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"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)"
File:Bowie ScaryMonstersSingle.jpg
Song by David Bowie
from the album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B-side"Because You’re Young"
Released2 January 1981
RecordedThe Power Station, New York, February 1980; Good Earth Studios, London, April 1980
Length3:27 (7" single edit)
5:10 (Full-length album version)
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
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"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" is the title track from David Bowie's 1980 album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps). It was also issued as the third single from that album in January 1981. Coming as it did in the wake of two earlier singles from Scary Monsters, "Ashes to Ashes" in August 1980 and "Fashion" in October the same year, NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray labelled its release another instance "in the fine old tradition of milking albums for as much as they could possibly be worth".[1]

Musically the track was notable for its lead guitar work by Robert Fripp and distinctive synthesized percussion. The lyrics, sung by Bowie in an exaggerated Cockney accent, charted a woman's withdrawal from the world and descent into madness ("When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home ... Now she's stupid in the street and she can't socialise"). Thematically it has been compared to Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" (1979),[1] and to the "claustrophobic romance" of Iggy Pop's 1977 collaborations with Bowie, The Idiot and Lust for Life.[2]

The edited single reached No. 20 in the UK charts. As well as 7" vinyl, it was issued in Compact Cassette format. It has since been performed on a number of Bowie tours.

Track listing[]

  1. "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" (Bowie) – 3:27
  2. "Because You're Young" (Bowie) – 4:51

The French release of the single had "Up the Hill Backwards" as the B-side.

Production credits[]

  • Producers:
  • Musicians:
    • David Bowie: Vocals, Keyboards
    • Robert Fripp: Guitar
    • George Murray: Bass
    • Dennis Davis: Drums
    • Tony Visconti: Acoustic guitar on "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)"


Chart (1981) Peak
U.K. Singles Chart 20
Irish Singles Chart 17

Live versions[]

  • A live performance filmed on 12 September 1983 was included on Serious Moonlight (1983 film).
  • Bowie performed the song on Saturday Night Live on 8 February 1997. This was later released on the album Saturday Night Live - 25 Years Volume 1.
  • Bowie and Reeves Gabrels performed an all-acoustic country and western version of the song for the radio station WRXT in Chicago Il on 16 October 1997.
  • Bowie performed the song with Nine Inch Nails numerous times during the Outside Tour.

Other releases[]

  • The song appeared on the following compilations:
    • Golden Years (1983) – album version
    • The Singles Collection (1993) – album version
    • Best of Bowie (2002) – single edit
    • The Platinum Collection – single edit
    • The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 (2007) – single edit
    • Nothing Has Changed (2014) (3-CD version) – single edit
  • It also appeared on the soundtrack of the PlayStation game Gran Turismo (1998).

Cover versions[]

  • Frank Black - Live recording (with David Bowie) (1997)
  • Ex-Voto - Goth Oddity: A Tribute to David Bowie (1999)
  • Sepulcrum Mentis - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)
  • Superchunk - Cup of Sand compilation (2003)
  • Tides of Mars - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
  • UFX - bonus track included on 2013 reissue of Sick Sick Sex (2008)
  • Joe Jackson - Live Music, Europe 2010 (2011)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: pp.112-115
  2. Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: p.180


Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

Template:David Bowie singles