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Cities in Dust

Album Cities front

Release Date:
18 October 1985 Polydor Records (UK), Geffen Records (US)
Vocals & Lyrics:
Electric bass, Keyboards, Piano, Drumbox & Emulator:
Drums, Percussion:
Album Tracks:
Cities in Dust Extended Eruption Mix (title track), An Execution (B-side), Quarterdrawing of the Dog (B-side)
7" single, 12" single
Steve Churchyard (title track only)

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


The song obliquely describes the city of Pompeii, destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 79AD. 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 Siouxsie & the Banshees in the previous several years. It also had more of a pop music melody than past releases from the band, although its cryptic lyrics were still dark, mentioning a shrine to Lares Familiares. Its upbeat 4/4 rhythm also made it a hit in danceclubs. "Cities in Dust" peaked at number twenty-one in the UK singles chart.[1] Although not Siouxsie & the Banshees' first song to hit the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, it was their first significant hit, climbing to number seventeen.

Official mixesEdit

  • Extended Eruption Mix - 6:48

Cover versionsEdit

"Cities in Dust" was covered by electronic artist Junkie XL with Lauren Rocket in 2008 as it was released as a single off the Booming Back at You album. The cover appears on soundtrack for the racing video game Burnout Paradise. "Cities in Dust" was also revisited by Brazilian band Pato Fu, for their album Daqui Pro Futuro in 2007 and the song was performed live by The Start in 2008.


Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart 21
US Hot Dance Club Play 17
Irish Singles Chart 21
Dutch Singles Chart 37


  1. Johns, Brian. Entranced : the Siouxsie and the Banshees story. Omnibus Press, 1989. Page 94. ISBN 0-7119-1773-b