Cold Life

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"I’m Falling / Cold Life"
Cold Life Ministry.jpg
Cover for the 1985 Wax Trax! release
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, post-punk, funk rock
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.


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]

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]

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]


“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]

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 [18] and was later labelled the Wax Trax!' first hit. [9]

"Cold Life" was featured on the band's 1987 compilation Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984) , with "I'm Falling" appearing on the compilation's 2014 re-release.

Track listings

Original release (1981)
1."I'm Falling"3:59
3."Cold Life"6:11
British release (1982)
1."Cold Life" (7" substituted a shortened edit)6:11
2."I'm Falling"4:04
3."Cold Life Dub" (only available on 12")6:53
American re-release (1985)
1."Cold Life"6:11
2."I'm Falling"3:59
4."Cold Life Dub"6:18

Chart positions

Chart (1982)Peak
US Dance [20] 45


Credits adapted from liner notes of the single, as well as these of Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984) . [21] [22]

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. [21]


  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. pp.  250. ISBN   031216968X via Internet Archive.
  16. Fontenoy, Richard (1999). "Ministry". In Buckley, Jonathan; Duane, Orla; Ellingham, Mark; Spicer, Al (eds.). 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. 1 2 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. "Ministry - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". AllMusic . Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  21. 1 2
    • “I’m Falling / Cold Life / Primental” (vinyl disc). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1981. 110072X.CS1 maint: others (link)
    • “I’m Falling / Cold Life / Primental” (vinyl disc; reissue). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1982. 110072X.CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. Twelve Inch Singles (1981–1984) (Media notes). Ministry. Chicago, IL: Wax Trax! Records. 1987. WAXCD 035.CS1 maint: others (link)