Beauty and the Beast (David Bowie song)
It was issued as the second single from the album in January 1978, becoming a minor UK hit, peaking at No.
39 on the UK Singles Chart.
Music and lyrics
The opening music, a disjointed combination of piano, guitar, electronics and voice rising steadily to a crescendo, has been described as sounding like "Bowie is about to turn into The Incredible Hulk before your very ears".
Fripp has stated that his guitar work on the track is a first take made straight upon arrival at the studio.
The lyrics have been interpreted as a look back at Bowie's severe mood swings during his cocaine addiction while living in Los Angeles from 1975 to 1976, with the line "Thank God Heaven left us standing on our feet" suggesting the singer's gratitude for making it through that period.
The phrase "someone fetch a priest" alludes not to a desire for religious succour but to co-producer Tony Visconti's frequent expletive during the recording sessions for "Heroes", "someone fuck a priest".
In another interpretation, James E. Perone wrote:
Release and aftermath
The follow-up single to ""Heroes"", "Beauty and the Beast" was considered an unconventional choice for release, reflected in it just scraping into the UK Top 40.
NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray remarked that its "jarring, threatening edge (and it was one of the most menacing singles of a menacing year) obviously put off a great many of the floating singles buyers attracted by the intoxicating romanticism of its immediate predecessor".
The US release failed to chart, despite being augmented by a promo 12" single featuring Bowie's earlier US No.
1 hit "Fame" on the B-side.
- "Beauty and the Beast (Special Extended Version)" (Bowie) – 5:18
- "Fame" (Bowie, John Lennon, Carlos Alomar) – 3:30
- 12" was only released in US (as a 12" Promo) and Spain.
- Performances from the Isolar II Tour have been released on Stage (1978) and Welcome to the Blackout (2018).
- The song was covered by the now-defunct Christian heavy metal band Deliverance on the album Camelot-in-Smithereens (1995).
- The song appeared on the following compilations:
- Chameleon (Australia and New Zealand 1979)
- The Singles Collection (1993)
- The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 (1998)
- The Collection (2005)
- The Platinum Collection (2005/2006)
- It was released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set.
- The extended version of the song, previously available only on a US 12" promo single and as a limited 12" single release in Spain, was released for the first time in digital and CD formats on Re:Call 3, part of the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set (2017).
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty and the Beast (David Bowie song).