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.