E=MC2 (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
E=MC² cover.jpeg
Single by Big Audio Dynamite
from the album This Is Big Audio Dynamite
ReleasedMarch 1986
Format7", 12"
GenreAlternative dance, new wave
Songwriter(s)Mick Jones, Don Letts
Producer(s)Mick Jones
Big Audio Dynamite singles chronology
"The Bottom Line"
"Medicine Show"

"E=MC2" is a 1985 single by Big Audio Dynamite, released as the second single from their debut album This Is Big Audio Dynamite. The song was the group's first Top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 11. Additionally, it peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the United States. The song features prominent dialogue samples from the 1970 film Performance. The song is also played during the opening titles of the French movie Forces spéciales (2011).


This song was inspired by films directed by Nicolas Roeg, including Performance (written & co-directed by Donald Cammell), Walkabout, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Insignificance. Its lyrics refer directly to many of them. For example:

  • The last four lines of the first verse "Man dies first reel / People ask what's the deal? / This ain't how it's supposed to be / Don't like no Aborigine" are a reference to the 1971 film Walkabout, which begins with an adult character committing suicide, which then leaves two children to survive a trek across the Australian outback, aided by a young Aborigine male.
  • The 2nd verse (from "Took a trip to Powis Square" to "Insanity Bohemian style") refers to the two main characters in Performance; a retired rock star (played by Mick Jagger) and a gangster on the run (played by James Fox)
  • "King of brains" - refers to Albert Einstein, a lead character in Insignificance (note also the reference to "relativity" in the chorus)
  • "Queen of the sack" - refers to Marilyn Monroe, a lead character in Insignificance
  • "Hall of fame baseball" - refers to Joe DiMaggio, a lead character in Insignificance
  • "Senator's a hoodlum" - refers to Joe McCarthy, a lead character in Insignificance
  • "Space guy fell from the sky" refers to The Man Who Fell to Earth starring David Bowie
  • The 2nd verse (from "Met a dwarf who was no good" to "Gets to take the funeral ride") describes Don't Look Now, starring Donald Sutherland.

Included throughout the song are dialogue samples taken directly from the film Performance.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song (directed by Don Letts) features clips from movies made by Nicolas Roeg, coupled with scenes of the band performing in a mine.

Mick Jones and Hard-Fi[edit]

"E=MC2" has been performed live by Mick Jones a few times with indie rock band Hard-Fi. One performance of this was at the Brixton Academy on 15 May 2006, a gig at which Billy Bragg and Paul Weller also appeared.[1]

On 18 May 2006, at the end of Hard-Fi's record-equalling five night residency of Brixton Academy (a record matched by The Clash amongst others) they were joined onstage by Mick Jones one song into their three-song encore for their final performance of "E=MC2".[1]

Track listing[edit]

7" CBS / A 6963 (UK)
  1. "E=MC2" – 4:30
  2. "This Is Big Audio Dynamite" – 3:39
7" Columbia / 38-06053 (US)
  1. "E=MC2" – 4:30
  2. "A Party" – 4:44
12" CBS / TA 6963 (UK)
  1. "E=MC2 (Extended Remix)" – 6:18 (remixed by Paul 'Groucho' Smykle)
  2. "This Is Big Audio Dynamite" – 5:53
12" Columbia / 44-05909 (US)
  1. "E=MC2 (Extended Remix)" – 5:33 (remixed by Bert Bevans)
  2. "A Party" – 10:15 (remixed by Paul 'Groucho' Smykle)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart[2] 47
Irish Singles Chart[3] 11
UK Singles Chart[4] 11
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[5] 37
US Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales[5] 41

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hard-Fi team up with very special guest | News | NME.COM
  2. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, NSW, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 34. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  3. ^ "The Irish Charts". IRMA. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
  4. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Big Audio Dynamite". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  5. ^ a b "Big Audio Dynamite > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-16.