Time Will Crawl

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"Time Will Crawl"
Bowie TimeWillCrawl.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Never Let Me Down
B-side Girls
Released June 1987
Format 7"/12" single
Recorded Mountain Studios, Montreux, Autumn 1986
Length 4:18
Label EMI
David Bowie singles chronology
"Day-In Day-Out"
"Time Will Crawl"
"Never Let Me Down"
Music video
"Time Will Crawl (Single Version)" on YouTube
Limited Edition 12" Cover

"Time Will Crawl" is the second track on David Bowie's album Never Let Me Down and was issued as the second single from the album. The single was a minor hit, breaking in at #7 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the US.

The song is generally considered the best song from an otherwise poorly received album, and in 2008 Bowie named the track as one of his favorites of his entire career.

Song development[edit]

The song was written about the pollution and destruction of the planet by industry (Bowie has cited hearing of the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986 as the genesis of the lyric). In an 1987 interview, Bowie said the song "deals with the idea that someone in one's own community could be the one responsible for blowing up the world."[1] Bowie also stated at the time that it was his favorite song from the album,[1] and later put the song on his list of all-time favorites by including a newly remixed version of the song (the "MM Remix")[2] on his iSelect album.[3][4]

Music video[edit]

The video clip, directed by Tim Pope, was made during rehearsals for Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour. Mimicking a fly-on-the-wall documentary, this would preview some of the elaborate routines used on the tour, and also features tour guitarist Peter Frampton, though he does not actually appear on the recording itself.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic Favorable[6]

Generally, this song was considered one of the best of Bowie's mid- to late-1980s efforts.[6][7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Bowie

7": EMI / EA237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls" – 4:13

7": EMI / EAP237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Single version)" – 4:04
  2. "Girls (Single edit)" – 4:13

This limited 7" single's sleeve folded out into a double-sided poster, and contains a slightly shorter edit of the title track.

12": EMI / 12EA237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Extended dance mix)" – 6:03
  2. "Time Will Crawl (LP version)" – 4:18
  3. "Girls (Extended edit)" – 5:35
  • Extended Dance Mix by David Richards

12": EMI / 12EAX237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Dance crew mix)" – 5:43
  2. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  3. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06

12": EMI / V-19247 (US)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Extended dance mix)" – 6:03
  2. "Time Will Crawl (LP version)" – 4:18
  3. "Girls (Extended edit)" – 5:35
  4. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06

Download: EMI / iEA237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls" – 4:13
  3. "Time Will Crawl (Extended dance mix)" – 6:03
  4. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  5. "Girls (Extended edit)" – 5:35
  • Released in 2007

Download: EMI / iEAX237 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06
  3. "Time Will Crawl (Dance crew mix)" – 5:43
  4. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  5. "Girls (Extended edit)" – 5:35
  • Released in 2007


  1. "Time Will Crawl (MM remix)" - 4:54

Other releases and appearances[edit]

Bowie performed the song for BBC's Top of the Pops show in 1987, but the full performance has never been aired.[7] The track was also used in the French arthouse movie Les Amants du Pont Neuf (The Lovers on the Pont Neuf).

Production credits[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Burning Gates - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak position
Germany Singles Chart 57[8]
Holland Singles Chart 71[8]
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 7[9]
UK Singles Chart 33[10]



  1. ^ a b David Bowie - The Interview (vinyl). EMI America. 1987. 
  2. ^ Joe D'Ambrosio Management: Mario J. McNulty (Profile), retrieved 14 May 2013 
  3. ^ Neyland, Nick, David Bowie chooses his own favorite songs, retrieved 22 April 2013 
  4. ^ Askenase, Julia (11 July 2008), David Bowie looks back on his favorite David Bowie, retrieved 28 October 2013 
  5. ^ "David Bowie Best of Bowie 2002 Video Review" by Colin Jacobson, http://www.dvdmg.com/bestofbowie.shtml
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Dave, David Bowie "Time Will Crawl" Review, retrieved 28 October 2013 
  7. ^ a b Buckley, David, Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story, p. 547, retrieved 28 October 2013 
  8. ^ a b Ultra Top Charts: David Bowie Time Will Crawl, retrieved 23 August 2013 
  9. ^ Artist awards: David Bowie, retrieved 21 August 2013 
  10. ^ David Bowie music charts at Official Charts Company, retrieved 10 January 2013 

External links[edit]