Thursday's Child (David Bowie song)

Last updated

"Thursday's Child"
David Bowie - Thursday's Child.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Hours
B-side "We Shall Go to Town"
Released20 September 1999 (1999-09-20)
RecordedApril–May 1999
Studio Seaview Studio
(Bermuda)
Genre
Length5:24 (album version)
4:25 (single edit)
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • David Bowie
  • Reeves Gabrels
David Bowie singles chronology
"I Can't Read"
(1997)
"Thursday's Child"
(1999)
"The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell"
(1999)

"Thursday's Child" is a song recorded by David Bowie for his twenty-second studio album Hours (1999). Written by Bowie and Reeves Gabrels, the song was released as the album's lead single on 20 September 1999, by Virgin Records.

Contents

Background and composition

It was the first single from Hours and preceded the album by two weeks. In a performance for VH1 Storytellers , Bowie revealed that the title of the song was prompted by the memory of the autobiography of actress Eartha Kitt. The book, also called Thursday's Child, used to be a favourite of his when he was 14 years old.

The song, just like Ashes to Ashes, is inspired by Danny Kaye's Inchworm. According to Nicholas Pegg the song references Ray Charles' That Lucky Old Sun and John Donne's poem The Sun Rising. [1]

According to the song's songwriter and producer Reeves Gabrels, Bowie initially wanted group TLC to sing background vocals on the song. However, he convinced Bowie not to do it, and invited his friend Holly Palmer to do the vocals instead. According to Gabrels, "I was David's friend, and his guitar player, musical director, co-producer, but I was also a fan. I felt like I was protecting his 'thing'. I wanted to make sure he stayed cool and stayed connected. He was a voracious chaser of new things. But not every new thing [should be chased]". [2]

The song begins with Bowie singing: "All of my life I've tried so hard/Doing my best with what I had/Nothing much happened all the same". In an interview with Uncut , the singer commented about the song: "I'm supposed to say, 'Ah, but that's the secret of stagecraft!' But no, I don't find it particularly hard – the guy in the song’s had a tough life, though. He's a teeth-grinding, I'll-get-this-job-done guy. But, right, it's not a dogged labour for me: I do work hard, but it comes easily". [3] Bowie further expanded on the song, revealing that it was about "somebody that maybe felt that he'd achieved anything that he was ever going to achieve in his life and that the way forward looked as bleak as much of his past had done.....until it was changed by meeting this particular person that he falls in love with. So it's like a glimmer of salvation in his own life". [1]

B-sides

One of the single's B-sides was a track written by Bowie and Gabrels called "We Shall Go To Town", which was originally slated for inclusion on the album itself. Gabrels called it "a very dark track" in contrast to the rest of the album. He said the song "was about two people who were so grotesque, horribly disfigured, and people would stone them on the street, and they grew tired of having to live in the shadows, it’s like an 'Elephant Man' thing. And they think 'Tonight’s the night we go to town. This might be our last night on earth because people will probably kill us.' That was a little less jolly than 'Thursday’s Child.'" [2]

"1917" was originally called "Thrust" and was included in the video game The Nomad Soul during a rooftop fight with a demon, part of the soundtrack for the game written by Bowie and Gabrels. "No One Calls" was also from the game's soundtrack, with an alternate title of "Awakened 2", where it appeared only in instrumental form. [4]

Live versions

On 3 October 1999, David Bowie was the musical guest on the 25th season of the television program "Saturday Night Live", performing "Thursday's Child" and "Rebel Rebel". A live version recorded in Paris in October 1999 was released on the single "Survive" in January 2000, and the full concert from which it was taken was released in 2021 as Something in the Air (Live Paris 99) . A performance from November 1999 was included in the live concert release David Bowie at the Kit Kat Klub (Live New York 99) (2021).

Other releases

"Thursday's Child" was released on a promotional release of the single "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell" in 1999. Both the "Rock mix" and a slower version from the Omikron – The Nomad Soul video game was released on the bonus disc that followed the 2004 reissue of Hours. The radio edit of the song was included on some editions of Best of Bowie (2002), on the 3-disc and 2-disc versions of Nothing Has Changed (2014), and on the 2-disc edition of Bowie Legacy (2016).

Track listing

UK CD version 1
  1. "Thursday's Child (edit)" – 4:25
  2. "We All Go Through" – 4:09
  3. "No One Calls" – 3:51
UK CD version 2
  1. "Thursday's Child (Rock mix)" – 4:27
  2. "We Shall Go to Town" – 3:56
  3. "1917" – 3:27

This version also includes the full length "Thursday's Child" video in QuickTime format.

International CD version 1
  1. "Thursday's Child (Radio edit)" – 4:25
  2. "Thursday's Child (Rock mix)" – 4:27
  3. "We Shall Go to Town" – 3:56
  4. "1917" – 3:27
International CD version 2
  1. "Thursday's Child (Radio edit)" – 4:25
  2. "Thursday's Child (Rock mix)" – 4:27
Promo version
  1. "Thursday's Child (Radio edit)" – 4:25
  2. "Thursday's Child (Rock mix)" – 4:27
  3. "Thursday's Child (Album version)" – 5:24
CD
Virgin / DPRO-14338 (US)
  1. "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell (edit)" – 3:59
  2. "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell (Call out hook #1)" – 0:11
  3. "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell (Call out hook #2)" – 0:11
  4. "Thursday's Child (Radio edit)" – 4:25
  5. "Thursday's Child (Call out hook #1)" – 0:12
  6. "Thursday's Child (Call out hook #2)" – 0:12

A cassette version was also released with the three tracks from the UK CD version 1 on both sides of the tape.

Music video

The accompanying music video for "Thursday's Child" was directed by Walter Stern, and was filmed in early August 1999 in New York City. [5] In Bowie's own words, "The video is a strange and slow moving piece that wanders between a present and a past in a bewildering fashion". [6] It shows Bowie in a motel room, looking in a mirror at his younger self (played by Owen Beasley) [7] and reminiscing on his life and what could have been. Kara Manning from MTV News considered the video "surreal", while Time 's Melissa Locker included it on her list of Bowie's ten best music videos, saying it was "melancholy and contemplative". [8]

Personnel

Charts

Chart (1999)Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders) [9] 16
Germany (Official German Charts) [10] 62
Netherlands (Single Top 100) [11] 81
Scotland (OCC) [12] 17
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) [13] 48
UK Singles (OCC) [14] 16

Notes

  1. 1 2 Pegg, Nicholas (2009). The Complete David Bowie. p. 232.
  2. 1 2 Ives, Brian (20 February 2017). "David Bowie: A Look Back at His '90s Era – When He Got Weird Again". Archived from the original on 28 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  3. "David Bowie: "I'm hungry for reality!" – Part 4". 8 January 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  4. "Pushing Ahead of the Dame - Omikron: The Nomad Soul (& BowieBanc & BowieNet)". 28 October 2013. Archived from the original on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2016./
  5. "BOWIE FILMS TWO VIDEOS, PREPARES TO RELEASE "HOURS..."". 7 September 1999. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  6. "Thursday's Child Video Shoot". 10 August 1999. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  7. "BOWIE CHATS ABOUT HIS VIDEO DOPPELGANGER; CANCELS HOWARD STERN APPEARANCE". 5 October 1999. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  8. "The 10 Best David Bowie Music Videos". 11 January 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  9. "David Bowie – Thursday's Child" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  10. "David Bowie – Thursday's Child" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  11. "David Bowie – Thursday's Child" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  12. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  13. "David Bowie – Thursday's Child". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  14. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 September 2019.

Related Research Articles

<i>Earthling</i> (album) 1997 studio album by David Bowie

Earthling is the 21st studio album by English musician David Bowie. It was originally released on 3 February 1997 by Arista and Virgin. Co-produced by Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati, it was recorded in 1996 at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and Looking Glass Studios in New York City following the conclusion of the Outside Tour. The album showcases an electronica-influenced sound partly inspired by the industrial and drum and bass culture of the 1990s. Commercially, the album performed better than its more experimental predecessor Outside. Bowie supported the album on the Earthling Tour in 1997. The album was reissued with bonus tracks in 2004.

<i>The Nomad Soul</i> 1999 adventure game

The Nomad Soul is an adventure game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for Microsoft Windows in 1999 and Dreamcast in 2000. The player can engage in unarmed and armed combat, explore the three-dimensional environment of Omikron City, and talk with non-player characters to progress the story. It follows an investigation into a case of serial killings, which unravels the supernatural truth behind the city's ancient history.

Reeves Gabrels Musical artist

Reeves Gabrels is an American guitarist, songwriter and record producer. A member and guitarist of British band the Cure since 2012, Gabrels worked with David Bowie from 1987 to 1999, and was a member of the band Tin Machine. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York's Hudson Valley. His Nashville-based band since 2007, Reeves Gabrels & His Imaginary Friends, features Gabrels on guitar and vocals.

<i>Never Let Me Down</i> 1987 studio album by David Bowie

Never Let Me Down is the 17th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 20 April 1987 by EMI America Records. After a series of miscellaneous projects, Bowie hoped to make his next record differently following his disappointment with Tonight (1984). Conceiving the album as the foundation for a theatrical world tour, it was recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and the Power Station in New York City in the latter half of 1986 into early 1987. It was co-produced by David Richards and marked the first time since 1980's Scary Monsters that Bowie played instruments in addition to singing. Musically, Never Let Me Down has been characterised as pop rock and art rock; Bowie himself considered the record a return to rock and roll music. The album cover features Bowie surrounded by numerous elements from the songs.

<i>Tin Machine</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Tin Machine

Tin Machine is the debut studio album by Anglo-American hard rock band Tin Machine, released on 22 May 1989 by EMI America Records. The band consisted of English singer-songwriter David Bowie, American guitarist Reeves Gabrels and brothers Tony Fox and Hunt Sales on bass and drums, respectively, while Englishman Kevin Armstrong acted as an additional guitarist. The project was spearheaded by Bowie, who felt disconnected in his career by 1987 and looked to reinvent himself. After meeting Gabrels through his Glass Spider Tour, the two agreed to work together and would collaborate frequently for the next decade. Bowie hired the Sales brothers, neither of whom he had worked with since the 1970s, after a meeting in Los Angeles, while English producer Tim Palmer was hired to co-produce.

<i>Hours</i> (David Bowie album) 1999 studio album by David Bowie

Hours is the 22nd studio album by English singer David Bowie. It was released on 4 October 1999 on Virgin Records. This was Bowie's final album for the EMI sub-label. It was the first complete album by a major artist available to download over the Internet, preceding the physical release by two weeks.

The Hearts Filthy Lesson Song by David Bowie

"The Hearts Filthy Lesson" is a song by David Bowie, from his 1995 album Outside, and issued as a single ahead of the album. It showcased Bowie's new, industrial-influenced sound. Lyrically, the single connects with the rest of the album, with Bowie offering a lament to "tyrannical futurist" Ramona A. Stone, a theme continued in subsequent songs. The song is also meant to confront Bowie's own perceptions about the ritual creation and degradation of art.

<i>Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby</i> 1992 live album by Tin Machine

Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby is a live album by Anglo-American rock band Tin Machine, originally released by London Records on 2 July 1992. The album includes songs, all from the band's two albums, recorded between 20 November 1991 and 11 February 1992 from five different venues on the North American and Asian legs of Tin Machine's It's My Life Tour. The maligned album title was intended as a pun on U2's 1991 album Achtung Baby. Oy Vey, Baby has received negative reviews, with many criticising the performances. It failed to chart in both the UK and the US. It was accompanied by a concert video of the same title, which was filmed at The Docks, Hamburg on October 24, 1991. Following its release, Tin Machine disbanded and Bowie quickly resumed his solo career with Black Tie White Noise (1993).

Prisoner of Love (Tin Machine song) 1989 single by Tin Machine

"Prisoner of Love" is a song by Tin Machine taken from their eponymous debut album. It was issued as their third single in October 1989.

Strangers When We Meet (David Bowie song) Song by David Bowie

"Strangers When We Meet" is a song by David Bowie, originally recorded for his 1993 album The Buddha of Suburbia. In 1995, Bowie re-recorded the song for his Outside album, and this version was edited and released as the second single from the album, paired with a reworked version of Bowie's 1970 song "The Man Who Sold the World".

Hallo Spaceboy Song by David Bowie

"Hallo Spaceboy" is a song by David Bowie from his 1995 album Outside, and the third and final single from the album. The track was re-recorded in 1996 and issued as a remix featuring Pet Shop Boys as guest artists. Bowie and Brian Eno co-wrote the original album version of the song.

Little Wonder (David Bowie song) Song by David Bowie

"Little Wonder" is a song and single by David Bowie from the 1997 album, Earthling. It was the album's biggest hit, reaching number 14 in the UK. At the 1998 Brit Awards, the song was nominated for Best British Video.

Dead Man Walking (song) Song by David Bowie

"Dead Man Walking" is a song written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels and released as single from the 1997 album Earthling. It was a number 32 hit in the UK.

Survive (David Bowie song) Song by David Bowie

"Survive" is a song and single written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels for the album Hours in 1999. "Survive" was released as the third single from the album in January 2000, it reached number 28 on the UK Singles Chart. It was characterized as a confessional highlight in a review by Rolling Stone.

The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell Song by David Bowie

"The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell" is a song written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels for the album Hours in 1999. The first single release from the album in Australia and Japan, while the rest of the world got "Thursday's Child" as their first single. The first appearance of the song was on the soundtrack of the film Stigmata in 1999. It charted and peaked at No. 30 in Japan. The song's title takes influence from the song "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell" by The Stooges from their album Raw Power produced by Bowie himself.

Seven (David Bowie song) Song by David Bowie

"Seven" is a song written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels for the album Hours in 1999. As with some of the other songs from Hours it was originally written for the computer game Omikron - The Nomad Soul from 1999. In July 2000, it was released as the fourth single from the album. The version used in the Omikron – The Nomad Soul was called "Demo version" on the single releases.

"I've Been Waiting for You" is a song written by Neil Young, which he recorded for his 1968 debut solo album. In a song review for AllMusic, critic Matthew Greenwald described it as "One of the most powerful and well-crafted songs from Neil Young's self-titled solo debut ... A very strong and engaging melody is set against a striking, descending guitar riff, which serves as the song's hook."

The Hours Tour was a small-scale promotional concert tour by David Bowie comprising a handful of live performances and numerous television appearances in support of the album Hours in late 1999. Several live songs from the tour were included as b-sides to singles from the album, and concert recordings from the tour were released in 2020 as Something in the Air and in 2021 with David Bowie At The Kit Kat Klub .

<i>David Bowie</i> (box set) 2007 box set by David Bowie

David Bowie is a box set by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in June 2007 by Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia Records. The box set includes expanded versions of all of Bowie's Sony-owned albums: Outside, Earthling, Hours, Heathen and Reality..

<i>Brilliant Adventure (1992–2001)</i> 2021 box set by David Bowie

Brilliant Adventure (1992–2001) is a box set by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on 26 November 2021. A follow-up to the compilations Five Years (1969–1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976), A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) and Loving the Alien (1983–1988), the set covers the period of Bowie's career from 1992 to 2001, commonly regarded by analysts as an artistic renaissance following his commercially successful but critically maligned work in the 1980's. The set comprises eleven compact discs or 18 LPs.