Wednesday, August 12, 2020

"Never Let Me Down" by David Bowie

Song#:  3223
Date:  08/08/1987
Debut:  75
Peak:  27
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Bowie's seventeenth studio album, Never Let Me Down, got kicked off with the #21 single "Day-In Day-Out." While his previous two albums both started off with Top 10 hits, the near Top 20 results wasn't too bad for Bowie, who was never really considered a singles-oriented artist in the US. To follow it up, this title track single was released. It didn't do great, but it gave Bowie a pair of Top 30s from the LP. The song also made it to #15 at Rock and #17 Dance. The album had already reached its peak of #34 becoming a gold seller. It would be Bowie's last solo LP until 1993's Black Tie, White Noise, which contained the #6 Dance hit "Jump They Say."

ReduxReview:  Bowie rarely wrote songs that were personal in nature, but this is one. He wrote it about his long-time personal assistant Corinne "Coco" Schwab. Schwab began to work for Bowie in 1973 and remained with him until his death in 2019. Bowie has mentioned that she was not only a PA and best friend, but a person who basically saved his life a couple times over the years. It was really a nice track and you can feel Bowie's sincerity in it. The song also has a bit of a John Lennon feel. It was a highlight from the album, but I had my doubts that it would make a good pop single. It ended up doing fairly well reaching the Top 30. I was already a big fan of Bowie by this point and over time he became one of my all-time favorite artists. The deaths of artists I love don't affect me emotionally all that much because I don't personally know them. Just their work. However, the day after Bowie died I was in a bar and the jukebox played "Changes" and I nearly lost it. I think part of that had to do with the realization that there would be no more new music from Bowie. No new creations. He was done and that kinda got to me. Plus he was the first on my all-time favorite artists list to pass away and I hadn't experienced that before. He was such an amazing artist and he left a treasure trove of work behind that I'll be playing for the rest of my life.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After Never Let Me Down, Bowie decided that he wanted to work as a member of a band again and formed Tin Machine with Reeves Gabrels along with brothers Tony and Hunt Sales. Their self-titled debut album got issued out in 1989. It had a hard rock edge, which worked well for rock radio with the first single "Under the God" reaching #8 on the Rock chart, but none of the LP's singles found their way on to the Pop chart. The album got to #28, but missed out on the gold sales mark. Bowie decided to leave his long time label EMI following friction between the two over the album. Tin Machine would then release 1991's Tin Machine II on the indie Victory label. The album didn't perform well (#126 US) and Tin Machine came to an end. Bowie then picked back up on his solo career with 1993's Black Tie, White Noise. Seven more solo albums would follow culminating in the critically hailed Blackstar, which was released two days before Bowie's death in 2016. It would end up being Bowie's first #1 album in the US and it spawned his last Pop Top 40 entry with the #40 "Lazarus."


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