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The song title is part of a mantra used to assist in bayonet practice - "How does the grass grow? Blood, blood, blood!" Producer Tony Visconti explained to Rolling Stone: "It's about the way that soldiers are trained to kill other soldiers, how they have to do it so heartlessly. 'How Does the Grass Grow' is part of a chant that they're taught as they plunge their bayonets into a dummy."
The references to girls wearing "nylon skirts and sandals from Hungary" and boys riding their Riga mopeds appears to place this song somewhere in the Eastern Bloc during the communist Soviet era.
Bowie revives one of his earliest musical loves when he samples the hook motif from The Shadows' "Apache
," sung as a "yah-yah-yah-yah."
Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos
Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.
The former Dead Kennedys frontman on the past, present and future of the band, what music makes us "pliant and stupid," and what he learned from Alice Cooper.
John Lee Hooker
Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed Bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write The Blues.