Young Americans (song)
"Young Americans" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in 1975. It is included in the album of the same name. The song was a breakthrough in the United States, where the glam rock of Bowie's earlier career had limited popularity outside the major cities. The song reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his second biggest success on that chart until that point.
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Young Americans|
|Released||21 February 1975|
|Studio||Sigma Sound, Philadelphia|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
In 2010, the song ranked at number 486 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2016, it ranked at number 44 on Pitchfork's list of the 200 best songs of the 1970s.
The first studio result of Bowie's mid-1970s obsession with soul music, "Young Americans" was a breakthrough for the artist in the United States (where the single was released in an edited 3:11 version). The sound, later described by Bowie as "plastic soul", was matched by a cynical lyric, making references to McCarthyism, black repression via Rosa Parks, Richard Nixon (who resigned the US presidency two days before the recording session), and a near-direct lift from the Beatles’ "A Day in the Life" with the line "I heard the news today oh boy!" (John Lennon, who wrote that line, appeared twice on the Young Americans album, providing guitar and backing vocals on his own "Across the Universe" and "Fame", for which he also received a co-writing credit). The backing vocal arrangement was suggested by Luther Vandross.
"America", noted production team The Matrix, "is a bit like a teenager: brimming with energy and imagination, occasionally overstepping the mark, but always with a great sense of possibility. Bowie captured a big piece of that in 'Young Americans'."
All songs written by David Bowie except as noted.
- "Young Americans" – 5:10
- "Suffragette City" (Live) – 3:45
|Australian Singles Chart||27|
|Canadian Singles Chart||33|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||7|
|UK Singles Chart||18|
|US Billboard Hot 100||28|
|US Cash Box||20|
|US Billboard Rock Songs||25|
("Young Americans" only except Bowie)
- David Bowie – vocals, guitar
- Carlos Alomar – guitar
- Willie Weeks – bass
- Mike Garson – piano
- Andy Newmark – drums
- David Sanborn- sax
- Larry Washington – congas
- Ava Cherry – backing vocals
- Robin Clark – backing vocals
- Luther Vandross – backing vocals
- A live in-studio performance of "Young Americans", taped on 2 November 1974, is included on the DVD sets The Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons and Best of Bowie.
- A live performance from the Serious Moonlight Tour, filmed on 12 September 1983, was included on the concert DVD Serious Moonlight (1984) and on the live album Serious Moonlight (Live '83), which was part of the 2018 box set Loving the Alien (1983-1988) and was released separately the following year.
- The song was performed during Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour and was released on Glass Spider (1988/2007).
- "Young Americans" was retired from live performances during the Sound+Vision Tour (1990).
- The album version of the song has appeared on several compilations:
- The US single version appears on Rare (1982), The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 (1998), the American/Canadian edition of Best of Bowie (2002), Re:Call 2 (part of the Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) boxed set released in 2016), and the 2-CD and vinyl editions of Bowie Legacy (2016).
- An edit of the 2007 Tony Visconti mix appears on the 2014 Nothing Has Changed compilation.
- The song was released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set.
- It appears on the soundtrack of 20 Feet From Stardom.
In other mediaEdit
The song has accompanied the end credits of Dogville and Manderlay, the first two films of Lars Von Trier's trilogy USA - Land of Opportunities. "Young Americans" was also featured on the soundtrack of John Hughes' film Sixteen Candles.
It was used in the trailer to the Ben Stiller-directed film Reality Bites to show how Generation X had been affected by earlier American history. It was used in the 2012 thriller Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise.
The 2015 British drama series The Enfield Haunting featured the song during the finale and end credits of the final episode.
- Edwards, Gavin (5 June 2014). "Flashback: David Bowie and Cher Duet on 'Young Americans'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- Vogelman, Nee (18 January 2016). "The 20 Greatest David Bowie Singles". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
- Pitchfork Staff (22 August 2016). "The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 12 September 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Collis, Clark; et al. (October 2003). "The 1001 greatest songs to download right now!". Blender Number 20. p. 98.
- "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 70" (in French). InfoDisc. 1 March 1975. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Young Americans". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Heath, Chris (11 January 2015). "7 David Bowie Songs to Play Over and Over Today". GQ. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2015.