Teenage Wildlife

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"Teenage Wildlife"
Song by David Bowie from the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
Released September 12, 1980
Recorded The Power Station, New York, February 1980; Good Earth Studios, London, April 1980
Genre Art rock, new wave, post-punk
Length 6:56
Label RCA Records
Writer David Bowie
Producer David Bowie, Tony Visconti
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) track listing
"Fashion"
(5)
"Teenage Wildlife"
(6)
"Scream Like a Baby"
(7)

"Teenage Wildlife" is a song written by David Bowie in 1980 for the album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). Running at almost seven minutes, the song was the longest track on Scary Monsters, and Bowie's longest composition since "Station to Station" four years prior in 1976.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The song's original title was "It Happens Everyday." Producer Tony Visconti said "Instead of singing 'Not another teenage wildlife' [Bowie] would sing 'It happens everyda-a-ay.'"[1]

Against a musical backdrop that owed much to his classic song "Heroes", including textural guitar work from both Robert Fripp and Chuck Hammer, Bowie appeared to take aim squarely at his post-punk artistic godchildren, particularly Gary Numan:[2]

A broken-nosed mogul are you

One of the new wave boys
Same old thing in brand new drag
Comes sweeping into view
As ugly as a teenage millionaire

Pretending it’s a whiz-kid world

In a 1980 interview, Bowie commented on Numan and his "whiz-kid world":

What Numan did he did excellently but in repetition, in the same information coming over again and again, once you've heard one piece.... It's that false idea of hi-tech society and all that which is... doesn't exist. I don't think we're anywhere near that sort of society. It's a enormous myth that's been perpetuated unfortunately, I guess, by readings of what I've done in that rock area at least, and in the consumer area television has an awful lot to answer for with its fabrication of the computer-world myth.[3]

Renowned Bowie fan, Boy George has said that his all-time favourite lyric was "As ugly as a teenage millionaire".[4]

In a recent article for the Mail On Sunday, Bowie revealed that his vocal performance on this song was an imitation of American girl group singer, Ronnie Spector.[citation needed]

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by Northern Irish rock band Ash for their compilation album A-Z Vol.2.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Currie, David, ed. (1985). David Bowie: The Starzone Interviews. London: Omnibus Press. 
  2. ^ Buckley, David (1999). Strange Fascination. London: Virgin. pp. 363–375. 
  3. ^ MacKinnon, Angus (September 1980). "The Future Isn't What it Used to Be". NME. 
  4. ^ Smash Hits flexi-disc, 1985 Boy George interview

External links[edit]