Cold Life

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"I’m Falling / Cold Life"
Cold Life Ministry.jpg
Single by Ministry
  • “I’m Falling” (1981, US)
  • “Cold Life” (1982, UK)
  • “Cold Life” (1981, US)
  • “I'm Falling” (1982, UK)
Released1981, 1985 (re-release)
Studio Hedden West Studios (Chicago, IL)
Genre Synth-pop, dance-punk
Songwriter(s) Al Jourgensen
Ministry singles chronology
"I’m Falling / Cold Life"
"Work for Love"

"I’m Falling" and "Cold Life" are songs by American rock band Ministry. Written by Al Jourgensen, these were first released in 1981 by Wax Trax! Records, as the band's debut single. Initially featuring "I'm Falling" as the A-side, the single found success via its B-side, "Cold Life", which was chosen as the A-side on release in the UK. In 1985, during Ministry's short-lived return on Wax Trax!, the single was reissued with "Cold Life" as the A-side.

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include Paul Barker, Martin Atkins, Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Nivek Ogre, Mike Scaccia, Rey Washam, Paul Raven, Tommy Victor, Roy Mayorga, John Bechdel, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos, Burton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

Al Jourgensen musician

Allen David Jourgensen is a Cuban-American singer-songwriter, musician and music producer. Closely related with scene surrounding the independent record label Wax Trax! Records, Jourgensen has an active musical career that spans four decades, and is best known as the frontman of the industrial rock band Ministry, which he founded in 1981 and of which he remains the only constant member. He was also primary musician of several Ministry-related projects, such as Revolting Cocks, Lard, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, and others. Aside from the aforementioned bands, he has produced and/or recorded with numerous other artists, including The Reverend Horton Heat, Prong, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, The Blackouts, Alan Vega, Iggy Pop, Adrian Sherwood, Jello Biafra and others. Jourgensen is regarded as being one of the most prominent figures of industrial music,</ref> influencing numerous other groups and musicians, both in alternative and industrial-associated acts.

Wax Trax! Records is an American independent record label based in Chicago. It began as a record shop in Denver, Colorado, opened by Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, who sold the store in 1978 and moved to Chicago. In November of that year, they opened a store under the same name in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. During the 1980s and 1990s, the accompanying record label became a presence on the new wave and punk rock scenes in the city. The label was purchased in 1992 by TVT Records and was discontinued in 2001. In 2014, it was re-established by Julia Nash, daughter of co-founder Jim Nash.


Background and composition

“I’m Falling” is a synthpop song [1] which bears influences from British post-punk acts such as The Sisters of Mercy and Killing Joke; [2] [3] in his 2013 autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels..., Al Jourgensen admits that “I’m Falling” was influenced heavily by music of Joy Division and The Cure. [4] [5] :70 Meanwhile, “Cold Life” bears influence of 1970’s funk and soul acts, [6] and was written about Jourgensen's experience living in a Chicago African-American neighborhood. [7] [1]

The Sisters of Mercy English rock band

The Sisters of Mercy are an English rock band, formed in 1980 in Leeds. After achieving early underground fame there, the band had their commercial breakthrough in the mid-1980s and sustained it until the early 1990s, when they stopped releasing new recorded output in protest against their record company WEA. Currently, the band are a touring outfit only.

Killing Joke English post-punk band

Killing Joke are an English rock band formed in October 1978 in Notting Hill, London, England. The original line-up included Jaz Coleman, Paul Ferguson (drums), Geordie Walker (guitar) and Youth (bass).

Joy Division English post-punk band

Joy Division were an English rock band formed in Salford in 1976. The band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris.

Initially, Jourgensen had recorded a demo tape of “I’m Falling” in his apartment, using a newly-bought ARP Omni synthesizer, a drum machine, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. [4] At one occasion, Jourgensen had presented a demo to Jim Nash, the co-founder and co-owner of the independent record label Wax Trax! Records. Impressed by demo once listening to it, Nash had offered Jourgensen to record a single, as well as to form a touring band. [8] [6] [9]

ARP Omni

The ARP Omni was a polyphonic analog synthesizer manufactured by ARP Instruments, Inc.

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.

After assembling the first line-up of the band subsequently known as Ministry, Jourgensen went to Hedden West studios with co-producer Jay O'Roarke and an English-born engineer Iain Burgess, while Nash had paid for the band to record. [8] [9] For the recording, beside the core line-up of Jourgensen, keyboardists John Davis and Robert Roberts and drummer Stephen George, also approached were backing vocalist Steve Brighton, bassist Lamont Welton, and a horn player Preston Klik (also of The Book of Holy Lies); Jourgensen assumed an English accent for his vocals on “Cold Life”, like he did on “I’m Falling”. [8] [10] [11] Nash and his Wax Trax! partner Danny Flesher liked both recorded songs, but requested Jourgensen to record one more track, an instrumental titled “Primental”, for the single; Jourgensen states that “Primental” resembles some of music written for performances held by his then-girlfriend, Shannon Rose Riley. [12]

Iain Burgess British record producer

Iain Burgess was an English record producer and audio engineer. He helped define the sound of the Chicago post-punk music scene in the 1980s and early 1990s, working with a number of key underground bands, including Big Black, Naked Raygun, The Effigies, Get Smart!, Ministry, Green, Bloodsport, Pegboy, Poster Children, and Bhopal Stiffs.

Stephen 'Stevo' George is a former drummer and one of the founding members of the American industrial rock band Ministry. George performed on the band's earliest recordings, including their early singles for the Wax Trax! record label, and their debut album, With Sympathy, released in 1983. He was the drummer for the short-lived pop band Colortone. Since then, George has become a successful producer and mixer, working with many pop artists who have sold gold and platinum records.


“I’m Falling / Cold Life” single was initially released in late 1981. [13] The first pressing featured a gray and peach packaging portraying Chicago’s Union Station, designed by Jim Nash and Brian Shanley; the later pressing featured the cover in a die-cut red and yellow motif, also designed by Nash and Shanley. [8] Some time after, in March 1982, a British label Situation Two released the single in Europe with “Cold Life” as the A-side, as well as its extended dub version on the B-side. [14] [15] [16] This release was packaged with a cover depicting four naked men, seemingly taking a sunbath. [17]

Chicago Union Station major railroad station which opened in 1925 in Chicago

Chicago Union Station is a major railroad station that opened in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, replacing an earlier station built in 1881. It is the only remaining intercity rail terminal in Chicago, and is the city's primary terminal for commuter trains. The station stands on the west side of the Chicago River between West Adams Street and West Jackson Boulevard, just outside the Chicago Loop. Including approach and storage tracks, it covers about nine and a half city blocks — mostly underground, buried beneath streets and skyscrapers. The station serves as Amtrak's flagship station in the Midwest, and is also the downtown terminus for six Metra commuter lines.

Situation Two

Situation Two was a British independent record label founded in 1981 by Peter Kent as an offshoot of the Beggars Banquet label. At the time, Beggars Banquet releases were often distributed by WEA; to appeal to the indie audience and to get releases into the UK Indie Chart, Situation Two, as well as its sister label 4AD, were created.

The single, mainly its B-side “Cold Life”, had achieved immediate success on both dancefloor and college radio in the US and the UK. [18] By September 1982, “I’m Falling / Cold Life” reached number 5 on the charts of New York-based magazine Rockpool and peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Disco chart with approximately 10,000 copies, [19] :54 [20] and was later labelled the Wax Trax!' first hit. [9]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Track listings

Original release (1981)
1."I'm Falling"3:59
3."Cold Life"6:11

Chart positions

Chart (1982)Peak
US Dance [21] 45


Credits adapted from liner notes of the single, as well as these of Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984) . [22] [23]

Release history

United States1981 Wax Trax! Records Vinyl record 110072X
United Kingdom1982 Situation Two SIT17
United States1985Wax Trax! RecordsWAX 003

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  1. The liner notes, given in the single's early pressing, lists Marty Sorenson and Paul Taylor as the band members, instead of Roberts—listed in the later pressing. [22]


  1. 1 2 Zaleski, Annie (May 10, 2018). "35 Year Ago: Ministry Release Disavowed Debut, 'With Sympathy'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media . Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  2. Jeffries, David. "Early Trax – Ministry". AllMusic . All Media Network . Retrieved March 4, 2018. ...while 'I'm Falling' is shocking because of its unapologetic swiping of Sisters of Mercy's detached delivery.
  3. Reed 2013, p. 236.
  4. 1 2 Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013 , p. 49: “I got a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a rhythm box at home, so I wrote the song ‘I’m Falling,’ which was kind of like the Cure or Joy Division, with these swells of noise and fake British vocals.”
  5. Masuo, Sandy (January–February 1996). "Ministry: It's Not Easy Being Mean". Option: Music Culture . No. 66. pp. 66–73. ISSN   0882-178X.
  6. 1 2 Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 49.
  7. Sweeting, Adam (July 10, 1982). "Ministry of Offence". Melody Maker . ISSN   0025-9012 . Retrieved February 5, 2018 via archive. See also Reed 2013, p. 236.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Baker, Cary (September 1982). "Ministry: Ordained by Dance". Illinois Entertainer. Vol. 2 no. 103. Retrieved February 3, 2018 via archive. See also Reed 2013, p. 236.
  9. 1 2 3 Rod Smith (March 27, 2014). "Wax Trax: An Introduction". Red Bull Music Academy Daily. Red Bull Music Academy . Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  10. Hansen, Julie (September 20, 1982). "Ministry: detached tension for funkaholics [Ministry, Ministry, Wax Trax]". Arts. The GW Hatchet . 79 (7). p. 12. Retrieved August 17, 2018 via the Internet Archive.
  11. Greene 1993 , p. 26; Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013 , p. 50.
  12. Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 50: “Jim and Danny loved the songs and wanted to release them as the third single on Wax Trax! But they wanted a third song, so I put together ‘Primental,’ which was this real cheeseball, dancey instrumental with a drum machine, handclaps, and moog keyboards that sounded like some of the atmospheric stuff I used to write for Shannon’s performance art.”
  13. Greene 1993, p. 26.
  14. Greene 1993 , p. 26; Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013 , p. 51.
  15. Gimarc, George (1997). Post Punk Diary, 1980-1982. New York: St.Martin's Griffin. p. 250. ISBN   031216968X via Internet Archive.
  16. Fontenoy, Richard (1999). "Ministry". In Buckley, Jonathan; Duane, Orla; Ellingham, Mark; Spicer, Al. Rock: The Rough Guide (2nd ed.). London, New York: Rough Guides. pp. 645–646. ISBN   1-85828-457-0 via Internet Archive.
  17. Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013, p. 51.
  18. Greene 1993 , p. 26; Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013 , p. 50; Reed 2013 , p. 236.
  19. McCormick, Moira (September 11, 1982). "Indie New Music Labes Proliferating In Chicago". Billboard Magazine . Vol. 94 no. 36. pp. 9, 54. Retrieved March 6, 2018. See also Reed 2013, p. 236.
  20. Greene 1993 , p. 26; Jourgensen & Wiederhorn 2013 , p. 50; Reed 2013 , p. 236.
  21. "Ministry - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". AllMusic . Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  22. 1 2
    • “I’m Falling / Cold Life / Primental” (vinyl disc). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1981. 110072X.
    • “I’m Falling / Cold Life / Primental” (vinyl disc; reissue). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1982. 110072X.
  23. Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984) (Media notes). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1987. WAXCD 035.


  • Greene, Jo-Ann (April 2, 1993). "Ministry". Goldmine . Vol. 19 no. 7 (331). pp. 26, 28, 32, 38, 40. ISSN   1055-2685 via archive.
  • Jourgensen, Al & Wiederhorn, Jon (July 9, 2013). Ministry: The Lost Gospels According To Al Jourgensen. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN   9780306822186 via Internet Archive.
  • Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780199832606 via Google Books.