52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Week 30 – Cities in Dust by Siouxsie and the Banshees

…your city lies in dust, my friend…

It’s not everyday that you come across a catchy tune about the destruction by a volcano of the city of Pompei in 79 A.D.

Siouxsie and the Banshees were sort of relegated to the “strange band category” and therefore weren’t fully discovered in their day.  Here in this song, you get some excellent instrumentation with the distinctive, powerful voice of Siouxsie Sioux. 

There just aren’t any other bands that could set these lyrics to a catchy beat:

We found you hiding, we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands

This song covers the same territory as Shelly’s great poem Ozymandias (published in 1818) – namely the folly of man’s monuments to himself because all glory is fleeting.

Listen to the song.


-cj cheetham

P.S. Here’s Shelly’s poem:


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.[1]

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