Loving the Alien

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"Loving the Alien"
Single by David Bowie
from the album Tonight
B-side Don't Look Down
Released May 1985
Format 7"/12" single
Recorded Le Studio, Morin Heights, May 1984
Length 7:11 (album version)
4:43 (single remix)
Label EMI
David Bowie singles chronology
"This Is Not America"
"Loving the Alien"
"Dancing in the Street"
7" Picture Disc Cover
EAP 195 (UK)
12" Picture Disc Cover
SEAV-7860 (US)
Music video
"Loving the Alien" on YouTube

"Loving the Alien" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie. It was the opening track of his 1984 album Tonight. One of two tracks on the album written solely by Bowie, an edited version of the song was released as a single in May 1985, nine months after the release of lead single "Blue Jean" and eight months after the release of the album. "Loving the Alien" reached No. 19 in the UK Singles Chart. Journalist Dylan Jones described it as "definitely the best song from the Tonight album" and "explored Bowie’s intense dislike of organised religion".[1] The song inspired the title of Christopher Sandford's 1997 biography of Bowie.


As a demo track, the song was simply called "1". Bowie said "'Alien' came about because of my feeling that so much history is wrong - as is being rediscovered all the time - and that we base so much on the wrong knowledge that we've gleaned."[2] He recorded the demo in Montreux, Switzerland.[3] He would later comment that the production on the song undid the power of the lyric, saying he preferred the demo version.[4] The music video was co-directed by Bowie with frequent collaborator David Mallet.

Track listing[edit]

7": EMI America / EA 195 / EAP 195 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Loving the Alien" (Re-mixed version) (Bowie) – 4:43
  2. "Don't Look Down" (Re-mixed version) (Pop, Williamson) – 4:04
  • The 7" was released in a gatefold sleeve that contained still images from the video on the inside and back covers.
  • The 7" shaped picture disc (EAP 195) contained the same tracks (a very small number of these were pressed on translucent amber vinyl).

12": EMI America SEAV-7860 / 12EA 195 / 12EAP 195 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Loving the Alien" (Extended Dance Mix) (Bowie) – 7:27
  2. "Don't Look Down" (Extended Dance Mix) (Pop, Williamson) – 4:50
  3. "Loving the Alien" (Extended Dub Mix) (Bowie) – 7:14
  • The 12" single was released in a gatefold sleeve that covered in images from the video. The lyrics to "Loving the Alien" were also printed on the inner sleeve. A "limited" version of the 12" single also included a fold-out poster.
  • Also available as a picture disc.
  • Re-mixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero.
  • The Extended Dance Mix of Loving The Alien is very similar to the album version, the differences include a remixing of the marimba, an added drum break and an extra instrumental passage between the first chorus and second verse.
  • The Extended Dub Mix is a stripped-down version of the track with full vocals.

Download: EMI / iEA 195 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Loving the Alien" (Re-mixed version) (Bowie) – 4:43
  2. "Don't Look Down" (Re-mixed version) (Pop, Williamson) – 4:04
  3. "Loving the Alien" (Extended Dance Mix) (Bowie) – 7:27
  4. "Loving the Alien" (Extended Dub Mix) (Bowie) – 7:14
  5. "Don't Look Down" (Extended Dance Mix) (Pop, Williamson) – 4:50
  • Released in 2007

Live performances[edit]

Bowie performed the song on his 1987 Glass Spider Tour.[4] On the Reality Tour in 2003 and 2004, he again performed this song, but this time a stripped down version with only Bowie on vocals and Gerry Leonard on guitar; in the film of the tour, Bowie remarked that this arrangement was perhaps "the way it should have always been done."

Other releases[edit]

It appears on several Bowie compilation albums, including Bowie: The Singles 1969-1993 (1993), Changestwobowie (1998 reissue), some versions of Best of Bowie (2002), Sound + Vision (2003 and 2014 reissues), The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 (2007), ISELECT (2008), and Nothing Has Changed (3-CD version) (2014). The original uncensored video for "Loving the Alien" also appears on the "Day-In Day-Out Video EP" released in 1987.

Cover versions[edit]

"Loving the Alien" has been covered by several other artists. These include:


Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart 19
Irish Singles Chart 9
Australian Kent Report Singles Chart 65
German Singles Chart 27

Production credits[edit]


The Scumfrog vs Bowie[edit]

"The Scumfrog vs Bowie : Loving the Alien"
The cover for the single shows the name of the artists and the song on a black background with purple dots
Single by David Bowie; The Scumfrog
A-side "Loving the Alien"
B-side "8 Days, 7 Hours"
Released 2002
Format CD
Length 3:20 (single version)
Label Nettwerk America

In 2002, Dutch producer The Scumfrog made a club mix of the song and released it as a single together with the original video of the song.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Loving the Alien (Radio edit)" - 3:20
  2. "Loving the Alien (Original Club mix)" - 8:23
  3. "8 Days, 7 Hours (by Scumfrog)" - 7:43
  4. "Loving the Alien (video)"


  1. ^ Jones, Dylan (1 August 2008). "Loving the Alien: Never before seen pictures of David Bowie". Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Murray, Charles Shaar (25 October 1984), "Let's Talk, A Conversation with David Bowie", Rolling Stone magazine (433): 14, 18, 74 
  3. ^ Fricke, David (December 1984), "David Bowie Interview", Musician magazine (74): 46–56 
  4. ^ a b Bromberg, Craig (June 1990), "David Bowie (Interview)", Smart: 50–57 
  • A Reality Tour, 2004
  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links[edit]