Blue Jean

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This article is about the David Bowie song. For the trousers, see jeans. For the bird, see Blue-gray tanager. For the supercomputer architecture, see Blue Gene.
"Blue Jean"
Bowie Blue Jean.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Tonight
B-side Dancing with the Big Boys
Released September 1984
Recorded Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada, May 1984
Length 3:08
Label EMI AmericaEA181
Writer(s) David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"White Light/White Heat"
"Blue Jean"
7" Single Cover
7" Blue Vinyl Pressing
Music video
"Blue Jean" on YouTube
"Blue Jean" (alternate ver. for MTV) on YouTube

"Blue Jean" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie for his sixteenth studio album Tonight. One of only two tracks on the album to be written entirely by Bowie, it was released as a single ahead of the album and charted within the Top 10 in the UK and the United States, peaking at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. The song is loosely inspired by Eddie Cochran.[2]

Following the commercial success of Bowie's previous album, Let's Dance, its singles and the Serious Moonlight Tour, "Blue Jean" was launched with a 21-minute short film, Jazzin' for Blue Jean, directed by Julien Temple.[2] The song performance segment from this was also used as a more conventional music video. The film won the 1985 Grammy Award for "Best Video, Short form" (Later renamed "Best Music Video"), which proved to be the only competitive Grammy Award Bowie won during his career for over three decades. (In 2017, Bowie posthumously won four Grammies for Blackstar (album), including Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for the Blackstar title track.[3] Blackstar (album) also won Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for its designer Jonathan Barnbrook.)

"Blue Jean" would remain in Bowie's live repertoire for the rest of his career, being performed on tours in 1987, 1990 and 2004.


Interviewed in 1987 and asked to compare a track like "Time Will Crawl" to "Blue Jean," Bowie said "'Blue Jean' is a piece of sexist rock 'n roll. [laughs] It's about picking up birds. It's not very cerebral, that piece."[4] BBC reviewer Chris Jones criticised the song in his appraisal of Best of Bowie in 2002, arguing "Blue Jean barely exists, so formulaic is it."[5]

Track listing[edit]

7": EMI America / EA 181 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Blue Jean" – 3:08
  2. "Dancing with the Big Boys" – 3:32
  • Some versions of the 7" single were released on blue vinyl

12": EMI America / 12EA 181 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Blue Jean" (Extended Dance Mix) – 5:15
  2. "Dancing with the Big Boys" (Extended Dance Mix) – 7:28
  3. "Dancing with the Big Boys" (Extended Dub Mix) – 7:15


Production team

Other releases[edit]

The cover of the VHS single release of "Jazzin' for Blue Jean".
The VHS single cover

Video versions[edit]

There are 3 versions of the video:

  1. The full 21-minute version entitled Jazzin' for Blue Jean
  2. The 3-minute version of the performance of the title track, edited from the full Jazzin' for Blue Jean video. The video is available to download for the Xbox 360 karaoke game Lips.
  3. An alternate version recorded for MTV in England that has no relation to the other videos. This alternate version was not popularly available until the DVD release of Best of Bowie in 2002.

Cover versions[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australian Kent Report Singles Chart[6] 12
Austrian Singles Chart 16
Canadian Singles Chart[7] 6
French Singles Chart 22
German Singles Chart 21
Irish Singles Chart 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 7
Norwegian Singles Chart 3
Poland (LP3)[9] 9
Swedish Singles Chart 5
Swiss Singles Chart 14
UK Singles Chart 6
US Billboard Hot 100 8


  1. ^ Inskeep, Thomas (2005-07-12). "On Second Thought: David Bowie - Tonight". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Murray, Charles Shaar (25 October 1984), "Let's Talk, A Conversation with David Bowie", Rolling Stone magazine (433): 14, 18, 74 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "David Bowie - The Interview" 1987, EMI America (Album) Track 24
  5. ^ Jones, Chris. "David Bowie Best Of Review". BBC. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  7. ^ Library and Archives Canada: Top Singles, 27 October 1984, retrieved 12 February 2016 
  8. ^ " – David Bowie – Blue Jean". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  9. ^ "BLUE JEAN – David Bowie" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 

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

External links[edit]