Song Details More songs by Starship
We Built This City
Starship
Starship 1985 We Built This City 45
Marconi plays the mamba
listen to the radio
Don't you remember?
We built this city
we built this city on rock 'n' roll
- lyrics by Bernie Taupin -
1985
1
Year
Peak Chart Position
  • No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1985 for two weeks
  • RIAA certified Gold record
  • peaked at No. 12 on the UK Singles chart in 1985
  • the first single released from the Starship album, Knee Deep in the Hoopla (1985)
  • lead vocals: Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick
  • Starship:
         Grace Slick  - vocals
         Mickey Thomas - vocals
         Craig Chaquico - guitars
         Pete Sears  - bass, synth bass
         Donny Baldwin - drums, electronic drums, vocals
  • "We Built This City" has appeared on numerous lists declaring it the worst song of all time
  • the DJ voice is former San Francisco DJ Les Garland
  • written by Bernie Taupin (lyrics), Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, Peter Wolf
  • the song was penned in its early stages by singer/songwriter/bassist Martin Page and Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin to develop the initial demo (these same writing sessions produced “These Dreams,” which would become a No. 1 hit for Heart in 1986)
  • Bernie Taupin: "The original song was a very dark kind of mid-tempo song, and it didn’t have all this “We built this city!” It had none of that.”  “It was a very dark song about how club life in L.A. was being killed off and live acts had no place to go. It was a very specific thing. A guy called Peter Wolf – not J. Geils [Band] Peter Wolf, but a big-time pop guy and German record producer – got ahold of the demo and totally changed it. He jerry-rigged it into the pop hit it was. If you heard the original demo, you wouldn’t even recognize the song.”
  •  Martin Page: “The demo was very different from the way Starship actually recorded the record. My demo is much darker, more of a ‘Shock the Monkey’ Peter Gabriel vibe. I’d even recorded from the radio a police report of a riot going down in L.A., which they turned into a DJ. I saw the words as almost like a rebellion lyric: it was like live music has been taken away from the city. So my demo, it was a little more edgy. And I’m very pleased with what Starship did with it, because they made it a universally appealing song.”
  • produced by Peter Wolf, Jeremy Smith
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