“Black Tie White Noise”.

 

“Black Tie White Noise”
Bowie BlackTieWhiteNoiseSingle.jpg
  Lyrics                          Video
featuring Al B. Sure!
from the album Black Tie White Noise
B-side “You’ve Been Around” (Dangers Remix)
Released 31 May 1993
Format 7″/12″/CD single
Recorded Mountain Studios, Montreux; Hit Factory, New York, June–July 1992
Length 4:10 (radio edit)
4:52 (album version)
Label Arista/BMG Records
74321-14868
Savage/BMG Records (US)
74785-50045
Writer(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) Nile Rodgers

Black Tie White Noise is the title track from Bowie’s 1993 album. Featuring guest vocals by Al B. Sure!, it was the second single from the album in June 1993.

The track was inspired by Bowie’s stay in Los Angeles in April 1992, when the city saw race riots in reaction to the Rodney King incident. It is the epitome of its parent album’s feelings towards conformity and corporations, with Benetton and the saccharine charity single “We Are the World” among the targets. Bowie would later explain that the track was concerned with the black community’s own identity, and how it didn’t need to be absorbed into the white community.

It is among the most jazz- and soul-influenced tracks on the album, highlighted by the key vocal of Al B. Sure! Essentially a rhythm and Blues tune, the song ultimately reinforced the feeling of Bowie’s tendency as a chameleon of musical styles.

Released as the album’s second single, “Black Tie White Noise” was something of a disappointment commercially, stalling at No. 36 in the UK, No. 74 in Australia, and again failing to chart in America despite a concerted promotional push. Audiences were perhaps confused by Bowie’s latest departure of style and already somewhat skeptical given the breakup of Tin Machine, despite the promise that his solo career was over.  star33

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