Nine Million Bicycles
|"Nine Million Bicycles"|
|Single by Katie Melua|
|from the album Piece by Piece|
|B-side||"Market Day in Guernica", "Stardust"|
|Released||19 September 2005(UK)|
|Format||CD single, download|
|Genre||Pop, jazz, blues|
|Katie Melua singles chronology|
"Nine Million Bicycles" is a song written and produced by Mike Batt for the singer Katie Melua's second album, Piece by Piece. It was released as the album's first single in September 2005 (see 2005 in music) and reached number five on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Melua's first top five hit as a solo artist. It was a finalist for The Record of the Year prize, losing to "You Raise Me Up" by Westlife.
About the record
According to Melua, the inspiration for the song came during a visit to Beijing with her manager Mike Batt. Their interpreter showed them around the city and told that there are supposedly nine million bicycles in the city. Batt wrote a song based around the title "Nine Million Bicycles" upon his return to England two weeks later, and it was one of the last songs to be recorded for Piece by Piece. Adrian Brett, who played the ethnic flutes on Batt's album Caravans (1978), contributed to the song; an ocarina was used for the low sounds, and a Chinese bamboo flute for the high sounds.
Melua said that she liked the song "because it is a simple juxtaposition of a trivial idea ('Nine Million Bicycles') against an important idea ('I will love you till I die')". The website indieLondon named it one of the "highlights" of Piece by Piece, describing it as "genuinely sweet ... The meandering blasts of flute that weave their way throughout lend the song a Chinese feel and make it quite enticing".
The single's video, directed by Kevin Godley, features Melua being dragged across the floor through a variety of settings, including a brief shot of the Summer Palace (Yiheyuan, Chinese: 颐和园/頤和園) in Beijing, until she returns to a picnic in a park with her friends.
- Aidan Moffat and Alun Woodward covered the song[when?]
- Hank Marvin recorded an instrumental version for his 2007 album Guitar Man
- "Nine Million Bicycles" (Mike Batt) – 3:15
- "Market Day in Guernica" (Batt) – 4:02
- "Stardust" (Hoagy Carmichael, Mitchell Parish) – 4:10
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||4|
|Germany (Media Control Charts)||31|
|Irish Singles Chart||11|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||2|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||43|
|UK Singles Chart||5|
|Europe Official Top 100||12|
- Vocals by Katie Melua
- Guitars by Katie Melua, Chris Spedding, Jim Cregan
- Piano by Mike Batt
- Bass by Tim Harries
- Drums by Henry Spinetti
- Solo trumpet by Dominic Glover
- Solo violin by Mike Darcy
- Percussion by; Martin Ditchman, Chris Karan
- Ethnic flutes by Adrian Brett
- Orchestra – The Irish Film Orchestra; conducted by Mike Batt
- Producers – Mike Batt
- Engineer – Steve Sale
- Arranger – Mike Batt
In 2005, Melua was criticised by writer and scientist Simon Singh  for inaccurate lyrics referring to the size of the observable universe ("We are 12 billion light-years from the edge. That's a guess — no-one can ever say it's true"). Melua and Singh met, and Melua re-recorded a tongue-in-cheek version of the song for BBC Radio 4's Today programme that had been written by Singh:
"We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe; that's a good estimate with well-defined error bars/and with the available information, I predict that I will always be with you". Later Melua revealed that she 'should have known better' as she used to be a member of the Astronomy club at school.
- What's Music Record 1993, no. WS-2052, in Mandarin
- "Nine Million Bicycles". KatieMelua.com. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
- Foley, Jack and Hollie, Carnevale. "Katie Melua — Piece By Piece". indieLondon. Retrieved 9 April 2006.
- "Ultratop.be – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Lescharts.com – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles" (in French). Les classement single.
- "Chartverfulgong > Katie Melua > Nine Million Bicycles – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Italiancharts.com – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles". Top Digital Download.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles". VG-lista.
- "Swisscharts.com – Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles". Swiss Singles Chart.
- "Katie Melua's bad science". UK: The Guardian. 25 September 2012.