Too Dizzy

March 5, 2012

Too Dizzy.

Notorious for being a track so bad that it was publicly recalled (Bowie deleted it from all subsequent reissues of Never Let Me Down), “Too Dizzy” was a weak try-out exercise for Bowie’s brief songwriting partnership with Erdal Kizilcay.* Bowie seemed (rightfully) embarrassed by the song from the start, saying that it would’ve been better suited for Huey Lewis. Well, no: Lewis had much better material than this.

Still, when heard in the woeful context of Side 2 of Never Let Me Down, “Too Dizzy” doesn’t stand out for being particularly awful. It sounds more like a bungled salvage job, as though at some point in the recording, the idea of taking “Dizzy” seriously went out the window and everyone decided on camp as the best way out of the mess. Bowie tries to keep a straight face in the verses, with his laughable thug patter (“who’s this guy I’m gonna blow away?“), but by the time he’s squawking “you can’t have no LOV-AH” like a constipated Barry Gibb, the song’s descended into farce.

Its production is a series of messy distractions, apparently in the hopes of keeping the listener from focusing on how ill-conceived the song itself is (even its key changes seem forced and awkward: there’s a move from F-sharp in the verses to A major for the 8-bar pre-chorus, then a sudden collapse back to F# for the chorus itself). Bowie and David Richards larded “Too Dizzy” with a set of backing singers whose presence becomes hateful after a minute, while the guitar and saxophone solos are so uninspired that they seem to have been originally done to test microphone levels.

Recorded ca. September-November 1986 (possibly started during the “When the Wind Blows” sessions earlier in the year) at Mountain Studios, Montreux, and Power Station, NYC. Released only on the initial run of Never Let Me Down.

* Did Bowie include “Dizzy” to give Kizilcay a songwriting credit on Never Let Me Down, as a tip of the hat for services rendered? He’d essentially done that before for Iggy Pop and Geoff MacCormack. If so, it’s lame that Bowie subsequently binned the song.

Top: Paul W. Locke, “Boston Harbor,” 1987.