Cities in Dust

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This article is about the song by Siouxsie and the Banshees. For the Canadian punk band, see Cities in Dust (band).
"Cities in Dust"
Siouxsie Cities.jpg
Single by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album Tinderbox
B-side "An Execution", "Quarterdrawing of the Dog"
Released 18 October 1985
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1985
Genre Dance rock, alternative rock
Length 4:06

Polydor (UK)

Geffen Records (U.S.)
Writer(s) Susan Ballion, Peter Edward Clarke and Steven Severin
Producer(s) Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees singles chronology
"Cities in Dust"

"Cities in Dust" is a song written and produced by British rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released in 1985 as the first single from their seventh studio album, Tinderbox. The "Cities in Dust" 12" was the first Banshees' single release in the United States, on Geffen Records.

History and reception[edit]

The song describes the city of Pompeii, destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Imagery describing the volcano and its magma chamber, the condition of the victims of the eruption, and the subsequent discovery and excavation of the city comprises the bulk of the lyrics.

"Cities in Dust" was a more post-punk affair than singles released by the Banshees in the previous several years. It also had more of a pop music melody than past releases from the band, although its lyrics were still dark, mentioning a shrine to Lares Familiares. Its upbeat 4/4 rhythm also made it a hit in dance clubs. "Cities in Dust" peaked at number 21 in the UK singles chart.[1] Although not Siouxsie and the Banshees' first song to hit the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, it was their first significant hit, climbing to number 17.

Singer Brett Anderson of Suede cited "Cities in Dust" as one of his favourite songs.[2]

Cover versions, legacy and popular culture[edit]

"Cities in Dust" was covered by electronic artist Junkie XL with Lauren Rocket in 2008, and released as a single off the Booming Back at You album. The cover also appeared on the soundtrack for the racing video game Burnout Paradise, as well as on the compilation album OMFGG – Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl No. 1, released by the CW after the first season of Gossip Girl. "Cities in Dust" was also revisited by Brazilian band Pato Fu, for their album Daqui Pro Futuro in 2007. A cover of the song by The Everlove was used in the trailers for the video game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron: the same cover was also the music of the trailer for the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.[3]


Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart 21
US Hot Dance Club Play 17
Irish Singles Chart[4] 22
Dutch Singles Chart[5] 37


  1. ^ Johns, Brian. Entranced : the Siouxsie and the Banshees story. Omnibus Press, 1989. Page 94. ISBN 9780711917736
  2. ^ "Culture (by Brett Anderson)". 20 July 2011. Archived from the original on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Avery, Dan. HBO Releases Second "Game Of Thrones" Season 4 Trailer, "Vengeance". 18 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014
  4. ^ "Search the Charts Archived 3 June 2009 at WebCite". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved on 18 September 2012. NB: user needs to enter "siouxsie and the banshees" in "Search by Artist" and click "search".
  5. ^ "Siouxsie and the Banshees". Dutch Albums Chart. Retrieved 30 October 2010.