Black Tie White Noise  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Black Tie White Noise is an album by David Bowie. Released in 1993, it was his first solo release in the 1990s—after a critically disappointing experiment in his hard rock band, Tin Machine, and a new marriage with super model Iman Abdulmajid in 1992. This album featured his old guitarist from the Ziggy Stardust era, Mick Ronson, who died of cancer later in the year. In Bowie's own words, this album was inspired by his own wedding, and includes tracks such as "The Wedding" and its reprise at the end of the album as a song reflecting the occasion.

The title track, "Black Tie White Noise," is inspired by the riot in Los Angeles, provoking the issue of racism in the legal system. This track included a duet with singer Al B. Sure!

The track "Jump They Say" is a tribute to Bowie's half-brother, Terry, who committed suicide after being hospitalised for schizophrenia in the 1980s. The lyrics question mass conformity, in line with some of his earlier works including "All The Madmen", from The Man Who Sold The World and "Mass Production", from Iggy Pop's The Idiot.

Though considered by some critics to be musically far superior to Let's Dance, the public was still unsure whether or not it was ready to be receptive to Bowie again. The album, however, reached the number one spot on the UK charts with singles such as "Jump They Say" and "Miracle Goodnight". However, until re-releases later in the 1990s, the album was extraordinarily rare after the fledgling Savage Records on which it had been released suddenly went bankrupt. Though often considered Bowie's oddest departure, Black Tie White Noise marks the beginning of his modern era.

It has been suggested by many critics that it was Bowie's name rather than the music which prevented a bigger commercial success; to prove a point, in 1993, anonymous club remixes of the album track "Pallas Athena" were released to American dancefloors and became big hits.

To mark the album's 10th anniversary in 2003, a re-release consisting of the original album, a second disc of remixes and rarities and a bonus DVD of the Black Tie White Noise video was released. Songs like "Real Cool World" (a song from the Cool World film soundtrack released as a single in 1992) and "Lucy Can't Dance" (a bonus track on the original album) were included alongside dance mixes of many of the album tracks.


Track listing

All songs were written by David Bowie, except where noted.

  1. "The Wedding" – 5:04
  2. "You've Been Around" (Bowie, Reeves Gabrels) – 4:45
  3. "I Feel Free" (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) – 4:52
  4. "Black Tie White Noise" (featuring Al B. Sure!) – 4:52
  5. "Jump They Say" – 4:22
  6. "Nite Flights" (Noel Scott Engel) – 4:30
  7. "Pallas Athena" – 4:40
  8. "Miracle Goodnight" – 4:14
  9. "Don't Let Me Down & Down" (Tarha, Martine Valmont) – 4:55
  10. "Looking for Lester" (Bowie, Nile Rodgers) – 5:36
  11. "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" (Morrissey, Mark Nevin) – 4:14
  12. "The Wedding Song" – 4:29
  • On the Indonesian release, Bowie sang "Don't Let Me Down & Down" in Indonesian.
  • Nile Rodgers was not given a co-writing credit for "Looking for Lester" on the original 1993 release, but his credit was added on the 2003 reissue.

Bonus tracks on some versions

  1. "Jump They Say" (Alternate mix) – 3:58
  2. "Lucy Can't Dance" – 5:45

+The Japanese release featured the "Don't Stop Praying" remix of "Pallas Athena" as an additional bonus track.

LP version

Side One
  1. "You've Been Around" – 4:45
  2. "I Feel Free" – 4:52
  3. "Black Tie White Noise" – 4:52
  4. "Jump They Say" – 4:22
  5. "Nite Flights" – 4:30
Side Two
  1. "Miracle Goodnight" – 4:14
  2. "Don't Let Me Down & Down" – 4:55
  3. "Pallas Athena" – 4:40
  4. "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" – 4:14
  5. "The Wedding Song" – 4:29

Bonus tracks on 10th Anniversary version

  1. "Real Cool World" – 5:27
  2. "Lucy Can't Dance" – 5:48
  3. "Jump They Say" (Rock Mix) – 4:30
  4. "Black Tie White Noise" (3rd Floor US radio mix) – 3:44
  5. "Miracle Goodnight" (Make Believe mix) – 4:30
  6. "Don't Let Me Down & Down" (Indonesian vocal version) – 4:56
  7. "You've Been Around" (Dangers 12" mix) – 7:40
  8. "Jump They Say" (Brothers in Rhythm 12" remix) – 8:26
  9. "Black Tie White Noise" (Here Come Da Jazz) – 5:33
  10. "Pallas Athena" (Don't Stop Praying remix no. 2) – 7:24
  11. "Nite Flights" (Moodswings Back to Basics Remix) – 10:01
  12. "Jump They Say" (Dub Oddity) – 6:18

Bonus DVD with 10th Anniversary version

  1. "Introduction"
  2. "With Lester Bowie"
  3. "On Reeves Gabrels"
  4. "You've Been Around" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  5. "Expanding and Experimenting"
  6. "Nite Flights" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  7. "Otherness"
  8. "Miracle Goodnight" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  9. "On Marriage"
  10. "Black Tie White Noise" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  11. "With Mick Ronson"
  12. "I Feel Free" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  13. "With Nile Rodgers"
  14. "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" (Hollywood Center Studios, L.A., 5/8/93)
  15. "Miracle Goodnight" (promo video)
  16. "Jump They Say" (promo video)
  17. "Black Tie White Noise" (promo video)
  18. "Credits"


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