Houdini (song)

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For the 1962 song, see Walter Brennan.
Houdini FTP.JPG
Single by Foster the People
from the album Torches
Released May 15, 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre Indie pop, alternative dance, synth-pop
Length 3:20
Label Columbia, Startime
Writer(s) Mark Foster
Producer(s) Rich Costey, Mark Foster
Foster the People singles chronology
"Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)"
"Coming of Age"

"Houdini" is a song by American indie pop band Foster the People from their debut studio album Torches. Written by the group's frontman Mark Foster, the song was first released as a promotional single exclusively in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2011. The song was released as the album's fifth single on May 15, 2012. It is featured on the soundtrack for video game SSX and in the episode "Yes, Then Zero" of Gossip Girl.[1][2] The song appeared in the 2012 film LOL. It also appeared in the TV shows Awkward and Suits.

Writing and recording[edit]

"Houdini" was written by the group's frontman Mark Foster while he was working as a commercial jingle writer at Mophonics. While showing his then-girlfriend the offices on a so-called "take-your-girlfriend-to-work-day", Foster demonstrated how he wrote songs, putting a simple drum beat and vocal sample together in 10 minutes. Four days later, he revisited the composition and began adding piano chords. Reflecting on the song, he described his then-girlfriend as a "good muse".[3]


  • Mark Foster - vocals, piano, synthesizer, percussion, programming
  • Gary Grant - trumpet
  • Mark Pontius - drums
  • Cubbie Fink - bass

Live performances[edit]

The band performed "Houdini", as well as "Pumped Up Kicks", on Saturday Night Live on October 8, 2011, which was hosted by Ben Stiller. American saxophonist Kenny G guested on the performance of "Houdini".[4] Foster the People performed the song on Late Show with David Letterman in October 27, 2011 along with "Pumped Up Kicks", "Helena Beat", "Call It What You Want", "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)", "I Would Do Anything for You", "Miss You" and "Life on the Nickel".

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Houdini" premiered on YouTube on April 25, 2012. James Mackey guest stars as the paramedic.


The band (Mark Foster, Mark Pontius, Jacob Fink) is shown filming a music video in the studio, when a lighting rig falls on them. A paramedic arrives, and declares the band dead. The band's manager is notified, due to the band having to perform at a concert the following day. The manager arrives, and orders his assistants to move the limbs of the members. After practicing, the crew decide to lobotomize the members, and modify their equipment. After experimentations, the now-robotic band performs at the concert, with success. The film ends with the crew members having a party backstage, and the lifeless bodies of the band sitting on the couch.

Awards & Nominations[edit]

This music video was nominated for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards award for Best Short Form Music Video.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[5]
  1. "Houdini" – 3:20

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011–12) Peak
Canada Alternative Rock (America's Music Charts)[6] 7
Japan (Billboard Hot 100)[7] 70
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[8] 98
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[9] 37

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United Kingdom April 1, 2011[5] Digital download Columbia Records
United States May 15, 2012[10] Alternative radio


  1. ^ "SSX Soundtrack To Feature Foster The People, Pretty Lights, The Naked And Famous And Many More". EA News. ea.com. February 7, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gossip Girl Music - Season 5, Episode 1". The CW. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ Graff, Gary (2012-06-12). "Foster the People: Next Album to Be 'Celebratory' With 'More Grit'". Billboard.com. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Saturday Night Live". fosterthepeople.com. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Houdini - Single by Foster the People". Apple Inc. iTunes UK. April 1, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://canadianrockalt.blogspot.ca/2012/07/alternative-rock-july-17-2012.html
  7. ^ "Chart Search Results - Japan Hot 100 Singles 2011-11-19". Billboard.biz. Archived from the original on August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Foster The People – Houdini" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  9. ^ "Foster the People Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Alternative Radio Adds (May 15, 2012)". Allaccess.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 

External links[edit]