Boys Keep Swinging

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"Boys Keep Swinging"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Lodger
B-side Fantastic Voyage
Released 27 April 1979
Format 7" single
Recorded Mountain Studios, Montreux, September 1978; Record Plant Studios, New York, March 1979
Genre Rock
Length 3:17
Label RCA
David Bowie singles chronology
"Breaking Glass"
"Boys Keep Swinging"
Lodger track listing
"Look Back in Anger"
"Boys Keep Swinging"

"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 decided the best way to achieve this sound was to get the band to swap instruments. 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"[citation needed] from the same album ("Fantastic Voyage" was also the B-side to the single of "Boys Keep Swinging"). Bowie's deep voice satirised machismo, while the lyrics juxtaposed depictions of male privilege and homoeroticism ("When you're a boy, other boys check you out"). When this was combined with David Mallet's video, which featured a suited Bowie backed by three "female" vocalists who were revealed to be the singer in drag, 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 as backing singer. During the broadcast NBC censors muted the "other boys check you out" line, 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 has only been performed on one of Bowie tours to date, the 1995 Outside Tour.[citation needed] 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."[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Boys Keep Swinging" (Bowie, Eno) – 3:17
  2. "Fantastic Voyage" (Bowie, Eno) – 2:55

Production credits[edit]

Other releases[edit]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ 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

External links[edit]