1984

Album: Diamond Dogs (1974)

Songfacts®:

  • Bowie wrote this as the theme to a musical version of George Orwell's novel 1984. The musical never surfaced as the Orwell estate would not authorize it, but several of the songs found their way on to Diamond Dogs, most noticeably "Big Brother" and "We Are The Dead."
  • This is the only song on the album to feature guitar by Alan Parker instead of Bowie. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Charlie - Stittstown, Canada, for above 2
  • This song's funk-inflected sound was indicative of where Bowie would head with his next album, Young Americans, during which he would hone the genre of "plastic soul."
  • This was covered by Tina Turner for her 1984 comeback album Private Dancer. It was produced by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh of the British band Heaven 17, who also helmed Turner's hit cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Martyn Ware told us that it was he who suggested that Turner record the song as he thought she should do something contemporary. He recalled: "I said, 'Why don't we do "1984"?' because this is in 1982. I thought, 'Very contemporary,' right? It's coming up. It's a topical subject. It puts her right flat back in the middle and looking very, very cool and modern. And I love the song anyway from Diamond Dogs, so that's how we did it."

    Turner recorded a duet with Bowie around the same time, which was the title track of his 1984 Tonight album.

Comments: 4

  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzTina Turner recorded this on "Private Dancer".
  • Kivi from Yekaterinburg, United StatesMy favorite song.
  • Nathan from BrugesVery genius! Diamond Dogs is one of his best albums!
  • Tricia from Edinburgh, ScotlandLove the book love the albulm
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. Televangelists

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.

Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee JonesSongwriter Interviews

Rickie Lee Jones on songwriting, social media, and how she's handling Trump.

Charlie Benante of Anthrax

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

Def Leppard Quiz

Def Leppard QuizMusic Quiz

Can you name Def Leppard's only #1 hit in America? Get rocked with this adrenalized quiz.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"They're Playing My Song

Armed with a childhood spent devouring books, Mike Scott's heart was stolen by the punk rock scene of 1977. Not surprisingly, he would go on to become the most literate of rockers.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.