Breaking Glass (song)

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"Breaking Glass"
Bowie BreakingGlass.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Stage
B-side Art Decade"
"Ziggy Stardust
Released November 1978
Format 7" single
Recorded Either Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28/29 April; Providence, Rhode Island, 5 May or Boston, Massachusetts, 6 May 1978
Genre Art rock
Length 1:52 (Low version)
3:28 (Stage version)
Label RCA Records
Producer(s) Tony Visconti
David Bowie singles chronology
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Breaking Glass"
"Boys Keep Swinging"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Breaking Glass"
"Boys Keep Swinging"
Low track listing
"Speed of Life"
"Breaking Glass"
"What in the World"

"Breaking Glass" is a song by the English singer/songwriter David Bowie. It was co-written by Bowie, bassist George Murray and drummer Dennis Davis in September 1976. Originally a track on Bowie's 1977 album Low, a reworked version of the song was a regular on the singer's 1978 tour. A live version from that tour was used as the lead track on a 7" EP to promote Bowie's second live album, Stage in 1978. The EP reached number 54 on the UK Singles Chart in December 1978.

In the US, the track "Star" was chosen as the lead track for the live EP (with "What in the World" and "Breaking Glass" as B-sides), but failed to chart, while in Japan "Blackout" was released to promote Stage.

"Breaking Glass" has been performed on subsequent Bowie tours in 1978, 1983, 1995–1996, 2002 and 2003-2004 tours.


The original song was uncompromising even by Low's standards. The fractured lyric is, like several songs written during Bowie's stay in Berlin, introspective of his dark, drug-filled period living in America in 1975-1976. Its lyrics, when written out, look potentially more like a paragraph than a song, and when separated into phrases, the song has a disjointed feeling. The song is also curiously short, not spanning two minutes and only going through one verse.

The lines "Don't look at the carpet; I drew something awful on it" refer to Bowie's practice of drawing the Tree of Life on the floor during that period, as he was interested in Aleister Crowley and Qabbala at the time.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Breaking Glass" (David Bowie, Dennis Davis, George Murray) – 3:28
  2. "Art Decade" (Bowie) – 3:10
  3. "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie) – 3:32

Production credits[edit]

Live versions[edit]

  • A spring 1978 live version recorded on the Heroes tour was released on Stage and on the above-mentioned single. This live version was also released as the B-side of the single "Star" in 1978.
  • A live performance filmed on 12 September 1983 was included on Serious Moonlight (1983 film).
  • A November 2003 live version recorded on the A Reality Tour was released on the A Reality Tour album, in 2010.

Other releases[edit]


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