|Song by David Bowie|
|from the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)|
|Released||September 12, 1980|
|Recorded||The Power Station, New York, February 1980; Good Earth, London, April 1980|
|Producer(s)||David Bowie, Tony Visconti|
"Teenage Wildlife" is a song written by David Bowie in 1980 for the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps). Running at almost seven minutes, the song was the longest track on Scary Monsters, and Bowie's longest composition since "Station to Station" (1976), although it was surpassed in length by later tracks such as 2003's "Bring Me the Disco King" and 2016's "Blackstar".
Music and lyrics
The song's original title was "It Happens Everyday". Producer Tony Visconti said "Instead of singing 'Not another teenage wildlife' [Bowie] would sing 'It happens everyda-a-ay.'"
Against a musical backdrop that owed much to his classic song "Heroes", including textural guitar work from both Robert Fripp and Chuck Hammer, and adds wandering phrases following his lyrical paragraphs, Bowie appeared to take aim squarely at his post-punk artistic godchildren, particularly Gary Numan:
A broken-nosed mogul are you
One of the new wave boys
Same old thing in brand new drag
Comes sweeping into view
As ugly as a teenage millionaire
Pretending it’s a whiz-kid world
In a 1980 interview, Bowie commented on Numan and his "whiz-kid world", saying "What Numan did he did excellently but in repetition, in the same information coming over again and again, once you've heard one piece.... It's that false idea of hi-tech society and all that which is... doesn't exist. I don't think we're anywhere near that sort of society. It's an enormous myth that's been perpetuated unfortunately, I guess, by readings of what I've done in that rock area at least, and in the consumer area television has an awful lot to answer for with its fabrication of the computer-world myth." Singer Boy George has said that his all-time favourite lyric was "As ugly as a teenage millionaire".
The song appeared on the compilation album The Collection (2005).
The song was performed regularly during Bowie's 1995-96 Outside Tour, and two separate live recordings were released on the live albums Ouvre le Chien (Live Dallas 95) (2020) and No Trendy Réchauffé (Live Birmingham 95) (2020).
- David Bowie: Lead vocals
- Tony Visconti: Backing vocals
- Robert Fripp: Guitar
- Carlos Alomar: Guitar
- Chuck Hammer: Guitar synthesizer
- Roy Bittan: Piano
- George Murray: Bass guitar
- Dennis Davis: Drums
- Sheffield, Rob (18 August 2016). "Rob Sheffield on David Bowie's Essential Albums". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
- Currie, David, ed. (1985). David Bowie: The Starzone Interviews. London: Omnibus Press.
- Buckley, David (1999). Strange Fascination. London: Virgin. pp. 363–375.
- MacKinnon, Angus (September 1980). "The Future Isn't What it Used to Be". NME.
- Smash Hits flexi-disc, 1985 Boy George interview