David Bowie - The Buddha of Suburbia

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Posted on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:06am
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

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Album Overview

The Buddha of Suburbia is a 1993 soundtrack album by David Bowie which accompanied the 4-part television serial The Buddha of Suburbia on BBC2 (itself adapted from the book The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi).

The album was David Bowie's first soundtrack album, sitting between Black Tie White Noise (1993) and Outside (1995). It was produced and mixed at Mountain Studios (Montreux) in Switzerland and according to Bowie it took only six days to write and record, but fifteen days to mix due to some "technical breakdowns".

The album has been classified as a soundtrack although the title track was the only song to be featured in the television programme (see below).

Two of the tracks are ambient instrumentals and quite similar to Bowie's work with Brian Eno in the late 1970s. Other tracks on the album make strong use of saxophone, electronic keyboards and piano.


    1Buddha Of Suburbia4:28
    2Sex And The Church6:25
    3South Horizon5:26

    Piano: Mike Garson

    4The Mysteries7:12
    5Bleed Like A Craze, Dad5:22

    Drums, Bass, Guitar: 3D Echo
    Piano: Mike Garson

    6Strangers When We Meet4:58
    7Dead Against It5:48
    8Untitled No. 15:01
    9Ian Fish, U.K. Heir6:27
    10Buddha Of Suburbia4:19

    Guitar: Lenny Kravitz


    Although classified on the album cover as a soundtrack, this album is not the soundtrack Bowie wrote for the BBC dramatisation of Hanif Kureishi's book with the same name (which remains unreleased). Rather, after writing the actual soundtrack Bowie decided to work further on the same motifs, creating the radically different pieces that are heard on the album. Only the title track remained unaltered from the original soundtrack.


    Despite Bowie once hailing it as his favourite album, the European (released in 1993) and the American (released in 1995) versions were deleted for many years, or as Bowie put it: "The album itself only got one review, a good one as it happens, and is virtually non-existent as far as my catalogue goes – it was designated a soundtrack and got zilch in the way of marketing money. A real shame."

    To confuse matters even more, a "Buddha of Suburbia" single was also released in various guises, including a CD with holographic print. Consequently, the album itself is sometimes overlooked, despite the fact it is a full-length studio recording and featured ten tracks previously unreleased by the artist. "The Buddha of Suburbia" shows Bowie's talent as a musician; in fact on this record, he plays many instruments with the help of the multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kızılçay. Mike Garson plays piano on two tracks and Lenny Kravitz plays guitar on the title track (alternative version).

    The album was re-issued on 17 September 2007, in the UK and on 2 October 2007 in the US. The official press release showed that the cover of the re-issue would be similar to the 1995 US cover, but in colour and Bowie holding a slightly different pose, however, the actual cover is just a colourised version of the original US cover art. The re-issue contains both Bowie's former liner notes from the original UK issue and the inner artwork of the original US issue.


    On the European version of the album Bowie provides comprehensive liner notes on the themes and production techniques involved, and reveals a list of 'residue from the 1970s' as his inspiration for the songs. The list includes the following references:

    Free association lyrics, Pink Floyd, Harry Partch, Costume, Blues Clubs, Unter den Linden, Brucke Museum, Pet Sounds, Friends of the Krays, Roxy Music, T-Rex, The Casserole, Neu, Kraftwerk, Bromley, Croydon, Eno, Prostitutes & Soho, Ronnie Scott's Club, Travels through Russia, Loneliness, O'Jays, Philip Glass in New York clubs, Die Mauer, Drugs.


    • The album was first released in the UK and included extensive liner notes by Bowie that were not included with the later US release.
    • The album was packaged with an alternative cover in the US and was not released until 24 October 1995 (possibly due to a dispute between Bowie and the music industry).
    • Arista/BMG released a special edition of the soundtrack in a translucent plastic box, packaged with the Hanif Kureishi book. The catalogue number is Arista/BMG 74321-17822.
    • Virgin/EMI rereleased the album in 2007. Its catalogue number is 50999 5 00463 2 4/V2-00463.


    • David Bowie – vocals, keyboard, synths, guitar, alto & baritone sax, keyboard percussion
    • Erdal Kızılçay – keyboards, trumpet, bass, guitar, drums, percussion
    • 3D Echo – (Rob Clydesdale, Paul Davidson) drum, bass, guitar on "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad"
    • Mike Garson – piano on "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad" and "South Horizon"
    • Lenny Kravitz (courtesy of Virgin Records) – guitar on "Buddha of Suburbia" (rock mix)


    • David Bowie – production
    • David Richards - programming, engineering, mixing, production
    • Mike Ruggieri - piano recording
    • Dominik Taqua - assistant engineering
    • John Jefford, BBC - photography
    • David and Anne Hardy (Wybo Haas) - design
    • Special thanks to: Isolar, all at BMG, Coco & Mabs


    The Buddha of Suburbia (soundtrack) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Buddha_of_Suburbia_(soundtrack)