We Built This City – Starship | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 2 weeks); 1985

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

We Built This City was the group effort of an experienced team of writers, producers, and singers. The song began to take form when Bernie Taupin, renowned Elton John collaborator, met up with Martin Page, whose recording of Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop) with Q-Feel had been a hot club play track in 1982. Bernie quickly penned lyrics for City and Martin created the lyrics. Next Dennis Lambert – who’d scored hits with everyone from the Four Tops to Glen Campbell – and Peter Wolf, who also gave Starship No Way Out and Sara, added the chorus. They then reshaped the song from Martin’s original concept of City as a Q-Feel song, and added in San Franciscan radio deejay Les Garland in place of the police call on Page’s demo. The only member remaining from the Jefferson Airplane/Starship line-ups was Grace Slick, who can be heard alongside Starship’s 1985 lead singer, Mickey Thomas.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Peter Wolf
  • Jeremy Smith

Lyrics Written by:

  • Bernie Taupin
  • Martin Page
  • Dennis Lambert
  • Peter Wolf