Loving the Alien

Loving the Alien.
Loving the Alien (single edit, video).
Loving the Alien (live, 1987).
Loving the Alien (remix, “The Scumfrog vs. Bowie,” 2002).
Loving the Alien (live, 2003).
Loving the Alien (live, Tibet House Benefit, 2003).

“Loving the Alien” is a deliberate “Bowie masterpiece” that aims for the heights of “Station to Station” and “Heroes” and misses. “Alien” obviously meant a great deal to its composer, as he worked to hone the song throughout the Tonight sessions, he led off the record with it, he spent a chunk of his most substantive interview in 1984 trying to make sense of it and he later refitted the song with a simpler arrangement that better suited it. But in all of its incarnations “Alien” seems ultimately a failed promise: it yearns to be more substantial than it is.

On the album, the sheen of the track’s production and its somnolent tempo smothered the song, but “Alien” also had some fundamental flaws that its later, tasteful arrangements couldn’t disguise, either. As a song it doesn’t quite hold together: it feels padded and its joins are shaky, while its frustrating lyric ranges from banality to brilliance in the course of a line.

“Alien” began as a full-band demo that Bowie cut in Switzerland before the Tonight sessions. Known as “Demo No. 1,” cutting a releasable version of it became a focal point of the Tonight sessions. Bowie realized that “Alien,” obviously one of the better-quality pieces on the album, would have to serve double duty—not only the Epic Bowie Song of the record (“Ricochet” had this role last time around), it also had to be a potential single. So the version of “Alien” that wound up on Tonight is, in its somber way, compromised. It can seem like a down-tempo remake of “Let’s Dance” in places—Carmine Rojas’ near-identical descending bass hook is there, and the guitar solo that closes out the track sounds like an outtake from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s work.

Bowie wrote the song out of anger, he said. He had worn a crucifix since his chaotic days in Los Angeles and had come to believe the cross held some beneficial power over him—not as a religious symbol (Bowie wasn’t a Christian except in the nominal sense) but as a good-luck charm, a tangible piece of white magic. Musing on this, he began to piece together a vague theory on religion: that much of it, from Judaism to Islam, had been built on a consecutive series of mistranslations.

“Loving the Alien” is Bowie’s last Los Angeles song, as he later admitted. Its lyric is a pulp of a variety of crackpot religious “hidden history” books popular in the Seventies and Eighties—Hugh Schonfield’s The Passover Plot, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail and, most of all, Donovan Joyce’s The Jesus Scroll, which Bowie mentioned in his interview with Shaar Murray. The common thread of these books (from which Dan Brown cherry-picked conspiracies for his Da Vinci Code) is that the official Christian Gospel is a lie, with Jesus Christ having not died on the cross but having fake-engineered his own death for political reasons (Schonfield) or having lived in obscurity until 80, dying a forgotten mortal (Joyce), his descendents still around today (Baigent –> Brown).

One of Bowie’s consistent themes, from the start of his mature work, was the allure and abuses of power. So he took from this jumble of religious hearsay the idea of a Church holding dominion over the dreams and desires of countless generations of human beings, despite its teachings being at heart false, or based on botched translations. For Bowie, the Church is the ultimate Saviour Machine, having the same contempt for the people that it’s allegedly serving (remember that Bowie’s super-computer in that song was called “The Prayer”).

The existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences would have a profound impact on religion, shattering completely the traditional perspective on God’s relationship with man. The difficulties are particularly acute for Christianity, which postulates that Jesus Christ was God incarnate whose mission was to provide salvation for man on Earth. The prospect of a host of “alien Christs” systematically visiting every planet in the physical form of the local creatures has a rather absurd aspect. Yet otherwise how are the aliens to be saved?

Paul Davies, God and the New Physics.

“Loving the Alien” “had to do with Major Tom,” Carlos Alomar once told David Buckley. This was an error—the lyric has nothing in it to suggest a follow-up to “Space Oddity,” and there’s no evidence that Bowie had intended “Alien” to fall in the sequence after “Ashes to Ashes.” But Alomar hit home indirectly, as “Alien” does seem like an apocryphal sequel to “Space Oddity,” in which a transformed man (a Major Tom come home) is misinterpreted as a savior, Bowie drawing on various cod-mythic histories in which Jesus Christ was said to literally be an alien being worshiped by an ignorant population—a Starman waiting in the sky.

Bowie sets his lyric in the Holy Land, with Crusaders and Saracens, and their counterparts in Israel/Palestine a millennium later, battling to hold a place that may not have been holy at all (in the Murray interview, Bowie also said he was reading a “historian” who claimed that Ancient Israel was actually in today’s Saudi Arabia—I couldn’t determine who he was talking about). If the verses are a jumbled historical narrative, actors caught up in an endless cycle, time folding into itself, the chorus offers escape: salvation by collective delusion. But if you pray, all your sins are hooked upon the sky, Bowie sings, in his best line of the song. Pray away your enemies, pray away your sins, by loving something you don’t understand, even something false, he sings. Then again, prayers sometimes work. Bowie didn’t get rid of his crucifix, after all.

Bowie had always had a soft spot for conspiracies and wild, speculative cod-histories, with “Quicksand” and “Station to Station” being compendiums of the strands of thought that the books had generated in his mind. But the strength, the uncanny power, of those earlier songs is their interiority—they are more dream journals and stream-of-consciousness fictions than they are any valid speculations on life. They are, in their gnomic ways, true, because everything is true in the mind.

Where “Alien” goes astray is its attempt to impose this sort of dream-speculative scheme upon a real, bloody political situation, especially in its weak second verse—the Middle East of 1984, with the Lebanese Civil War raging and the First Intifada only a few years away. Doing so brings Bowie’s muddled thoughts out into the sharp air, where they expire—his speculations seem trite, his viewpoint that a privileged, rich man idly wondering why people act the way they do, with the abstracted air of someone watching the convulsions of an anthill. The sympathies he has in the chorus, the way Bowie joins with the desire for prayer and release, removes some of this coldness, but there’s still a slight condescension in it.

It’s a fortunate thing in music that so much of the subconscious comes through with the melody and the placement of a particular word on a particular note. For better or for worse, the information is inherent in the song, not in the writer or his intentions or even in the lyrics. It’s probably my strongest point that I write evocatively in terms of musical and verbal expression.

Bowie, Rolling Stone interview, 1984.

“Loving the Alien” was intended as an epic, so it opens with an extended 20-bar intro sequence broken into three stages—an assembling of players, then a brief vocal hook of repeating “ah ah ah”s—inspired by Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach via Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman,” a song Bowie covered on stage a decade later.* Then Guy St. Onge plays the opening riff on marimba (a bit suggestive of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way,” from two years before), and the song coalesces with Alomar’s arpeggios set against Rojas’ bassline.

After two albums of fairly basic chord progressions, here Bowie offers a murky one worthy of Space Oddity. “Alien” has an indeterminate key. While the sheet music sets it in G major, its tonality is much vaguer—the verse fits in with G major (Bm/D/Cmaj7/D6, which is III-V-IVmaj7-V6 in G), but the chorus ranges far outside that key, with the arrival of a B-flat, a C minor and an F minor 7th, all of which suggest a move to C minor. The change fits Bowie’s lyrical shift from “earth” in the verses to “heaven” in the choruses.

Bowie’s vocal is also crafted well, with his verse lines often starting with hopeful slight ascents and then descending whenever he hits a piece of reality, a Saracen or a telegram. Or take the way he slightly lowers the high note with each repetition of “pray” or “prayer” in the chorus, as if dialing down expectations—the initial “if you PRAY” has Bowie hitting a high G (the dominant note in the C minor chord the band is playing), the subsequent “PRAY and the heathen” falls to a natural F, and “PRAYERS they hide” falls to an E. And he sings his lines well and passionately, ripping his voice on “SKY.”

But there’s a real strain in “Alien’s” construction at times: take the brutal way the pre-chorus is dragged to the chorus, with three bars of upward jolts in quintuplets. Or how the extended coda sequence, which drags on for two minutes, goes nowhere at all, just recycling the intro sequence and eventually throwing in an uninspired guitar solo.

Of course, there’s much to admire in “Alien”: it’s cryptic in the best Bowie way, and it sounds good, with Arif Mardin’s strings tasteful by the standards of Tonight, and the vocal chorus, usually a catastrophic force on the record, is put to fine use here, with the choir-sounding backing vocals. But there’s something off about “Alien”: there’s a sense of misfiring, of the song pushing for a grandiosity it doesn’t quite earn. It’s a magician not quite pulling off an old trick, though believing that the cards are still speaking to him.

Recorded May 1984, Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec. Released as a single in May 1985 (EA 195, #19 UK)—its video, with its mix of surreal imagery (the backing band out of de Chirico paintings) and Eighties cheese (Bowie’s outfit and ur-Rick Astley dancing) sums up the song’s muddled impact. Performed during the Glass Spider tour and, in a somber reincarnation, in some of the Reality Tour shows.

* While Bowie took pains to dismiss “O Superman”‘s influence on “Alien,” saying that Glass was the only inspiration, this seems a bit too Anxiety of Influence, as “Superman” has obvious lyrical affinities with “Alien” and plays with the same themes of faith and power. Anderson’s opening lyrics (“O Superman, O Judge, O Mom and Dad”) are her play on Le Cid’s aria “O Souverain, O Juge, O Pere.” “In the opera, these words are uttered as a prayer of resignation, the hero putting his fate in God’s hands. In the Anderson song, the three O’s change meaning. First, she prays to Superman (Truth! Justice! The American Way!) but by the end she longs for Mom and Dad.” (Isaac Butler, “Here Come the Planes.”).

Top: Sibylle Bergemann, “Ohne Titel (Gummlin, Usedom),” 1984; from the series Das Denkmal (A Monument), 1975–86. (Reportedly statues of Marx and Engels, East Germany).

32 Responses to Loving the Alien

  1. MC says:

    Great piece; extremely accurate about the song’s successes and failures. Interesting point about the song as a last remnant of the LA black-magick period. It’s occurred to me in light of Alomar’s comment that Bowie’s falsetto in the verses links it to Ashes To Ashes, though here without nearly the same impact; it underlines how Bowie’s vocals froze into mannerism in this period. By the same token, where the Ashes To Ashes clip surely stands as one of the greatest rock videos ever, the clip for Loving The Alien is another bizarre travesty, its mad-surreal imagery consistently undercut by Bowie’s mugging, shots held too long, etc – a parody where you’re not sure what’s being parodied (And by the director of Ashes, David Mallet!)

    • giospurs says:

      Yeah, I was just about to say you can hear a snippet of the vocal melody from Ashes to Ashes. I haven’t studied the lyrics but it sounds like the song must have been inspired in some part by Man Who Fell To Earth too.

  2. Maj says:

    I haven’t truly discovered this song until the Reality tour version. I actually don’t think the original production of the song is that horrible…but only until listening to the stripped back version I started to pay attention to what the song might be a about…with all the confusion that comes with it.
    I still think it’s one of Bowie’s best. There are some good points in the write-up (a good one as usual 😉 ) about the song’s shortcomings but I’d still put it in my top 30 of Bowie songs, not that I have any.
    Oh yeah, the video is…unfortunate.

  3. Pinstripe Hourglass says:

    Oh, my God… I knew his dancing in this video reminded me of something. Rick Astley is exactly right… I will never be able to look at this video the same way again, hahaha.

  4. Diamond Duke says:

    While I can’t honestly say that Loving The Alien is one of my all-time favorite David Bowie songs (certainly not up there with Time, Look Back In Anger, Teenage Wildlife, Word On A Wing, Quicksand, Lady Grinning Soul, Lady Stardust, Silly Boy Blue, One Shot, All The Madmen, Telling Lies, Strangers When We Meet, Fascination, Zeroes, Holy Holy, Sons Of The Silent Age, Some Are, Buddha Of Suburbia and Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me …to give just a completely random smattering of my fave Bowie “deep cuts”! Wow… that list definitely went on for quite a bit, didn’t it? I wasn’t quite know where to stop! Ha, ha, ha…)

    Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yeah! About Loving The Alien, remember? Forgive my distraction… 😉 I do think that the song is definitely a highlight of his quite-often patchy ’80s output. A number of interesting points are definitely made here, in that the song does seem like its striving for some kind of epic effect it doesn’t quite pull off, and Bowie’s reach does kind of exceed his grasp here. Your observation of Bowie’s perspective seeming like that of “a rich, priviliged man idly wondering why people act the way they do” is also noted, but I can’t help but wonder whether or not this isn’t just simply Bowie being Bowie. The man’s whole persona seems to be one that’s at a bit of a slight remove from the rest of the human race by and large, quite apart from any issue of wealth or privilege. (And let’s face it, that’s also a major part of the man’s appeal to his many fans and admirers such as myself, who are often completely uncomprehending of exactly why the human race is the way it is and behaves the way it does, even though we are most certainly a part of it. See also the legions of fans of Star Trek, of which I also belong…)

    Anyway, I feel like the stripped-down live version of Loving The Alien from 2003 is definitely superior to the Tonight original, and far more emotionally affecting for its uncluttered simplicity. (I would also add that I also rather prefer the remixed single edit to the Tonight original, since it cuts quite a bit of the fat, especially that extended coda which – yeah, I agree – does drag on for way too long!)

    • Diamond Duke says:

      Oh! I almost forgot something. I would also like to draw attention to the wedding scenes from the song’s video, in which the dress of David’s Muslim bride (prophetic, no?) is decorated with paper money (which she ends up angrily tearing off). For the record, this is the third of Bowie’s ’80s videos – after Let’s Dance and China Girl – in which he casts himself in the role of a rich, white imperialist heel! Let it never be said that the man isn’t fully aware of his place and position in the overall scheme of things… 😉

  5. Portsmouth Bubblejet says:

    Just to confirm that Sibylle Bergemann’s picture at the top of the page indeed depicts statues of Marx and Engels. They were carved by the East German sculptor Ludwig Engelhardt in his studio on the island of Usedom between 1975 and 1986 before being transported to the Marx-Engels-Forum, a public park in East Berlin. Here’s a picture of the finished work in its new location:

    Bergemann took a series of pictures to chronicle the eleven years of the work’s completion. You can see her other pictures in the series here:


  6. ian says:

    It’s really that pre-chorus to chorus transition that keeps this song out of the ‘greats’ for me. It’s just so forced, so cheesy, so unnecessary. It’s so completely out of place that it ends up sounding lazy— especially since the rest of the track is obviously ten times more thought out than anything else on Tonight.

    • Remco says:

      It’s probably my growing up with Queen that makes me more tolerant for silly pompousness but I quite like the pre-chorus. Yes, it goes for the grandiose without there being any real reason for it but, for me at least, it works. I think the epicness of the chorus wouldn’t quite work without it.

      Also, I agree that the single edit is definitely the better version, but then I feel that way about every single he made during this period.

  7. jopasso says:

    The entrance running down the stairs when the videoclip begins, is the most bowieless Bowie thing I’ve ever seen, I think.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Most Bowieless thing! That’s great. and pretty accurate. Although I don’t mind the alien clip so much – it looks good but it is ultimately empty, like fast food, which is ironic considering the weighty subject the song is addressing. The song – never really liked it much at all. Just seems lacking – like people have noted. Seems forced in parts, in particular his singing which can be really grating. The revamped modern version is way better.

  9. Brendan O'Lear says:

    At last a song I recognise!
    It reminds me a little of Teenage Wildlife in that it’s an attempted epic that doesn’t quite come off.
    As for the link into the chorus, it’s not far off the one in Man Who Sold the World, which works much better.
    It’s a song that can at least bear comparison with his seventies catalogue – it wouldn’t come off too well in such a comparison though.

  10. algeriatouchshriek says:

    My all time favourite Bowie single. I remember buying the gatefold single, the gatefold 12″ and the picutre disc and the 12″ picture disc! I was obsessed with it. Still played weekly in my house.

    The 7″ is vastly superior to the album version or the stripped back ‘Reality’ version. Love the ‘Red Dwarf’ lead in to the chorus, love the chorus, love the video. And the nosebleed.

    I remember being really miffed that it stiffed at 19 in the charts.

    There’s a smattering or revisionism about this tune, but I guess we all see things differently in hindsight. I still LOVE the song and associate it strongly with being 15 and becoming aware of sex, sexuality, and just teenage stuff. Potent mix. No wonder I won’t let it go.

  11. diamond dog says:

    By far the best song on the album but I always thought it would have been better closing the album I think it woulkd not have seemed so long. The lyric is what let’s it down it almost has something to say but then fudges it and becomes a muddle. I think its the only track on this album which is sort of timeless. It is a pompous grand piece and is the one track stopping Bowie fans from ditching the album totally as it is so good. The promo vid is ok I like the moment the fire starts as he is sat doing a britannia and he jumps !! It also has him mugging and being silly as was his way mid 80’s the organ part is fun but miss placed.
    Another thought provoking piece col well done. But I’ve much love for alien.

    • Dale N. says:

      “By far the best song on the album but I always thought it would have been better closing the album I think it woulkd not have seemed so long.”

      Thank you. Always felt it should have closed the album.

  12. vangogh says:

    hmm, I’m not sure Alien fails because of… “its attempt to impose this sort of dream-speculative scheme upon a real, bloody political situation”

    I think this review suffers the prejudice that I saw foisted on Bowie’s output in the press a lot during the 80’s-that as part of rocks millionaire aristocracy, he was no longer qualified to make polemic statements. Who was more qualified-Billy Bragg?

    I’d argue that he was wealthy back in ’76-though obviously not of Lets Dance proportions-and had Alien appeared on that album, it would be as beloved as Word on a Wing.

    It certainly is over egged with 80’s production, but it’s not an epic failure lyrically by any means, and I remember thinking at the time of it’s release when the most dreadful things like ‘Wake me up before you go-go” and “Ooh to be Ahh” were popular in the charts, that it was a real diamond in the sh*t.

    • col1234 says:

      I don’t think DB is disqualified by reasons of his wealth for making polemic statements, by any means. And in a couple of entries, we’ll reach a fairly blunt political lyric of his that I think works well.

      In the case of “Alien,” I just think it is not a good or particularly insightful polemic statement. but tastes vary, hey? I was expecting pushback on this one—I really wanted to like this song more than I did.

  13. Frankie says:

    Great structural analysis that makes a lot of sense. What makes a tune weak is often its structure, not so much the chords or even the lyrics. Too many bars before a chorus weaken a song’s momentum, for example, or a repetitive mid section you’ve already heard in the intro makes the song stale and redundant no matter how pretty or impressive the words and melody. But if you study the actual structure of those old Beatles songs, what often impresses me is how concise and effective the songs were in terms of structural economy. There was no room for the superfluous (Well… I could do without Maxwell’s Silver Hammer for good) The Beatles packed a song under 3 minutes with musical-lyrical interest, no matter how meaningless, profound or trite the content, or repeated listening. But if Bowie applied that Beatles technique to Tonight, the entire album might have been shorter than side one of Low, with George Martin nowhere in sight, and the album distilled into only one song: The Secret Life of Arabia, which is as close as Loving the Alien gets.

    • Diamond Duke says:

      [*SIGH*] Bloody italics… 😦

      It’s funny you should compare Loving The Alien with The Secret Life Of Arabia. I’m working on a series of David Bowie mix discs – a kind of “Bowie cut-up hyper-cycle series,” if you will! – and one of them is going to have The Secret Life Of Arabia followed by the single remix of Loving The Alien! (And, in case anyone’s interested, the instrumental Brilliant Adventure will come before The Secret Life Of Arabia in the sequence, while Be My Wife will come after Loving The Alien. You see where I’m going with this… 😉 )

      I hope…I pray…that this post turns out O.K. (Wow, that rhymes…)

  14. Gnomemansland says:

    In the sixties we see Bowie slowly bringing all the elements and influences together to give us the brilliance that was Bowie in the 70s and then in the 80s it is like watching it all fall apart. It is almost too painful to watch. You just want to kick yourself – how can these songs be so bad? Maybe try another listen – ah now see it is not so bad really – but wait – no damn it they are dreadful.

  15. Roman says:

    The video is the reason why Loving the Alien charted respectfully and Tonight didn’t. I’m amazed EMI didn’t put a gun to Bowie’s head and force himself and Tina to shoot something for the latter.

    When they showed the Loving the ALien on TOTP’s, Bowie was so uncool at that moment in time that the DJ – some bearded guy – raised his eyes and dismissed it as a ‘incredibly silly video’.

  16. Pierre says:

    “Alien” seems ultimately a failed promise: it yearns to be more substantial than it is”
    I think it’s a materpiece on the wrong album/production. Imagined this song on Outside or Heathen.

    • Joel Anderson says:

      I totally agree. It’s a great song done in an unfortunate hyper 80’s style. It needs a good cover done!

  17. postpunkmonk says:

    Has anyone here heard the Icehouse cover of this on the “Berlin Tapes” album? It came out in 1995 and has been my go-to version of the song ever since. Iva Davies owns it now and managed to correct its many faults of production/performance years before it occurred to Bowie to do the same. I’ve not played my “Reality Tour” DVD since it came out, so I’ll have to revisit the rendition on there, but really. The Icehouse cover [primarily piano and vocals with string quartet] manages to paint the admittedly still flawed song it in its best possible light.

    • type40ttc says:

      The Icehouse version is indeed very very good–somewhat sublime. I also really like the minimalist reading from 2003 (especially Gerry Leonard’s use of live guitar looping.)

    • sakura_starfall says:

      It’s my favourite version of the song…Iva also does a pretty good cover of Heroes on the same album.

  18. RChappo says:

    It seems quite odd to me that the gatefold 7″ of this song was the first Bowie record I ever bought at the age of 12. It was also the last Bowie record I would buy for approximately 23 years. My real appreciation for Bowie only really blossomed in my mid thirties. What made me go out and buy this particular record? I cannot really remember. I was a Beatles fan and had an appreciation for melody so I think I was drawn to the soaring chorus (“Praaaaaaaaay….”) I also recall liking the “and you’ll believe you’re loving the alien” line towards the end. I was only vaguely aware of who David Bowie was really. I listen to it now and it seems similar in feel to the songs on the Arcadia album “So Red The Rose” which I also bought around this time (I would not have been aware of Bowie’s influence on the members of that band though). Maybe that’s why I liked it? I still like it, but in the context of his other work it doesn’t stand out to me. My father quite liked it also and I mentioned to him that I might want to get the album it came from; his reply was “I think he goes a bit over the top on his albums” (I don’t know what he based this knowledge on), so I didn’t buy it or put it on my Xmas/Birthday list. I just went out and got a vinyl copy of ‘Tonight” at the weekend (don’t worry I didn’t pay much for it) – I’m slowly working my way through the vinyl albums in order, trying to do it the old fashioned way and not just download everything instantly via iTunes. It’s been fun and your writing has enhanced the experience.

  19. One Man Wrecking Crew says:

    I think your interpretation of the song is a bit off, regardless of what Bowie says, he is not critiquing Christianity from the common perspective. The imagery chosen for the music video and even the lyrics seems to strike me as a more nationalist/fascist critique not so much about the genuineness of the religion, but that is causes of decay and weakness of the national consciousness that leads to loving the foreign over the native. The second verse could also be interpreted as a critique of zionism (terror in a best laid plan), though it is much more a tenuous interpretation. My final point would how blue bowie seems pleased with his middle eastern/south asian lover, while white bowie seems distressed/indifferent at the prospect of loving such a foreigner.

  20. Norman Ball says:

    Loving the Alien is breaking now with the ISIS mirror-blind. AF’s Reflektor and new album mirror covers fill out the archetype.

  21. ramonaAstone says:

    The reality tour version, more or less during the “height” of the Iraqi War, is simply devastatingly beautiful. Bowie has always, ALWAYS been anti-war, from “Bombers” to “How does the Grass Grow”. Bowie’s performance was so honest and incredible, the song is so much more of a mid-2000s song than an 80s song. It BELONGS to that time; when loving the alien was the last thing on most Americans minds.

  22. Brian says:

    Having listened to NLMD, I go back an album to Tonight. I have heard this song before and I still enjoy it, however I understand something about NLMD now. Since this song is a “ambitious failure” with a socially conscious message, were his attempts at those kind of songs on NLMD an attempt to correct his mistake with this song? If so, that makes NLMD more depressing. Not only does LTA remember to actually be a song, it’s message is both catchy and easy to understand. Can’t ask for anything better in a socially aware song for people to relisten and go “Oh, so that’s what he meant!”

  23. Keri says:

    I still can’t listen to his 80s stuff. The re-arrangement really saved the song. I think the best thing about Loving the Alien lies in its chord progression. Back in 1984 what made him want to arrange the song that way? I’ve always thought he could’ve done better than that because he’s Bowie. The arrangment totally “smothered” the song like you put it. The long intro…no, no comparison to Station to Station.

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