Underground (David Bowie song)

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Bowie Underground.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Labyrinth
B-side "Underground (Instrumental)"
Released 9 June 1986[1]
Format 7"/12" single
Recorded 1985
Length 5:57 (Album version)
4:25 (Edited version)
Label EMI
Writer(s) David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Absolute Beginners"
"Magic Dance"
7" Picture Disc Cover
EAP 216 (UK)
Music video
"Underground" on YouTube

"Underground" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie for the soundtrack of the film Labyrinth. It reached No. 21 in the UK Singles Chart.


Bowie and producer Arif Martin recorded "Underground" at Atlantic Studios in New York. The track included a large chorus of backing vocalists (including Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross and Daphne Rubin-Vega)[2] and blues guitarist Albert Collins.


Steve Barron directed the video clip for promoting the song, which included some characters from the movie, including Hoggle and the Junk Lady.[2]

Bowie was not happy with the video, in 1987 saying "I've found that the videos I put into other people’s hands have always been a mistake. Because of my lack of interest, I didn't get that involved with things like 'Underground' which I did for Labyrinth. I just left it up, and the result is just not my kind of video. I was a bit lax there. I didn't feel involved."[3][4]

However, Jim Henson and his son Brian were impressed with Barron's style, enough to offer him a job directing the pilot episode of The Storyteller.

Follow-up singles[edit]

"As the World Falls Down", another track from the Labyrinth soundtrack, was considered for a Christmas 1986 single release, for which Steve Barron made another video. However this release was canceled, for reasons that are still largely unknown. The video has since been released on Bowie – The Video Collection (1993) and Best of Bowie (2002). "Magic Dance" was released as the second single from the soundtrack to limited countries in January 1987.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Bowie

7" Commercial Single/12" Promo Single: EMI / EA 216 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Underground (Edited version)" – 4:25
  2. "Underground (Instrumental)" – 5:40
    • This is the only Instrumental version featuring the backing singers.

All other Instrumental versions are slightly longer, backing-tracks only except on the back of the promo 12-inch single.

12" Club Single: EMI / 12EA 216 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Underground (Extended dance mix)" – 7:51
  2. "Underground (Dub)" – 5:59
  3. "Underground (Instrumental)" – 5:54

7" Picture Disc: EMI / EAP 216 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Underground (Edited version)" - 4:25
  2. "Underground (Instrumental)" - 5:52

Download: EMI / iEA 216 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Underground (Edited version)" – 4:25
  2. "Underground (Extended dance mix)" – 7:51
  3. "Underground (Instrumental)" – 5:54
  4. "Underground (Dub)" – 5:59
  • released in 2007

Production credits[edit]


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 26
Canadian Singles Chart[6] 73
UK Singles Chart 21
US Hot Dance Music/Club Play 22
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 18


  1. ^ Underground Discogs
  2. ^ a b c Block, Paula; Erdmann, Terry (2016). Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History. Insight Editions. p. 165 & 166. ISBN 978-1-60887-810-9. 
  3. ^ "Dave In, Dave Out", Music & Sound Output magazine, June 1987, retrieved 11 July 2013 
  4. ^ "Dave In, Dave Out", Music & Sound Output magazine, June 1987, retrieved 11 July 2013 
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ Library and Archives Canada: Volume 44, No. 16, July 12 1986, 12 July 1986, retrieved 11 July 2014 
  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links[edit]