David Bowie

Song Review by Dave Thompson

The first of the four neo-instrumentals which populated side two of David Bowie's mold-breaking Low album, "Warszawa" was titled for the Polish city which Bowie visited during 1976. The track's bleak, oppressive mood, he explained, was his attempt to capture the feeling he got from the city itself; the wordless vocal refrain was based upon a recording of a Balkan boys choir he had recently obtained.

A regular in Bowie's 1978 live set, "Warszawa" has continued turning up in the oddest places. Joy Division's original incarnation as Warsaw was named for the song, while Bowie's own "Jazzing for Blue Jean" video features an excerpt of the song, in the scene where "hero" Screaming Lord Byron is relaxing in his dressing room. A decade later, touring the U.S. with Nine Inch Nails, Bowie would occasionally join that band on stage to perform a version of the piece.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Low 1977
Parlophone 6:20
Christiane F. [Video] 1984 Media Records
Ricochet 1985 Polygram
Tech Unit 1991 Rykodisc
Christiane F./Baal/Rarities 1995 Remembering Mark Feld 6:21
All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977-1999 2001 EMI Music Distribution 6:22
The Art of Chill 4 2007 Platipus 6:17
Control [Original Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Rhino / Warner Bros. 6:21
A New Career in a New Town [1977-1982] 2017 Parlophone / Rhino 6:53