"Cities in Dust" is a song written and produced by British rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released in 1985 as the first single from their seventh studio album Tinderbox. The "Cities in Dust" 12-inch was the first Banshees' single release in the United States, on Geffen Records.


 [hide*1 History and reception

History and reception[edit]Edit

The song obliquely describes the city of Pompeii, destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Imagery describing the volcano and its magma chamber, the condition of the victims of the eruption, and the subsequent discovery and excavation of the city comprises the bulk of the lyrics.

"Cities in Dust" was a more post-punk affair than singles released by the Banshees in the previous several years. It also had more of a pop music melody than past releases from the band, although its cryptic lyrics were still dark, mentioning a shrine to Lares Familiares. Its upbeat 4/4 rhythm also made it a hit in dance clubs. "Cities in Dust" peaked at number 21 in the UK singles chart.[1] Although not Siouxsie and the Banshees' first song to hit the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, it was their first significant hit, climbing to number 17.

Singer Brett Anderson of Suede cited "Cities in Dust" as one of his favourite songs.[2]

Official mixes[edit]Edit

  • Extended Eruption Mix - 6:48

Cover versions[edit]Edit

"Cities in Dust" was covered by electronic artist Junkie XL with Lauren Rocket in 2008, and released as a single off the Booming Back at You album. The cover also appeared on the soundtrack for the racing video game Burnout Paradise. "Cities in Dust" was also revisited by Brazilian band Pato Fu, for their album Daqui Pro Futuro in 2007 and the song was performed live by The Start in 2008. A cover of the song by The Everlove was used for a trailer of the video game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.


Chart (1985) Peak


UK Singles Chart 21
US Hot Dance Club Play 17
Irish Singles Chart 21
Dutch Singles Chart 37
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