Dominion/Mother Russia

Album: Floodland (1987)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Sisters of Mercy lead singer Andrew Eldritch, this apocalyptic track was inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley's 1818 sonnet Ozymandias. Eldritch told MTV: "The song is about erecting monuments in outrageous places to one's own personal power and then crumbling away."

    The 7-minute album version was remixed and released as "Dominion" in the UK.
  • The "Mother Russia" segment was influenced by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, in which an explosion at the Ukrainian nuclear facility sent dangerous levels of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, endangering the [former] western USSR and Europe.

    Eldritch told The Melody Maker in 1987: "I made the mistake of getting caught in central Europe when Chernobyl started sprinkling it's residue over the land. It's sort of a carry on (and 'Carry On') from 'Black Planet' - part of my hate/hate relationship with America. I just had this idea of all them huddled in their mobile homes while Mother Russia rained down on them. They deserve it. I suppose the song is really about the prostitution of Europe by the Americans."
  • The music video depicts a tale of intrigue with Eldritch passing information to bass player Patricia Morrison. But what does it all mean? "It means absolutely nothing," director David Hogan laughed. "Just the impression of a story."

    It was Eldritch's idea to shoot the clip in Petra, Jordan – not the safest idea considering Iran and Iraq were warring on the Gaza Strip. Hogan told Songfacts in a 2015 interview: "We were told by the State Department that they never recommend Americans going over there at the time because it's a war and because of all the stuff going on in Israel. So we said, 'Okay, well, tough titty, we're going.'" Luckily, the location manager was friends with the king's brother. "So they hooked us up with the king, and they said, Well, if they're coming, we're going to supply them with bodyguards. So I had an armed bodyguard with me with a machine gun at his side the entire time following me everywhere, even into the bathroom."

    He added: "And the helicopter shot, we didn't have a helicopter budgeted, and I said, 'Man, it would be great to get a helicopter shot of this place.' And the location manager said, 'Well, I'll call the king's brother.' He called the king, and he sent a gigantic helicopter for us, just landed in the middle of Petra, and I thought oh, this is cool."
  • Steven Spielberg used the music video to scout the location for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

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