Boys Keep Swinging

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"Boys Keep Swinging"
Bowie BoysKeepSwinging.jpg
One of UK vinyl releases
Single by David Bowie
from the album Lodger
B-side"Fantastic Voyage"
Released27 April 1979
RecordedMountain, Montreux, September 1978; Record Plant, New York City, March 1979
David Bowie singles chronology
"Breaking Glass"
"Boys Keep Swinging"
Music video
"Boys Keep Swinging" on YouTube

"Boys Keep Swinging" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was released as a single from the album Lodger on 27 April 1979.

Recording and release[edit]

During the Lodger recording sessions, Bowie had wanted to capture a garage band style for the track, and agreed with Brian Eno that the best way to achieve this sound was to get the band to swap instruments after this was 'suggested' by Eno's deck of 'Oblique Strategies' cards, which supplied the suggestion "Reverse Roles". Guitarist Carlos Alomar played drums and drummer Dennis Davis played bass.

RCA decided against releasing the single in the US, choosing "Look Back in Anger" instead.

The song reached No. 7 in the UK, returning Bowie to the Top 10 of the Singles chart for the first time since "Sound and Vision" in February 1977. It was performed only during one tour, the 1995 Outside Tour.[citation needed] Interviewed in 2000, Bowie said about the song – "I do not feel that there is anything remotely glorious about being either male or female. I was merely playing on the idea of the colonization of gender."[2]

Saturday Night Live performance[edit]

On 15 December 1979, Bowie was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and was joined by Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias as backing singers during the performance, which featured a puppet body special effect (with Bowie's head superimposed over the puppet's). During the broadcast, NBC censors muted the line "other boys check you out", but failed to notice the puppet's bouncing phallus at the close of the song, which was aired uncensored.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by David Bowie and Brian Eno.[3]

  1. "Boys Keep Swinging" – 3:17
  2. "Fantastic Voyage" – 2:55


  • David Bowie – lead vocals, guitar on "Boys Keep Swinging", piano on "Fantastic Voyage"; production
  • Adrian Belew – guitar on "Boys Keep Swinging", mandolin on "Fantastic Voyage"
  • Dennis Davis – bass guitar on "Boys Keep Swinging", percussion on "Fantastic Voyage",
  • Tony Visconti – bass guitar on "Boys Keep Swinging", mandolin on "Fantastic Voyage", backing vocals on "Fantastic Voyage"; production
  • Carlos Alomar – drums on "Boys Keep Swinging"
  • Brian Eno – piano on "Boys Keep Swinging", ambient drone on "Fantastic Voyage"
  • Simon House – violin on "Boys Keep Swinging", mandolin on "Fantastic Voyage"
  • Sean Mayes – piano on "Fantastic Voyage"

Other releases[edit]

Cover versions[edit]


Chart (1979–2016) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 18
Irish Singles Chart 19
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[5] 16
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[6] 51


  1. ^ Graham, Ben (11 January 2016). "30-Years On – David Bowie's Lodger Comes In From The Cold". The Quietus. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  2. ^ Abdulmajid, Iman (Fall 2000). "Watch That Man". Bust. pp. 32–33.
  3. ^ "Boys Keep Swinging" (Single liner notes). David Bowie. UK: RCA Victor. 1979. BOW 2/PB 1585.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. ^ "David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  5. ^ "David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  6. ^ "David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 12 September 2020.


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

External links[edit]