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David Bowie Tonight album cover
2.32 | 169 ratings | 8 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Loving The Alien (7:10)
2. Don't Look Down (4:09)
3. God Only Knows (3:05)
4. Tonight (3:43)
5. Neighborhood Threath (3:11)
6. Blue Jean (3:10)
7. Tumble And Twirl (4:58)
8. I Keep Forgetting (2:34)
9. Dancing With The Big Boys (3:34)

Total time 35:34

Bonus tracks on 1995 remaster:
10. This Is Not America (1985 single, from the film 'Falcon & The Snowman') (3:51)
11. As The World Falls Down (1986, from the film 'Labyrinth') (4:46)
12. Absolute Beginners (1986 single, from the film 'Absolute Beginners') (8:00)

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bowie / lead & backing vocals, co-producer

- Carlos Alomar / guitars (electric, 6- & 12-string acoustic, cuatro, Alembic Stereo)
- Derek Bramble / bass guitar, guitar, Steinway piano, synthesizers (Oberheim OBX, Jupiter 8, Yamaha DX7, PPG, Fairlight & Roland guitar synth), backing vocals, co-producer
- Arif Mardin / string & synthetizers arrangements and conducting
- Carmine Rojas / bass guitars
- Mark King / bass (7)
- Omar Hakim / drums & Simmons electronic drums
- Sammy Figueroa / percussion
- Guy St. Onge / marimba
- Robin Clark / vocals
- George Simms / vocals
- Curtis King / vocals
- Tina Turner/ vocals (4)
- Iggy Pop / vocals (9)
- Mark Pender / trumpet, flugelhorn
The Borneo Horns :
- Stanley Harrison / alto & tenor saxes
- Steve Elson / baritone sax
- Lenny Pickett / tenor sax, clarinet

- Pat Metheny Group (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Mick Haggerty

LP EMI America ‎- DB 1 (1984, UK)

CD EMI America ‎- CDP 7 46047 2 (1984, Europe)
CD Virgin ‎- CDVUS 97 (1995, Europe) Remastered by Nigel Reeve & Peter Mew with 3 bonus tracks
CD EMI ‎- 521 8970 (1999, Europe) New 24-bit remaster by Nigel Reeve & Peter Mew

Thanks to MANDRAKEROOT for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DAVID BOWIE Tonight Music

DAVID BOWIE Tonight ratings distribution

(169 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(8%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (39%)
Poor. Only for completionists (20%)

DAVID BOWIE Tonight reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy

After the incredible success of the album Let's Dance as well as of the three singles from it, an old servant is back for "Tonight". But he won't be able to change the global mood of this album.

It is obvious that David is willing to recreate another smash hit album with "Tonight" but the song writing is just not on par. Same sort of post-disco beat for "Loving The Alien" which is over-extended and literally crumbling under heavy and useless orchestrations.

But what to say about "Don't Look Down"? A poor and syrupy reggae ballad of no interest at all. I guess that you know what to do. Press nextT. It is a cover from Iggy Pop's song featured on his album "New Values". But this version has absolutely none.

I remember that when I purchased the album at the time of release, I almost never listened to it after the first couple of spins. Only a few tracks were average to good, at best. And the cover version of "God Only Knows" definitely doesn't belong to this category. Bowie acting as a crooner in another poor and heavily orchestrated song. You know which key to press, I guess.

This album was (is) a major disappointment for me. Even if "Let's Dance" was not highly creative, at least it featured several excellent songs. On "Tonight", these are REALLY scarce.

David is trying the same recipe: releasing a different version of some songs that he wrote for his old mate Iggy Pop. This time, two songs from "Lust For Life" are featured. The title track (again, reggae oriented) featuring . Tina Turner on the backings. Poor, poor, poor. The listener has even to suffer a short marimba passage. What happened, David? The original version was waaaaay better, fresher and fun.

Is this going to be a permanent "press next"T exercise? I haven't been used to this David!

The next one to show a new look is "Neighborhood Threat". The beat here being very close to "Modern Love". At least, it is catchy, dynamic and one of the best song so far (but this was very easy). But the rocking original also sound a lot better.

Under these circumstances, the hit "Blue Jean" almost comes as a relief, even if not grandiose. An extended clip (over twenty minutes) will make it famous. A good pop song, in the vein of what was available on his previous album. It reached number six in the UK and the eighth spot in the US.

Iggy is again "helping" Bowie in the song writing, but "Tumble & Twirl" is closer to the masquerade than to a good tune. It is obvious that David had absolutely no inspiration at all for this album.

It is full of existing songs (two he wrote for Iggy) covers (three, of which one song from Iggy in which David was not involved) and co-written tracks. One of the cover ("I Keep Forgetting"), is an old rock'n'roll tune from the early sixties. But you know what to do.

The last song is another blunder. "Dancing With The Big Boys". Co-written again (with Pop & Alomar). It is probably one of his poorest songs. When you know that this album reached the number one spot in the UK charts! Of course, if everybody bought it, listened to it two or three times (like myself), I can understand how it comes.

The good news about this album, is that it is a short one. But that's really the only one. This album is a nightmare. Bowie's "Abacab" if you see what I mean. Same rating.

What have you done, David?

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In between two of his best albums, Scary Monsters (1980) and Black Tie White Noise (1993), David Bowie put out a series of dissapointing and lackluster albums. Tonight is one of those albums, and quite possibly the most lackluster of the bunch. This is a pretty uneven effort that has at least one great song, a couple that are OK and plenty that are awful.

The one good song on here, Loving the Alien, is classic Bowie in that it packs an album's side worth of material into a mini-epic seven minute artsy pop-rock song. This song holds up well against any material from his golden age of creativity (late 70s). Suprisingly, the next best thing on here are the two reggae songs. Usually reggae played by rock bands is unlistenable, but David has a pretty good understanding of the subtle nuances of this music. His fake Jamaican vocal styles are also suprisingly good and not embarrassing at all. Don't Look Down in particular is nice with Bowie combining his art-rock tendencies with the reggae style.

Unfortunately everything else on here is mediocre to bad. Neighborhood Threat is a tedious 80s style rocker made for AOR FM radio and Blue Jean brings back David's insincere old-school good times RnB style that made so much money for him on Let's Dance. For the rest of the album you get two 80s style cheezy world beat rip-offs that just need an over-sized suit and they would be David Byrne, plus two poorly performed covers. It's hard to believe Bowie could screw up a song like Brian Wilson's God Only Knows. This song is so perfect in the first place all you have to do is get out of the way and let the song work it's magic, somehow instead it becomes a jumbled mess that finally gets on track at the end for some nice dramatic vocalizing.

If you really must own everything Bowie has done then there are one or two songs on here that are worth hearing, otherwise there are so many albums he is has done that are so much better.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Aw, C'mon! what's going on here? Bowie will release worse than this in 3 years time. I actually quite like this album. And yeah - there is half an albums worth of cover songs on it, but it's still better than anything 'Tin Machine' did. I can't bring myself to slag this one. It has a great front cover (I'm a Graphic Artist in Scotland), 'Loving the Alien' is superb and the one truly odd tune on the album, 'Don't Look Down' is Bowie for dark quiet nights, 'God Only Knows', is... well... rubbish really.

Hey, never mind! here's side 2: 'Neighbourhood Threat' Good upbeat shouty Bowie with funky guitar, great!. Blue Jean - well we all know about one that don't we?. 'Tumble and Twirl': Has there ever been another Bowie song like this? No. I don't think so, therefore it lies in the pantheon of Bowie oddities. 'I Keep Forgetting' - Pah! Another cover version: but the man pulls it off with some aplomb. 'Dancing With the Big Boys': best tune on the album? perhaps, but I'd go for the strange Loving the Alien before this Iggy Pop cover. Gosh, it's a right mish mash!

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars Bowie in the 1980's gradually loses zeal as time passes. His fan will give the evaluation by the age and the album. The time of the 1980's has an element electronic various music and there might be a person who catches in the opinion if it was an inorganic age, too. The creation of Bowie always catches the age and was advanced in the people front. His style was kept a little though his work in the 80's also had ..POP.. element. And, the album is also to the music character and has been changed little by little. And, the guest who had participated in the recording was also variegated. Robert Fripp and Pete Townshend were appointed in "Scary Monsters" in 1980. And, Nile Rodgers has been appointed to Stevie Ray Vaughan and the producer in continuing "Let's Dance" in 1983. "Tonight" gives the impression that has been buried in the history of his music so that there is an opinion made for these albums to sell comparatively in the opinion or for the music character to be kept to some degree, too. His fan will be caught with the work that fails in this album. Fact Bowie is answered in the interview with a purpose at this time as zeal. It might be one of the factors of the failure to have adopted Cover Song. And, the story said that Bowie called him to save Iggy Pop economically driven in to the predicament will perplex people further. However, the opinion made for a good tune to be included in this "Tonight" in the opinion exists, too. The opinion made that it is not bad when listening again is very generous. However, his zeal is especially lost at this time. The performance of Omar Hakim active with WR is not so remarkable here either. If "Loving The Alien" was not collected to this album, my evaluation might have been lower. This tune was the only saving for me.
Review by tarkus1980
1 stars Ah, now there's the hideous album I was expecting last time. From a dollars and cents perspective, it made sense for Bowie to get an album out as soon as possible in order to capitalize on the commercial success of Let's Dance, but consider: it had taken Bowie more than two years to come up with two good new songs, an updated version of a good track he'd done in a collaboration half a decade previous, a good cover of a song from that same period, and a bunch of mediocre filler. Somebody in Bowie's camp really should have been able to fight their syncophantic urges and make a case that it was a good idea to take some more time with the followup. Instead, we get an album with no great hit singles ("Blue Jean," one of only two songs on here credited solely to Bowie, might have been a moderate hit, but it's nowhere near as addictive and fun as the big three from the last album, and I'd actually say it kinda stinks), none of the absurdly incongruous and great guitar work SRV was able to provide on Let's Dance, and a whole lot of other problems. Bowie relies on his old friend Iggy Pop a lot on this album, and every instance of it is a disaster. "Don't Look Down" (credited to Pop and fellow Stooge James Williamson) and the title track (a cover of a track from Pop's 1977 solo album Lust for Life, though to be fair Bowie actually wrote it) are excursions into the world of directionless 80's synth-based faux reggae, and they're every bit as bad as that description makes them sound. "Neighborhood Threat," another retread from Lust for Life, attempts to rock out but is undermined by the production, and both "Tumble and Twirl" and "Dancing with the Big Boys" are messy, practically melodyless attempts at something dancable but that don't even really work on that level.

Guess what? This only leaves three more tracks! The cover of "God Only Knows," soaked with standard production values of the day, is just as shlocky as can possibly be. I'm not an enormous Beach Boys fan, and I'm not offended at the very idea of somebody covering the track (I think the cover Justin Hayward did a few years later on his Classic Blue album is just lovely), but this doesn't work on any level other than pure kitsch. The cover of the old Leiber and Stoller song, "I Keep Forgettin," is definitely better, as it's kinda fun and goofy, but it's still just a pleasant throwaway. And so that leaves the opener as the only track that even comes within sniffing distance of a great Bowie song. "Loving the Alien" would have been better served with a different production approach, of course, but it has enough legitimate anthemic and emotional power to justify its seven minutes, and it has the only really nice guitar solo on the album, so while it's not in the top-tier of Bowie tracks, I can at least envision how it might have reached that level in another incarnation.

It might be tempting to shrug one's shoulders on this and say something like, "Oh, this is just a product of its time, just enjoy it for what it is." If you think this, do yourself a favor and listen to this back-to-back with Purple Rain, which came out just a couple of months before this one. If you really can't tell the difference in quality between that (a good pop artist at the height of his powers) and this (another good pop artist entering a career valley), then I don't know what to tell you. Find "Loving the Alien" somewhere, but don't spend good money on this.

Review by HolyMoly
3 stars David Bowie "sold out" in a glorious way for his prior effort, the blockbuster "Let's Dance" album, so it probably wasn't a surprise when this follow-up album seemed pretty shallow and superficial on the surface. Pure 80s pop, with a ringer for a hit single ("Blue Jean"), and a large handful of filler. Total crap, right?

Well, no. There's actually plenty to love about this album.. For one thing, "Blue Jean" is probably in its own way the simplest, most wonderful song Bowie ever recorded. The stop/start riff that introduces the verses makes a great hook, and the transition to the minor chorus with the doo-wop-esque backing vocals is just wonderful. I would gladly listen to this song on repeat all day long. The fan favorite on this album is the opening epic "Loving the Alien", which even skeptics would have to agree is just a beautiful song with some really nice chord changes. As an opening track, it occupies the same haunting, regal territory as, say, "Come Talk to Me" by Peter Gabriel. Melancholic grandeur, this is prime Bowie. So at the very least, this album has 2 bona fide classics on it.

For the remaining songs, Bowie again plunders his pal Iggy Pop's catalog for three decent-to-great cover versions: "Don't Look Down" (from Iggy's "New Values" album) done as a Police-like reggae ballad quite nicely; the title track "Tonight" (from Iggy's "Lust for Life" album, co-written by Bowie), done as a cheesy duet with Tina Turner (ah, the 80s); and fast rocker "Neighborhood Threat" (also from "Lust for Life"), done in a similar albeit glossier manner to the original. So it's pretty clear Dave was short for material here, but luckily he had some good Plan B's to fall back on.

The two other covers are less successful, though. The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" is completely butchered (God only knows, indeed, what the hell Bowie was thinking here), and the Leiber/Stoller number "I Keep Forgettin'" is just okay. That leaves just two more originals, the pretty neat "Tumble and Twirl", a vaguely Latin dance number that works just fine for what it is; and the bombastic closer "Dancing With the Big Boys" which is one of the weaker songs on the album, ending the album on a bum note.

Three stars. If you have any affinity for 80s music, you could do a lot worse than this. And the highlights "Loving the Alien" and "Blue Jean" alone make this a worthwhile purchase for fans.

Review by Warthur
3 stars This is almost, but not quite, another covers album for Bowie - and also a bit of an uncredited collaboration with Iggy Pop. Of the five cover songs on this, three of these are of Iggy tracks - and sure, Tonight and Neighborhood Threat were originally cowritten by Pop and Bowie for the Lust For Life album, but Don't Look Down is from New Values, proving that Bowie had kept up with Iggy's career even after their careers had gone in different directions for a bit.

In addition, Pop co-writes Tumble and Twirl and Dancing With the Big Boys, the latter of which he guests on. On the whole, then, the album is a bit of a reunion, laying the groundwork for what would be Pop's most commercially successful (and most hook-laden) album of the 1980s, Blah Blah Blah.

However, it really doesn't sound that way - for better or worse, Bowie gives about as un-Iggy-ish a spin as he can to a lot of the material. Take, for instance, the reggae-inflected take on Tonight, or the torch song version of the Beach Boys' God Only Knows - or the epic album opener Loving the Alien, a brief glimmer of Bowie's old alien art rock stylings.

On the whole, it's a pleasant enough listen, but don't expect grand things of it: it's not quite one thing or another and as such is best approached as a collection of fun songs, not as a cohesive album.

Latest members reviews

1 stars On the night train to Las Vegas. I think it is pretty fair to assume that even David Bowie regard this album as a turkey. He had a massive success with Let's Dance and someone, either he or someone else who were earning a lot of dollars on his commercial successes, wanted to rush out an album ... (read more)

Report this review (#343837) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, December 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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