long-sleeved shirt
David Bowie | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ helped Iggy Pop ‘get off the merry-go-round’

In 1986, Pop told Interview Magazine he and his wife, Suchi Asano, were apprehensive about marrying each other.” We looked at each other suspiciously and said, ‘I’m gonna marry you?'” Pop recalled. “But we figured, let’s try it, so we went down to City Hall, I think it was October, two years ago, and we were there with all the other immigrants. It was a potpourri of Portuguese, Puerto Rican.”

Pop wrote and performed the original version of “China Girl” and said Bowie’s cover helped him out. “Anyway, I saw a little daylight coming in the summer of ’83,” he said. “David’s recording of ‘China Girl’ was going up the charts and there would be a little income from that for me as the writer. And my own albums had sold consistently, so there was a little money coming in, and I thought this was a good time to get off the merry-go-round.”

What Iggy Pop thought about the new version of the song

Pop said Bowie covered two of his other songs: “Tonight” and “Neighborhood Threat.” He said he was able to use the money he made from the cover to record more of his own songs. “To tell you the truth, the only reason I’d been able to save money and make these tapes was because the income from the cover versions he’d done of my songs had been good; I was really grateful,” Pop said.

When asked, Pop didn’t want to say whether he liked Bowie’s covers of his songs. When pressed, he said he thought Bowie’s “China Girl” was the best of the covers. He felt Bowie’s take on the song was very commercial.

Iggy Pop wearing a shirt depicting The Doors' Jim Morrison
Iggy Pop | Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

The way the world reacted to David Bowie’s and Iggy Pop’s versions of the song

Pop’s original version of “China Girl” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. In fact, only one of Pop’s songs ever hit the chart: “Candy.” “China Girl”‘s parent album, The Idiot, was a modest hit, peaking at No. 72 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for 13 weeks.


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On the other hand, Bowie’s “China Girl” became far more popular. The track reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and lasted on the chart for 18 weeks. Meanwhile, its parent album, Let’s Dance, was a massive success, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for 69 weeks. While “China Girl” wasn’t a hit at first, it eventually helped Pop become financially stable enough to get married.