David Bowie

Boys Keep Swinging

Composed by Brian Eno / David Bowie

Song Review by

Five years after "Rebel Rebel" saw David Bowie wave goodbye to his gender-bending glam persona of old, 1979's "Boys Keep Swinging" exploded out of the Lodger album with a wild celebration of sexual ambiguity, set to a frantic musical soundtrack that was as clearly indebted to the then-prevalent new wave scene as it was to Bowie himself.

An immediate Top Ten single in the U.K., "Boys Keep Swinging" is one of Bowie's most simplistically effective constructions. Anxious to capture the sound of boys indeed swinging, he instructed his band members to swap instruments for the song. And so, with drummer Dennis Davis on bass, guitarist Carlos Alomar on percussion, and so on, "Boys Keep Swinging" erupts with an almost amateurish enthusiasm, clattering and clonking to delirious effect.

Bowie gave the song its first live airing on Saturday Night Live in early 1979. However, it has only been featured during one tour, 1995's Outside.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Lodger 1979 Rykodisc 3:18
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
Christiane F. Wir Kinder 1982 EMI Digital / Parlophone 3:18
No Image 1984
Various Artists
Sound + Vision 1989 Parlophone / Rhino 3:18
No Image 1991 Ryko Distribution
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:16
The Video Collection 1993 Rykodisc
The Singles Collection 1993 Parlophone 3:17
Christiane F./Baal/Rarities 1995 Remembering Mark Feld 3:18
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 1998 EMI Music Distribution / Parlophone 3:23
The Singles Collection 2 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:17
Best of Bowie 2002 EMI / EMI Digital 3:18
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 3:28
Going Underground: Teenage Kicks, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Sanctuary 3:17
The Platinum Collection 2006 Parlophone 3:23
No Image 2006 Jones/Tintoretto
Zeit! 77-79 2013 EMI / Virgin 3:18
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Parlophone 3:17
No Image 2016 GC / Rhino / Warner Music 3:17
blue highlight denotes editor's pick