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Album: Scary Monsters and Super CreepsReleased: 1980
This is a song written by David Bowie for the 1980 album Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, featuring lead guitar played by King Crimson's Robert Fripp. The song is in two parts, opening and closing the album.
"It's No Game (Part 1)" features a shouted Japanese female lyric, interspersed with Bowie singing the translation. The female Japanese singer is Michi Hirota, who was at the time a member of Japan's Red Buddha Theatre, who were performing in London. Bowie desired a strident female vocalist: "I wanted to break down a particular type of sexist attitude about women. I thought the [idea of] the 'Japanese girl' typifies it, where everyone pictures them as a geisha girl, very sweet, demure and non-thinking, when in fact that's the absolute opposite of what women are like. They think an awful lot, with quite as much strength as any man. I wanted to caricature that attitude by having a very forceful Japanese voice on it. So I had [Hirota] come out with a very samurai kind of thing."
Back in 1974, Hirota was one of the Japanese geisha girls (the one on the right), on the cover of Sparks album, Kimono My House.
"It's No Game (Part 2)" repeats the same tune as Part 1 and most of its lyrics, with some alterations. It was deliberately 'softer' in tone and features Bowie only, singing in English.
Both parts reworked lyrics from "Tired of My Life," the first song that David Bowie ever wrote.