Walking on Thin Ice

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"Walking on Thin Ice"
Single by Yoko Ono
B-side "It Happened"
Released 6 January 1981 (original release)
25 March 2003 (remix)
Format 7", 12" (remix also on CD)
Recorded 8 December 1980
Genre Rock, new wave, dance
Length 6:00
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Yoko Ono
Producer(s) John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jack Douglas
Yoko Ono singles chronology
"Kiss Kiss Kiss"
(1980)
"Walking on Thin Ice"
(1981)
"No, No, No"
(1981)

"Yang Yang"
(2002)

"Walking on Thin Ice"
(2003)

"Will I" / "Fly"
(2003)
Alternative cover
The cover of ONO's successful "Walking on Thin Ice" 2003 remix single.

"Walking on Thin Ice" is a song by Yoko Ono, released in 1981. She and John Lennon concluded the recording of the song on December 8, 1980. It was upon their return from the recording studio to The Dakota (their home in New York City) that Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was clutching a tape of a final mix when he was shot.

The song was both a critical and commercial success.

Background[edit]

Lennon's lead guitar work on the track, which he recorded on 8 December 1980, was his final creative act. At the end of January 1981, "Walking on Thin Ice" was released as a single and became Ono's first chart success, peaking at number 58 in the US and gaining major club/underground airplay. The single was released in February 1981 in the UK and reached number 35 on the chart. The critical reception was favorable: NME rated it in the best tracks of year 1981 at number 10.[1] The lyrics talk of the unpredictability of life and death — of "throwing the dice in the air" — and reach the conclusion, "when our hearts return to ashes, it will be just a story....". On the version included on 1992's Onobox, a new intro was added, where John Lennon can be heard remarking "I think you just cut your first number one, Yoko."

The B-side, "It Happened," was a slower, mellow track about acceptance - from Ono's vaults that was originally recorded for A Story and had already seen limited release in Japan as the B-side to "Yume O Moto", but was remixed for inclusion on the single.[2] Much like the A-side, the lyrics have a new haunting quality given Lennon's murder: "It happened at a time of my life/When I least expected... And I know there's no return, no way". In the essay on the back of the single, Ono talks about how Lennon picked out this track from her old tapes and marked it as a hit. She said "No way!" to which he responded "I'll make it a hit". He was murdered hours later.

The song is also included on the experimental compilation album called Disco Not Disco (2000). In 2003, riding on the success of several Ono club remixes including "Open Your Box" and "Kiss Kiss Kiss", "Walking on Thin Ice" was released as a maxi-single with remixes by dance artists including the Pet Shop Boys, Danny Tenaglia and Felix Da Housecat. It met with incredible success, spending many weeks on the US dance chart before reaching number one, beating Madonna and Justin Timberlake. In the UK, it reached number 35 on the chart, exactly the same position as the original reached in 1981.

Track listings[edit]

1981[edit]

Promo 7" single
  • A. "Walking On Thin Ice" (EDIT) - 3:23
  • B. "Walking On Thin Ice" (Long Version) - 5:58
7" / 12" single
  • A. "Walking On Thin Ice" - 5:59
  • B. "It Happened" - 5:08
Promo 12" / Cassingle
  • A. "Walking On Thin Ice" - 5:59
  • B1. "It Happened" - 5:08
  • B2. "Hard Times Are Over" - 3:26

2003[edit]

2007[edit]

  1. "Walking On Thin Ice" (with Jason Pierce of Spiritualized) - 5:07
  2. "Toyboat" (with Antony of Antony and the Johnsons and Hahn Rowe) - 4:24

2013[edit]

  1. Dave Aude House Club Mix - 6:35
  2. Dave Aude House Instrumental - 6:35
  3. Dave Aude House Dub - 6:12
  4. Dave Aude House Mixshow - 5:23
  5. Dave Aude House Radio Edit - 3:48
  6. Dave Aude Electro Disco Club Mix - 6:32
  7. Dave Aude Electro Disco Instrumental - 6:32
  8. Dave Aude Electro Disco Dub - 5:47
  9. Dave Aude Electro Disco Radio Edit - 4:16
  10. Emjae Vocal Mix - 5:04
  11. Emjae Dub - 5:31
  12. Ralphi Rosario Club Mix - 7:52
  13. Ralphi Rosario Dub - 7:23
  14. Ralphi Rosario Radio Edit - 3:50
  15. R3hab Vocal Mix - 4:06
  16. R3hab Instrumental - 4:06
  17. R3hab Dub - 4:06
  18. Superchumbo Club Mix - 8:13
  19. Superchumbo Dub - 8:11
  20. Morel Hot Sauce Mix - 5:35
  21. Morel Hot Sauce Dub - 5:38
  22. Tedd Patterson Club Mix - 6:58
  23. Tedd Patterson Instrumental - 6:58
  24. Tedd Patterson Dub - 6:58
  25. Danny Tenaglia's Maestro Version - 2:47
  26. Danny Tenaglia's Give Ice A Chance Mix - 9:50
  27. Danny Tenaglia's Grand Ballroom Mix - 12:34
  28. Danny Tenaglia & Sebastian Dub - 7:45

Music videos[edit]

Yoko Ono herself directed a music video for "Walking on Thin Ice" which was released in February 1981. In 2003 Mike Mills and Arya Senboutaraj (one half of the directing duo Rainbows & Vampires) directed an animated black and white video featuring the "Pet Shop Boys Electro Mix Edit" of the song.

Covers[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
New Zealand (RIANZ)[4] 48
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[4] 6
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[5] 35
US Hot 100 (Billboard) 58
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[6] 13
Chart (2003) Peak
position
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[5] 35
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[6] 1
US Hot Dance Singles Sales (Billboard)[6] 5
Chart (2013) Peak
position
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[6] 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Best albums & tracks of year 1981" NME. retrieved 1-8-2013
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ The Wicked Picketts - Overview. Allmusic.com
  4. ^ a b "Ultratop.be - Yoko Ono - Walking On Thin Ice". Ultratop (in Dutch). ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Yoko Ono". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Yoko Ono - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 26 July 2011.