Look Back in Anger (song)

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"Look Back in Anger"
Look Back in Anger label.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Lodger
Released20 August 1979 (US)
Format7" single
RecordedMountain Studios, Montreux, September 1978; The Record Plant, New York City, March 1979
LabelRCA Records
PB 11724 (US)
Songwriter(s)David Bowie and Brian Eno
David Bowie singles chronology
"Look Back in Anger"
"John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)"

"Look Back in Anger" is a song written by David Bowie and Brian Eno for the album Lodger (1979). It concerns "a tatty 'Angel of Death'",[1] and features a guitar solo by Carlos Alomar.

RCA Records was unsure if America was ready for the sexual androgyny of "Boys Keep Swinging",[2] the lead-off single from Lodger in most territories, and "Look Back in Anger" was issued instead.[3] The B-side was another track from Lodger called "Repetition", a story of domestic violence. The single failed to chart.

"Look Back in Anger" has a mixed reputation among Bowie commentators. NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray described it as "probably the low point" of the album,[1] while Nicholas Pegg considers it "one of Lodger's dramatic highlights"[3] and Chris O'Leary has called it "one of Bowie's strongest songs of the late Seventies".[4]

Beyond the shared title, the song has nothing to do with the John Osborne play Look Back in Anger.

Bowie performed the song on his 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour (it is the opening number on the Serious Moonlight film) and reworked it in the mid-1990s as a heavy rock song for the Outside and Earthling tours.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Look Back in Anger" (David Bowie, Brian Eno) – 3:08
  2. "Repetition" (Bowie) – 2:59

Production credits[edit]

Music video[edit]

David Mallet directed a music video for the song, featuring Bowie in an artist's studio. The scenario was based on the conclusion of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, as a self-portrait of the protagonist grows more handsome while he himself physically decays.[5]

Other releases[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Kaligare - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
  • Swans of Avon - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)
  • Tender Fury - Thoughts of Yesterday (1992)


  1. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.106
  2. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.43
  3. ^ a b Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.131
  4. ^ Chris O'Leary (2019). Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016: p.128
  5. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.355
  6. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.449-450

External links[edit]