Album: This Is Big Audio Dynamite (1985)
Charted: 11
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Songfacts®:

  • Written by former Clash guitarist Mick Jones and filmmaker Don Letts, this song is a tribute to cinematographer and film director Nicolas Roeg. The lyrics refer to several of his films: Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now, Insignificance, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Eureka and Bad Timing. The samples of dialogue are taken from Performance (and not, as is sometimes believed, from the Michael Caine film Get Carter). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Halmyre - Dunfermline, Scotland
  • E=MC2 is Albert Einstein's formula that made nuclear power possible. It states that energy (E) is equivalent to mass (M) times the square of the speed of light (C). In other words, matter IS energy, and mass is the measure of an object's energy. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kent - Pittsfield, IL
  • The sampling from the 1970 gangster film Performance starring James Fox and Mick Jagger is considered to be the first time that a hit record incorporated modern sampling technologies. The words, "Eats bubblegum, Hall of fame baseball, Senator's a hoodlum, Big chiefs in the hall" refer to Nick Roeg's film Insignificance when 4 cultural icons from 1950s America meet up. "Eats bubblegum" = Marilyn Monroe, "Hall of fame baseball" = Joe DiMaggio, "Senator's a hoodlum" = Joseph McCarthy. The song's title E=MC2, is about the fourth significant personality in the film, Albert Einstein. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England
  • This was one of the first tunes that Don Letts wrote the lyrics for. He told Uncut magazine August 2009 the story of the song: "Mick's songwriting partner was Joe Strummer. I didn't want to let Mick - or Joe - down. It was very hard working in his shadow. I approached lyrics like film treatments, which is why they had that cinematic quality. Probably two-thirds of it's mine, with Mick's guidance. I wrote it after me and Mick went to see Nick Roeg's film Insignificance. I was so moved by the concept of it, and I'd loved Roeg since Walkabout. The song lists all his films in a cryptic way. I called it an homage to Roeg."

Comments: 6

  • Dan from CaliforniaThe Wikipedia page "E=MC2 (song)" covers some of the references to Roeg's films.
  • Squidfles from WiltsWhat are the horn samples of?
    Does anybody know?
  • AnonymousWhere were the band in the video filmed at, you know that place with the lights on the pillars?.
  • Melinda from AustraliaOmg why isn’t Big Audio Dynamite’s biggest hit here, the song Rush.
    It’s their best song.
    Whenever I hear Rush I go crazy. It’s so good.
    And we had so much fun to that song so many years ago.
  • David from Maplewood, NjAn all time great tune that I finally understand. And for "modern sampling technologies," I guess that rules out "I Am the walrus," which is 28 years older, but the excepts from King Lear were records live from the broadcast.
  • Obed from Philadelphia, Pathe best song ever in the whole wide world
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