Death Valley '69

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"Death Valley '69"
Death Valley '69 1984 cover.jpg
Single by Sonic Youth featuring Lydia Lunch
from the album Bad Moon Rising
B-side"Brave Men Run (In My Family)"
ReleasedDecember 1984
Format7" vinyl
RecordedJuly 1984
GenreNoise rock, no wave
Songwriter(s)Robert Bertelli, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, , Lydia Lunch
Producer(s)Sonic Youth, Clint Ruin
Sonic Youth single singles chronology
"Death Valley '69"
Death Valley '69
Death Valley '69 1985 cover.jpg
EP by
Sonic Youth featuring Lydia Lunch
ReleasedJune 1985
GenreNoise rock, no wave
LabelBlast First, Homestead
Sonic Youth EP chronology
Kill Yr Idols
Death Valley '69
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauD[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[3]

"Death Valley '69" is a song by American alternative rock band Sonic Youth and featuring Lydia Lunch. The song was written and sung by Thurston Moore and fellow New York musician Lunch, and recorded by Martin Bisi in 1984. A demo version of the song was released in December 1984 on Iridescence Records. A re-recorded version was released in EP format with different artwork in June 1985; this version was featured on their second studio album, Bad Moon Rising.

Music video[edit]

The video for "Death Valley 69" was filmed in 1985 and was the first music video by Sonic Youth, directed by Judith Barry and Richard Kern;[4] the video features the majority of the band in various states of bloody dismemberment interlaced with live footage of the band. It also stars alternative model Lung Leg; the video is the only one to feature both recently departed drummer Bob Bert and new member Steve Shelley.

Critical reception[edit]

The song was ranked number 10 among the "Tracks of the Year" for 1985 by NME.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

The Flaming Lips' Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid includes a live cover of the song. Soundgarden included a sample of the song on the track Smokestack Lightning from the band's Ultramega OK album in 1988.[6]

Track listing[edit]

1984 version
  1. "Death Valley '69" – 5:32
  2. "Brave Men Run (In My Family)" – 3:48
1985 version
  1. "Death Valley '69"
  2. "I Dream I Dreamed"
  3. "Inhuman"
  4. "Brother James"
  5. "Satan Is Boring"


Sonic Youth
Additional personnel


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Death Valley '69 – Sonic Youth | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Sonic Youth". Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Sonic Youth: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Atkinson, Terry (1987-02-08). "Sound & Vision:'Death Valley '69' Is Hot". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Chick, Steve. "Psychic Confusion: The Sonic Youth Story"". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2019-05-19.