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"China Girl" is a song co-written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's album The Idiot (1977). It was more widely popularized when it was rerecorded and released by Bowie on his album Let's Dance (1983). Bowie decided to put the song on his album when Pop, his friend and musical collaborator, was in financial straits (due to his struggle with drug addiction) and was close to facing bankruptcy. Bowie decided to release the song on Let's Dance so that Pop could collect half the royalties (as co-writer of the track) and get back on his feet financially.
An edit of David Bowie's 1983 version was also released as a single.
Under the auspices of Nile Rodgers, the song was given a much more commercial sheen than Pop's darker, more roughly-produced version.
It continues the theme established in the video for "Let's Dance". The song was again edited for single release, but attracted more attention for its striking video. David Mallet’s clip, shot mainly in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia and on a houseboat on Sydney Harbour featured Geeling Ng lying naked in the surf with Bowie (a visual reference to the film From Here to Eternity). The latter's bared buttocks caused the video to generate some lurid tabloid headlines, though the clip went on to win an MTV award. Versions of the clip included on subsequent video and DVD compilations are slightly ...