"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". In the summer of 2007 alternative rock radio stations around the USA resumed playing the song in accordance with Iggy Pop and The Stooges tour in that country.
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. While it possesses a distinctive riff, "The Passenger" is perhaps most recognizable by its chorus, on which David Bowie sings back-up. The song is loosely based on a poem by Jim Morrison.
The song has been featured in the movies This Must Be the Place, Radiofreccia, TV spots for the film Waking Life, the television show 30 Days, the film Jarhead and the 2002 video gameMat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2. More recently, the films Up in the Air and The Weather Man featured the song on its teaser trailer, and is played in a shop early in the film. It can also be heard in Kurt Cobain About a Son, the documentary exploration of the life and influences of the late musician. Scarface: The World Is Yours includes the song on its music selection menu. It was also used in a series of Kohl's commercials advertising the new "Simply Vera" line of clothing designed by Vera Wang. Guinness used the song for a television advertisement featuring an airplane flying through a pint-glass-shaped valley with clouds representing the beer's foamy head. The instrumental lead-in riff of this song is also the intro theme music for the CNN program Anderson Cooper 360. The song is also included in the music/rhythm game Lego Rock Band, complete with a Lego-style avatar of Iggy Pop at vocals. In 2012, the song was played in the Season 5 episode of Sons of Anarchy.
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 piano and a flute.
The song has been used in various TV commercials around the world such as for the Avensis car in 1998 and Captain Morgan in 2011. It was re-released as a single in the UK in 1998 in the wake of the Toyota Avensis commercial, peaking at #22. It was used in a Dublin Bus commercial in Ireland.
It was also included in the book The Pitchfork Media 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.
|Single by Siouxsie and the Banshees|
|from the album Through the Looking Glass|
|B-side||"She's Cuckoo", "Something Blue"|
|Released||March 20, 1987|
|Format||7" single, 12" single|
|Producer||Siouxsie and the Banshees|
|Siouxsie and the Banshees singles chronology|
English rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees covered "The Passenger" for their all-cover-versions album Through the Looking Glass. The group revamped the song by adding brassarrangements. Released as the second single from that album, it peaked at #41 in the UK singles chart.
- 1987: Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded a cover of the song for their 1987 album Through the Looking Glass.
- 1989: Pidżama Porno, on albums "Ulice jak stygmaty" and "Futurista", with Polish lyrics written by Krzysztof Grabowski, called Pasażer ("passenger" in Polish).
- 1991: Brazilian band Capital Inicial recorded a Portuguese version of the song (whose lyrics follow nearly to letter the original) for their album Eletricidade. An acoustic version appeared in their MTV Unplugged album in 2000.
- 1994: Kult, on the album "Muj wydafca"
- 1994-5: Deborah Harry played it many times during her Debravation Tour.
- 1995: Phil Shöenfelt in collaboration with Czech band Tichá Dohoda, on the album "Live In Prague!"
- 1995: Michael Hutchence, of INXS, on the Batman Forever soundtrack
- 1996: Die Toten Hosen, on the live album Im Auftrag des Herrn´
- 1996: Big Cyc, on the "Z gitarą wśród zwierząt" album, sung by Jarosław Janiszewski
- 1996: Vlado Kreslin, on the album Pikapolonica
- 1996: Portuguese rock band UHF, on the album 69 Stereo.
- 1997: Lunachicks did a cover for the We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute album
- 1998: R.E.M. covered the song during their first performance on the BBC TV show Later with Jools Holland; the live recording was released later that year as a B-side to the R.E.M. single "At My Most Beautiful"
- 2001: Rowland S. Howard, on the He Died with a Felafel in His Hand soundtrack
- 2006: MC Lars used a sample from "The Passenger" for the track "Download This Song", on his album The Graduate
- 2006: Belgian group Absynthe Minded did a cover for the Windkracht 10 soundtrack album
- 2007: Mark Vidler of Go Home Productions released a mashup called "Peggy Lee vs. Iggy Pop - Passenger Fever" on his album Mashed
- 2008: Skizoo, a Spanish rock band, did a Spanish version of the song for their album 3, changing its name to "Bla, bla, bla"
- Bauhaus often performed a cover version of "The Passenger" in live shows
- 2009: DJ Gollum, a German dance music producer, made a remix of "The Passenger"
- 2010: Jamaican group The Jolly Boys recorded a mento version on their album Great Expectation. This version was featured in the British television series Skins, Season 5 episode 08.
- 2011: Kid Loco, on the album Confessions Of A Belladonna Eater
- 2011: Cro, a German rapper, sampled "The Passenger" for his song "Wir waren hier" on his mixtape Easy, and put an extended version of it with a slightly changed instrumental on his album Raop, which was released in 2012.
- 2012: Los Colorados, on the album Move It!
- 2012: Alison Mosshart & The Forest Rangers covered the song on the second soundtrack released for the television series Sons of Anarchy.
- 2013: Big John Bates plays an Americana Noir version sung live by upright bassist Brandy Bones