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Suffragette City” is a single by David Bowie.

Recorded towards the end of the Ziggy Stardust sessions, “Suffragette City” is a trademark piece of early 1970s Bowie glam, with a piano riff heavily influenced by Little Richard, a lyrical reference to the film A Clockwork Orange (the word “droogie”) and the sing-along hook "Wham bam thank you ma'am!”, and an influence on the punk rock movement that came several years after the song's release. The song has become a fixture of Bowie’s live shows, and one of his best known album cuts.

In 1976, it was issued as a single to promote the ChangesOneBowie compilation in the UK, with the US single edit of “Stay” on the B-side. The single failed to chart.

Track listing

  1. “Suffragette City” (Bowie) – 3:25
  2. “Stay” (Bowie) – 3:21

Production credits

Appearances in popular culture

  • Before recording it himself, Bowie offered it to the band Mott the Hoople if they would forego their plan of breaking up. The group refused, but recorded Bowie's "All the Young Dudes" instead.
  • British indie band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine sampled the line "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!" in their song "Surfin' USM".
  • It is featured as one of the staple songs in the video game Rock Band and was also used in one of the trailers for the game.
  • Steve Marriott originally sang "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!" in The Small Faces' song "Wham Bam Thank You Mam" in the 60s and throughout his career
  • The song was the background for the closing credits on Ben Stiller's 2007 movie The Heartbreak Kid.
  • The song was in the background of Gilmore Girls episode "Say Goodnight, Gracie" when Jess reunites with his father.
  • The song plays during the closing credits of "New York Minute" starring the Olsen Twins.
  • The song is one of the featured theme songs in the video game, Driver: Parallel Lines.
  • The song was performed on Rock Star: INXS by Tara Slone.
  • The song was performed on Rock Star: Supernova by Storm Large with Dave Navarro on guitar.
  • In the Sandman graphic novel Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman, "Suffragette City" is the name of a strip club that is destroyed by the goddess Ishtar as a demonstration of the true power of sex and lust.
  • The song was used as background music in the trailer for the film The Long Kiss Goodnight.
  • In the popular U.S. version of the sitcom The Office Steve Carell (as Michael Scott) put a play on the lyrics "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am" by saying to his receptionist "Pam Pam thank you Pam."
  • In the video Fitlife, the song Sufragette City was used in Mike Aitken's part.
  • In the SmackDown video game series, there is a crowd sign stating "Wham Bam Alabama Slam!" for Hardcore Holly's finisher, the Alabama Slam.
  • On the September 16, 2009 episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert accuses David Bowie of "muscl[ing] in on [his] turf" by having a spider named after him, when Colbert did it first. In feigned outrage, Colbert says, "This is classic Bowie, folks: copying me when he runs out of ideas. That guy is clearly from [singing] Such-a-Jerk City . . . hoo haa!" Colbert then takes up the imagined gauntlet by revealing his own Ziggy Stardust-esque alter ego, Figgy Moonpowder.


  • Bowie's own style of saxophone playing couldn't produce the raunchy effect he wanted for the song, so an ARP synthesizer was used instead, imitating a saxophone sound.
  • Although there is a distinct break between the two songs, "Suffragette City" often receives airplay paired with "Ziggy Stardust", the song immediately preceding it on the album.
  • The full list of chords for Suffragette City is—not in this order—A, B, C, D, E, F and G—all major and all natural.
  • "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am" was a song by jazz artist Charles Mingus on his 61' LP "Oh Yeah"
  • The song has also been covered by the American rock band from Seattlemarker, Alice In Chains back in 1987 as a demo.

Other releases

Live versions

  • Bowie recorded the song for the BBC radio programme "Sounds of the 70s: John Peel", and this was broadcast May 23, 1972. In 2000 this recording was released on the Bowie at the Beeb album.
  • A live version recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 20 October 1972 was released on Santa Monica '72.
  • The version played at the famous concert at the Hammersmith Odeonmarker, London, July 3 1973 was released on Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture.
  • A recording from the 1974 tour was released on David Live. This version was also released in the Sound and Vision box set. Another live recording from the 1974 tour was released on the semi-legal A Portrait in Flesh.

Cover versions


  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

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