"The Passenger" first rode into view on Iggy Pop's third solo effort, Lust for Life, the follow-up album coming quickly on the heels of his first real musical collaboration with David Bowie, The Idiot LP released earlier that same year. "The Passenger" is a voyeuristic homage to the nocturnal wanderings of life lived after hours. Many of the tracks on Lust for Life are co-written with Bowie, but the music on "The Passenger" was provided by session guitarist Rick Gardiner. The tune is based on a laid-back four-chord progression, where the end of each chord is clipped, giving buoyancy to the mid-tempo rhythm. Seriously rock-solid support from brothers Tony and Hunt Sales on bass and drums nails down a springy groove. "The Passenger" was written during a self-imposed "exile" in Berlin, Germany, where Pop and Bowie undertook to distance themselves from their drug connections, a move they later admitted was only moderately successful, as they could not resist the hedonistic nightlife the city had to offer. The lyrics, written around this time, make it easy to imagine the singer as the "passenger" safely viewing the "city's ripped backsides," protected as "he sees things from under glass," cruising the streets, taking in the sights. There is a sense of decadence as Pop delivers the lines in a relaxed, almost baritone croon while he invites listeners into his late-night world: "Get into the car/We'll be the passenger/We'll see the stars that shine so bright/Stars made for us tonight/And everything is made for you and me/'Cause it just belongs to you and me/So let's take a ride and see what's mine." This is the artists' domain, where they are most comfortable, where they live and work, while most of the world sleeps. "The Passenger" seems to personify the rather romantic and popular image of two musicians escaping to a foreign land, feeding one another inspiration, creating some of their best work while unable to fully pull themselves away from the rock & roll world that is a part of them. Several attempts to cover the song by the likes of Siouxsie & the Banshees and Bauhaus proved unable to quite capture the spirit of the original.