50212-4 Black Tie White Noise
Produced by David Bowie & Nile Rodgers
Released on April 1993
Find it at GEMM
50212-4 cover  

A nother lackluster performance: costly. Calling the release a wedding present to your new wife and including songs like “You’ve Been Around:” priceless. Ultimately, Black Tie White Noise is one more entry for the “fat, dumb and happy” files. No more and no less interesting than Tonight or Never Let Me Down, you’ll find a few catchy tracks in between the affected edginess and lame covers. I buy these things mostly out of brand loyalty; I know Bowie the groundbreaking artist is gone for good, but I still like to hear what he’s up to. Like Let’s Dance, this album is a concession to the contemporary club scene, replete with cool jazz references, funky beats and aggressively noisy arrangements. Under the surface, there isn’t much to get excited about: “The Wedding” dusts off “Warszawa” for no apparent reason, covers of “I Feel Free” and “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” fall flat (Morrissey 1, Bowie 0), “Nite Flights” exposes the artistic credibility lost since Lodger. However, anyone looking for a redeeming side will find it on songs like “Jump They Say,” “Miracle Goodnight” and a surprisingly effective cover of “Don’t Let Me Down & Down.” Honestly, Bowie’s behind the curve of the club scene; as catchy as “Real Cool World” was, for example, the soundtrack to Cool World found the singer behind the cutting edge. This time the beats are only mildly interesting, the melodies buried or boring, the mix miserable. Some of the problem stems from a lack of band chemistry; there are a few familiar faces (Reeves Gabrels, Mick Ronson) but for the most part it’s a new crew. Ultimately though, it’s inspiration that fails the singer. If this were a soundtrack, instrumentals like “Pallas Athena” and “Looking for Lester” (named for trumpeter Lester Bowie who appears here) would be acceptable. As a new album of music, however, the difference between this and his classic catalog is the difference between black and white. Note that a three-disc set became available in the new millenium (just like the old millenium...) that features a bonus CD of rare material (whatever that means) and a DVD featuring interview footage and six songs from David's Los Angeles show from 1993.

50212-4 inner sleeve
50212-4 inner sleeve


  1. THE WEDDING    (David Bowie)    5:04
  2. YOU'VE BEEN AROUND    (David Bowie/Reeves Gabrels)    4:45
  3. I FEEL FREE    (Bruce/Brown)    4:52
  4. BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE    (David Bowie)    4:52
  5. JUMP THEY SAY    (David Bowie)    4:22
  6. NITE FLIGHTS    (Engels)    4:30
  7. PALLAS ATHENA    (David Bowie)    4:40
  8. MIRACLE GOODNIGHT    (David Bowie)    4:14
  9. DON'T LET ME DOWN & DOWN    (Tahra/Valmont)    4:55
  10. LOOKING FOR LESTER    (David Bowie)    5:36
  11. I KNOW IT'S GONNA HAPPEN SOMEDAY    (Stephen Morrissey)    4:14
  12. THE WEDDING SONG    (David Bowie)    4:29
  13. (CD/CS bonus track:) JUMP THEY SAY (ALTERNATE MIX)    (David Bowie)    3:58
  14. (CD bonus track:) LUCY CAN'T DANCE    5:45
  15. (JPN CD w. extra bonus track:) PALLAS ATHENA (DON'T STOP PRAYING MIX)


DAVID BOWIE -- vocals, guitar, sax and dog alto
PUGI BELL -- drums
RICHARD HILTON -- keyboards, programming
JOHN REGAN -- bass
MICHAEL REISMAN -- harp, tubular bells, string arrangements
DAVE RICHARDS -- keyboards, programming
NILE RODGERS -- guitar, background vocals
PHILIPPE SAISSE -- keyboards
RICHARD TEE -- keyboards
GERADO VELEZ -- percussion
Tawatha Agee -- background vocals
Lamya Al-Mughiery -- choir (11)
Lester Bowie -- trumpet
Dennis Collins -- background vocals
Maryl Epps -- background vocals
Reeves Gabrels -- guitar (2)
Mike Garson -- piano (10)
Curtis King -- background vocals
Chico O'Farrill -- horn arranger & conductor (11)
Connie Petruk -- choir (11)
Mick Ronson -- guitar (3)
Frank Simms -- choir (11)
George Simms -- choir (11)
David Spinner -- choir (11)
Wild T. Springer -- guitar (11)
Al B. Sure! -- vocal duet (4)
Fonzi Thorton (sic) -- background vocals
Brenda White-King -- background vocals
Jon Goldberger -- engineer
Gary Tole -- additional engineering
Abdrew Grassi -- additional engineering
Stephen Hart -- mix engineer
JAE-E -- remix and additional production (13)
Nick Knight -- photography
Peter Gabriel -- session photography
Reiner Design Consultants, Inc. -- design

UK April 1993 Arista LP/CD/CS 13697  
US/CAN April 1993 Savage LP/CD/CS 50212 lyric sleeve
BRA 1993 Arista/BMG LP 1508183  
JPN 1993 Arista CDX BVCA-612 w. bonus track, booklet
UK 2001 EMI 2CDX 5848140 double CD limited edition w. bonus DVD
JPN   EMI/Toshiba 2CDX TOCP-67239 double CD limited edition w. bonus DVD


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