Iggy Pop

Sister Midnight

Composed by Carlos Alomar / David Bowie / Iggy Pop

Song Review by

The first song cut for what became Iggy Pop's seminal 1977 solo debut album, The Idiot, the Oedipal plod of "Sister Midnight" was a relentless slice of mutant funk based around a riff that co-producer David Bowie's guitarist, Carlos Alomar, had introduced during rehearsals for Bowie's 1976 world tour. Bowie initially planned to record the song as a one-off single with Iggy and had completed just one verse of the song when he handed it over. The speed with which Iggy completed the lyric, then reeled off enough material for a half dozen more, convinced Bowie that they should set their sights on making an album instead.

"Sister Midnight" received a handful of live airings during Bowie's 1976 tour before the team decamped to the studio to begin work on the LP. With the sessions influenced equally by the motorik pulse of disco master Giorgio Moroder, the computerized precision of electronic mavens Kraftwerk, and the Wall of Sound defined by Phil Spector and Joe Meek, "Sister Midnight" was the ideal opener, a lurching rhythm, a drawling lyric, and despite the absence of any conventional electronic instruments at the session, imbibed with such a defiantly futuristic ambience that even the backing vocals, pitched high and just slightly off-kilter, possess an otherworldly electricity.

Though it was certainly a highlight of Iggy's 1977 U.K. and U.S. tours, "Sister Midnight" was inexplicably ignored for the following year's TV Eye live album. However, the song gained an entire new lease of life when Bowie resurrected the riff as "Red Money," the closing track on his next album, 1979's Lodger.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Idiot 1977 Virgin / Virgin EMI
Choice Cuts 1984 RCA
Wild Animal 1995 New Rose Records / New Rose Blues
Live at the Ritz NYC (1986) 1995 Sony Music Distribution 4:41
King Biscuit Flower Hour 1997 King Biscuit Flower Hour Records
Sister Midnight 1999 Cleopatra 4:05
Nights of the Iguana 1999 Remedy Records 4:41
From the Front Row: Live 2003 Silverline Records
Greatest Hits Live 2003 King Biscuit Entertainment 4:39
A Million in Prizes: The Anthology 2005 EMI / Virgin
20th Century Masters - Millennium Collection: The Best of Iggy Pop 2006 A&M / Universal 4:22
Where the Faces Shine, Vol. 1: 1977-198 2006 Easy Action Records 5:06
Control [Original Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Rhino/Warner Bros. 4:18
Holiday Gift Pack 2007 Virgin 4:20
Pop at His Top 2008 Get Back Records 2:13
Where the Faces Shine, Vol. 2: The Official Live Experience 2008 Easy Action Records / Cadiz 4:50
Iggy & Ziggy: Cleveland '77 2009 Cleopatra
Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009 2011 Shout! Records 5:00
I Used to Be a Stooge, But Now I'm a Real Wild Child 2011 The Store for Music 4:07
Shot Myself Up 2015 Easy Action Records 2:14
Post Pop Depression 2016 Eagle Rock / Eagle Vision 4:14
Post Pop Depression: Live from Royal Albert Hall 2016 Loma Vista 4:59
No Image
Various Artists
Rhino 4:18
blue highlight denotes editor's pick