Heroes by David Bowie UK vinyl single.jpg

One of A-side labels of UK vinyl single
   Lyrics                          Video
from the album        “Heroes”
B-side “V-2 Schneider”
Released 23 September 1977
  • 7″
  • 12″
Recorded July and August 1977 at Hansa Studio by the Wall, West Berlin
  • 6:07 (album version)
  • 3:32 (single version)
Label RCA
  • David Bowie
  • Brian Eno
David Bowie Singles
“Be My Wife”
“Beauty and the Beast”

‘Heroes’  was written by Bowie and Brian Eno. Produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, it was recorded in July and August 1977, and released on 23 September 1977. A product of Bowie’s “Berlin” period, the track was not a huge hit in the UK at the time, but has gone on to become one of Bowie’s signature songs. In January 2016, the song reached  number 12 in the UK Singles Chart. It has been cited as Bowie’s second-most covered song after “Rebel Rebel“.

Inspired by the sight of  Tony Visconti embracing his girlfriend by the Berlin Wall, it tells the story of two lovers, one from East and one from West Berlin. Bowie’s performance of “Heroes” at the German Reichstag in West Berlin was considered a catalyst to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall. Following Bowie’s death the German government thanked him for “helping to bring down the Wall”!

“‘Heroes'” ranks among  some of the ‘greatest songs of all time’ compiled by the music publications.

The title of the song is a reference to the 1975 track “Hero” by German band Neu!, whom Bowie and Eno admired. It was one of the early tracks recorded during the album sessions, but remained an instrumental until towards the end of production. The quotation marks in the title of the song, a deliberate affectation, were designed to impart an ironic quality on the otherwise highly romantic, even triumphant, words and music. Tony Visconti took credit for inspiring the image of the lovers kissing, when he and backing vocalist Antonia Maass  embraced in front of Bowie as he looked out of the Studio window.  Following the song’s release  Bowie claimed that the protagonists were based on an anonymous couple but Visconti, who was married at the time  to Mary Hopkin, contends that Bowie was protecting him and his affair with Maass. Bowie confirmed this in 2003.