Look Back in Anger (song)
|"Look Back in Anger"|
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Lodger|
|Released||20 August 1979 (US)|
|Recorded||Mountain Studios, Montreux, September 1978; The Record Plant, New York City, March 1979|
PB 11724 (US)
|Songwriter(s)||David Bowie and Brian Eno|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
RCA Records was unsure if America was ready for the sexual androgyny of "Boys Keep Swinging", the lead-off single from Lodger in most territories, and "Look Back in Anger" was issued instead. 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, while Nicholas Pegg considers it "one of Lodger's dramatic highlights" and Chris O'Leary has called it "one of Bowie's strongest songs of the late Seventies".
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.
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.
- It appeared on the following compilations:
- A concert performance recorded on 12 September 1983 may be heard on the live album Serious Moonlight (Live '83), which was part of the 2018 box set Loving the Alien (1983-1988) and was released separately the following year. The filmed performance appears on the concert video Serious Moonlight.
- In 1988 Bowie recorded a "new, brutal version of the song" with Reeves Gabrels on guitar and Erdal Kizilcay on bass and drums; it was the first arrangement Bowie and Gabrels collaborated on, taking place shortly before the formation of the band Tin Machine. The recording was issued as a bonus track on the Rykodisc release of Lodger in 1991.
- 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)
- Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.106
- Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.43
- Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.131
- Chris O'Leary (2019). Ashes to Ashes: The Songs of David Bowie, 1976-2016: p.128
- David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.355
- David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.449-450