I Can't Give Everything Away

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"I Can't Give Everything Away"
David Bowie - I Can't Give Everything Away cover art.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Blackstar
Released6 April 2016
StudioThe Magic Shop and Human Worldwide (New York City)
  • 5:47 (album version)
  • 4:26 (video edit)
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Blackstar track listing

"I Can't Give Everything Away" is a song by English musician David Bowie. It is the seventh and final track on his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar (2016), and was released posthumously as the album's third and final single on 6 April 2016.[1] The track was written by David Bowie and was produced by both he and Tony Visconti.

Prior to issue as a posthumous single, "I Can't Give Everything Away" peaked at number 45 on the Swiss Hitparade chart; number 141 on the UK Singles Chart; and number 142 on the French Singles Chart.

The song contains a similar harmonica part to that of "A New Career in a New Town", an instrumental from Bowie's 1977 album Low.

Critical reception[edit]

"I Can't Give Everything Away" received positive reviews from critics. Sam Richards of NME called the song "a serene, lilting number",[2] while Ben Skipper of the IB Times labelled it as a "beautiful and moving farewell".[3] Neil McCormick of The Telegraph called the song an "epic closing track", commenting that "Bowie sounds like he is grappling with his own mystery: 'Seeing more and feeling less / Saying no but meaning yes / This is all I ever meant / That's the message that I sent.'"[4]

The American online magazine Pitchfork listed "I Can't Give Everything Away" at number 23 on their ranking of the 100 best songs to be released in 2016.[5]

Music video[edit]

On 6 April 2016 an animated lyric video was released, created by Jonathan Barnbrook, who also designed the album's artwork. He explained his motives behind the video as follows:

“This is really a very simple little video that I wanted to be ultimately positive,” Barnbrook says. “We start off in the black and white world of Blackstar, but in the final chorus we move to brilliant colour, I saw it as a celebration of David, to say that despite the adversity we face, the difficult things that happen such as David’s passing, that human beings are naturally positive, they look forward and can take the good from the past and use it as something to help with the present. We are a naturally optimistic species and we celebrate the good that we are given.”[citation needed]

"I Can't Give Everything Away" impacted radio worldwide and was playlisted at BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music, Absolute and Radio X in the UK.

Farewell Mix[edit]

A reworked version of the song, known as "I Can't Give Everything Away (Farewell Mix)", was performed by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, with whom Bowie had collaborated and toured on occasions, during their I Can't Seem To Wake Up tour.[6] Singer Trent Reznor stated he made the remix as a healing factor to cope with Bowie's death. Reznor had anonymously uploaded a studio version of the remix to SoundCloud several months before performing it live.[7] The studio version features only Bowie's vocals, while performing the song live Reznor sings along with Bowie's vocals.[8]


Chart (2016) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[9] 37
France (SNEP)[10] 142
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 45
Mexico Ingles Airplay (Billboard)[12] 33
Portugal (AFP)[13] 84
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 141
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[15] 39


  1. ^ Young, Alex (6 April 2016). "David Bowie's longtime artist releases beautiful posthumous video for "I Can't Give Everything Away"". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  2. ^ Richards, Sam (8 January 2016). "David Bowie – 'Blackstar' Review: The NME Verdict". NME. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  3. ^ Skipper, Ben (11 January 2016). "David Bowie's final song I Can't Give Everything Away is a poignant and beautiful farewell". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ McCormick, Neil (8 January 2016). "David Bowie, Blackstar, review: 'extraordinary'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  5. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2016". Pitchfork. 12 December 2016. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  6. ^ Jazz Monroe (20 July 2017). "Watch Nine Inch Nails Cover David Bowie's "I Can't Give Everything Awa - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  7. ^ Alex Young (20 July 2017). "Studio version of Nine Inch Nails' cover of David Bowie's "I Can't Give Everything Away" surfaces online: Stream". Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  8. ^ Greg Kennelty (20 July 2017). "NINE INCH NAILS Secretly Released A Cover Of DAVID BOWIE's "I Can't Give Everything Away" - Metal Injection". Metal Injection LLC. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – David Bowie – I Can't Give Everything Away" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Lescharts.com – David Bowie – I Can't Give Everything Away" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Swisscharts.com – David Bowie – I Can't Give Everything Away". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  12. ^ "David Bowie – Chart history". Billboard Mexico Ingles Airplay for David Bowie. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – David Bowie – I Can't Give Everything Away". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Chart Log UK – New Chart Entries – 16.01.2016". zobbel.de. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  15. ^ "David Bowie Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 January 2016.

External links[edit]