Be My Wife

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For the 1919 film starring Harold Lloyd, see Be My Wife (1919 film). For the 1921 film starring Max Linder, see Be My Wife (1921 film).
"Be My Wife"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Low
B-side Speed of Life
Released June 1977
Format 7" single
Recorded Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France; September 1976
Genre Art rock, punk rock
Length 2:55
Label RCA
PB 1017
Writer(s) David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Sound and Vision"
"Be My Wife"
Spanish cover
Low track listing
"Always Crashing in the Same Car"
"Be My Wife"
"A New Career in a New Town"

"Be My Wife" is a song and single by David Bowie.

"Be My Wife" toned down the electronic feel of the rest of the album Low. It also featured a more conventional set of lyrics, being closer to a traditional rock song than the more fragmented lyrics elsewhere on the album.

Several analysts of Bowie's career have seen the song as a last-ditch plea to Angela Bowie in the vain hope of saving his marriage. Tension had arisen between the couple, and disagreements had risen over the location of a new residence in Europe. Angela had shown herself to be heavily affected by his music; he had proposed to her by playing "The Prettiest Star" to her over the telephone. In the end David would not agree to move back to Switzerland from Berlin, and the relationship finally ended in divorce in 1980.

The song features a ragtime piano opening, which serves the somewhat retro lyrics some justice, although it is soon set against a backdrop of guitars and drums. The song repeats its lyrics, changing the spacing of the lyrics amongst the song's verse. The song closes simply with a fadeout, as the song returns to the introductory ragtime riff repeating indefinitely, with the rest of the band playing behind it.

"Be My Wife" was the second single from Low after "Sound and Vision", but it became the first new Bowie release since "Changes" to fail to break into the UK chart.

"Be My Wife" was frequently played live on the various tours after its release and Bowie repeatedly announced this song during live performances as "one of my favourites".

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Be My Wife" (Bowie) – 2:55
  2. "Speed of Life" (Bowie) – 2:45

Production credits[edit]

Music video[edit]

"Be My Wife" would receive Bowie's first official video since "Life on Mars?". The video was in fact rather similar: Bowie stands alone against a white backdrop singing the song alone. However, Stanley Dorfman's new clip featured a Bowie in make-up and clothing influenced by Buster Keaton and giving an irreverent, detached performance on a guitar, gelling with the candid feeling generated by the song.

Live versions[edit]

  • A live version was recorded during the 1978 tour for the Stage album, but was not released until 2005 on the remastered re-release of Stage.
  • A live version from Earls Court, London on 1 July 1978 (1978-07-01), was released on the semi-legal album RarestOneBowie in 1994.
  • A live performance filmed in Dublin in November 2003 can be viewed on the David Bowie: A Reality Tour DVD and is included on the corresponding album, A Reality Tour.

Other releases[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Blame - Ashes to Ashes: A Tribute to David Bowie (1998)
  • Exedra - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)
  • Milk of Korova - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)


  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links[edit]