The David Bowie song he called “a piece of sexist rock ‘n’ roll”

David Bowie

It might seem natural to believe that an artist would be on cloud nine after releasing their most commercially successful album. However, David Bowie was anything but ordinary. Following the immense success of his 1983 album, “Let’s Dance,” which became a mega-hit and his best-selling record, the British musician entered a creatively challenging period that he himself described as his “nadir.”

“Let’s Dance” was famously produced by Nile Rodgers, known as one of the most effective hitmakers in music history. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s timeless guitar work added to the album’s charm, blending dance-rock, new wave, and post-disco elements into a triumphant fusion. The album soared to the number one spot on charts on both sides of the Atlantic, solidifying Bowie’s status as a global superstar.

However, despite this commercial peak, “Let’s Dance” marked the beginning of a creative drought for Bowie, during which he lost his passion for his art. He later looked back on this period with great disappointment. His next two albums, “Tonight” in 1984 and “Never Let Me Down” in 1987, were the ones he disliked the most in his extensive career. Reflecting negatively on this era, he even referred to it as his “Phil Collins years.”

While Bowie acknowledged that “Tonight” had some redeeming qualities, he despised “Never Let Me Down” more than any other release. He went as far as to call it his lowest artistic point and described it as “such an awful album.”

Despite Bowie’s distinction between his 1984 and 1987 albums, he remained critical of “Tonight.” He seemed unimpressed by the material, even though the single “Blue Jean” emerged as a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and was one of the only two songs on the album written solely by him. He dismissed it as nothing more than a “piece of sexist rock ‘n’ roll,” lacking his typical intellectual depth.

In an interview in 1987, Bowie explained, “‘Blue Jean’ is a piece of sexist rock ‘n’ roll. [laughs] It’s about picking up girls. It’s not very intellectual, that piece.”

Prior to this, Bowie had revealed that the song was inspired by the music of the 1950s, particularly the style of Eddie Cochran. Just days after “Tonight” was released, he told the NME, “‘Blue Jean’ reminds me of Eddie Cochran. It was inspired by that Eddie Cochran vibe, but it’s also very Troggs-like. I don’t know… It’s quite eclectic, I suppose. What of mine isn’t?”

Interestingly, it wasn’t just David Bowie who had reservations about “Blue Jean.” When he asked “Tonight” co-producer Hugh Padgham which of his new songs he liked the least, Padgham singled out ‘Blue Jean,’ describing it as “really lightweight.”

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