Number Ones: #45


  • DAVID BOWIE Loving The Alien (EMI America)
  • Week Ending 29th June 1985
  • 1 Week At #1


And now the great Dame David of Bowie, for it is he, doth appear among us, with the 3rd single lifted from his 1984 opus Tonight. Yet another artist who, had my charts existed in 1983, would have reached #1 with the title cut from Let’s Dance.

By mid-1985 his commercial stock had already fallen from those giddy heights of two years previously, when everything he released went top 2 in the UK. He knew when to go out, but he knew when to stay in..and get things done. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to know how to best follow-up Let’s Dance; by his own admission the recording of Tonight was too rushed, and its surfeit of cover versions masked a chronic lack of new, self-penned material.

There were three cracking originals; lead single Blue Jean (which really ought to have done better than #11 on my charts at the time), the kitchen-sink techno funk of Dancing With The Big Boys (the very apex of what Bowie’s music could achieve at this juncture), and Loving The Alien. The latter track opened the album in atmospheric, extended style, building to a crescendo by the time its 7 minutes were almost up; it had elements of China Girl in its delicate verse melodies and percussion, and a hint of the same vibe that characterised This Is Not America – his contribution to the Falcon & The Snowman soundtrack – which had briefly interrupted the singles run from Tonight at the beginning of 1985.

It’s easy with the benefit of hindsight to wonder what might have been if Bowie had not been compelled to go back into the studio so soon after the Serious Moonlight tour ended, and had instead waited for more songs of Loving The Alien‘s quality to emerge after a longer break.

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