A Dustland Fairytale

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"A Dustland Fairytale"
Single by The Killers
from the album Day & Age
B-side "Forget About What I Said"
Released May 9, 2009 (2009-05-09)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2008
Genre Heartland rock
Length 3:45
Label Island
The Killers singles chronology
"The World We Live In"
"A Dustland Fairytale"
"¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe!"

"A Dustland Fairytale" is a song by American rock band The Killers, released as the fourth single from the band's third studio album, Day & Age (2008). The Killers performed the song live on Late Night with David Letterman accompanied by an orchestra in 2009.

The song's lyrics focus upon frontman Brandon Flowers' parents, referring to "Cinderella" (his mother) and a "slick chrome American prince" (his father).[1]


In 2013, vocalist Brandon Flowers noted that the track's lyrical content and aesthetic is similar to that of the band's previous studio album, Sam's Town: "["A Dustland Fairytale"] is me not being completely able to let go of Sam's Town! I wanted to - I wanted to go in a new direction, and there were a lot of new sounds on Day & Age, but on that song, I was really holding onto the last record. I still love Sam's Town, and you can really hear it in the words and sentiment of that song. It's more like an extension of Sam's Town, and not a reaction to it. It's one of the more personal narratives I've written, and it seems like the more personal I get, the more the fans respond and grow attached to the song."[2]


The cover art for the single is a portrait of the band's bassist Mark Stoermer, and is one of the four portraits drawn by Paul Normansell for the album.


The song was released as the third single from the band's third studio album Day & Age in North America. In the UK, Europe and Australia, the third single released was "The World We Live In".[3]

It was the fourth single from Day & Age in the UK and was released on August 10, 2009.[4]

It was released as a digital download and as a limited edition 7" vinyl.

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" picture disc
  1. "A Dustland Fairytale" – 3:45
  2. "Forget About What I Said" – 2:57[5]
UK digital EP[6]
  1. "A Dustland Fairytale" – 3:45
  2. "A Dustland Fairytale" (video) – 5:09

Chart performance[edit]

In December 2008, "A Dustland Fairytale" charted in the UK Top 200 on album track downloads alone, at number 158, in the week of its official release it re-entered at 137.

Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart[7] 137
US Billboard Alternative Songs[8] 36

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Anthony Mandler who also directed Killers videos for "Tranquilize" and "When You Were Young".[9] It was released on US iTunes on June 8, 2009.

The video premiered in the UK on June 16 on Channel 4 and 4Music.

The video shows an old man named Joe White, smoking with a tattoo of the number 7 on one of his fingers. It then reflects on a younger man, "Joey", showing the same 7 on the finger, dressed in a leather jacket, white shirt and leather pants and about to fight a member of another gang, "Billy", for his own gang, the "Sevens". Throughout the video, it shows the boy, Joey, dating a brunette girl, then there is a flashback of Joey looking at the brunette girl through her window, as she turns around and kisses Billy, while it shows the older man going to all the locations shown, reflecting on the memories of his youth. Interspersed with this is a letter that the man has, showing that he has just been released from prison, which gives a clue to the result of the initial fight—he kills Billy. The final shot is of an older Joe visiting a house, ringing the doorbell to find an older brunette woman answer the door, and they embrace.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Worldwide November 23, 2008 Digital download Island Records
North America June 9, 2009 Video download Island Def Jam
United Kingdom August 9, 2009 Digital EP Mercury Records
United Kingdom August 10, 2009 7 inch vinyl Mercury Records


  1. ^ "Songfacts.com A Dustland Fairytale". Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved May 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Flowers, Brandon. "Brandon Flowers Writes Track-By-Track To The Killers' Greatest Hits Album". nme.com. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Dustland for North America". Billboard. Archived from the original on 27 April 2009. Retrieved April 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Petridis, Alexis. "New Single Out August 10th". London: Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 July 2009. Retrieved July 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ "B Side". Amazon. Retrieved July 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ "Digital EP". ITunes. Retrieved August 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ "[1]". chartsplus. Retrieved on August 20, 2009.
  8. ^ "US Mod Rock". Billboard. Retrieved June 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Behind The Scenes". last.fm. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved June 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)