Boys Keep Swinging
|"Boys Keep Swinging"|
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Lodger|
|Released||27 April 1979|
|Recorded||Mountain Studios, Montreux, September 1978; Record Plant Studios, New York, March 1979|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
Recording and release
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.
"Boys Keep Swinging" has exactly the same chord sequence as the song "Fantastic Voyage" from the same album ("Fantastic Voyage" was also the B-side to the single of "Boys Keep Swinging"). RCA decided against releasing the single in the US, choosing "Look Back in Anger" instead. Bowie performed the track with a puppet body special effect on Saturday Night Live on 15 December 1979, joined by Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias as backing singers. During the broadcast NBC censors muted the lines "life's a pop o'the cherry" and "other boys check you out", but failed to notice the puppet's bouncing phallus at the close of the song.
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. Interviewed in 2000, Bowie said the following 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."
- "Boys Keep Swinging" (Bowie, Eno) – 3:17
- "Fantastic Voyage" (Bowie, Eno) – 2:55
- David Bowie: lead vocals, guitar on "Boys Keep Swinging", piano on "Fantastic Voyage"
- 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"
- 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"
- The song appeared on the following compilations:
- Chameleon (Australia/New Zealand 1979)
- The Best of Bowie (1980)
- Christiane F. soundtrack (1982)
- Sound + Vision (1989)
- Bowie: The Singles 1969-1993 (1993)
- The Singles Collection (1993)
- The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 (1998)
- Best of Bowie (2002)
- The Platinum Collection (2005/2006)
- Nothing Has Changed (2014)
- It was released as a picture disc in the Fashions Picture Disc Set.
- A Camp - Covers (EP) / Love Has Left the Room (2009)
- AFX - Ashes to Ashes: A Tribute to David Bowie (1998)
- The Associates - Released as a single in 1979 without copyright permission as a publicity stunt (it worked, the band landing a record deal soon afterwards). This version is included on Starman: Rare and Exclusive Versions of 18 Classic David Bowie Songs, CD premium from the March 2003 issue of Uncut magazine.
- The Dambuilders - Crash Course for the Ravers - A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie (1996)
- Mr Russia - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
- The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower - INRI (2006)
- Sarah Harding - St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (Original Soundtrack) (2009)
- Screamfeeder - Home Age (1999)
- Shihad - Single
- Susanna Hoffs - When You're a Boy (1991) and David Bowie Songbook
- Blur's 1997 track "M.O.R." heavily borrowed the rhythm and harmonic structure of the song, and after legal intervention, was credited to "Blur/Bowie/Eno".
- Duran Duran in We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie (2010).
- Hirsute Pursuit Tighten That Muscle Ring (2012). Vocals by Boyd Rice.
- Graham, Ben (January 11, 2016). "30-Years On: David Bowie's Lodger Comes In From The Cold". The Quietus. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- Abdulmajid, Iman (2000), "Watch That Man", Bust magazine: 32–33
- Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5