All the Madmen

Album: The Man Who Sold The World (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • According to Nicholas Pegg's The Complete David Bowie, this song was inspired by Bowie's half-brother, Terry Burns, who suffered with serious mental health problems. In 1985, Burns killed himself when he escaped the grounds of the mental hospital where he was staying and put his head in the way of an oncoming train.

    In 1993, Bowie released the song "Jump They Say," which deals with his feelings about Terry's suicide.

Comments: 3

  • David Horton from Croydon, United KingdomThe facts, if i have them right, are, that David Bowies half brother Terry Burns, who unfortunatly comitted suicide, was in the hospital called Cane Hill in Croydon, Surrey, near london.

    He attempted to kill himself by jumping out of one of the hospital ward windows, but he survived and Cane Hill had some wards that were three story's high, some time after this failed attempt he was successful in managing to escape from the grounds of the hospital and arrive down at South Coulsdon station, where unfortunatly he succeded in throwing himself in front of a train, the hospital is now in the throws of being demolished.

    Just for the record Michael Cain the actor's brother was a patient here also and wait for it so was Charlie Chaplins mother, i live in Croydon and have visited the hospital myself, albeit illegaly, it was very dangerous, the floors were all rotten, my brother and i, were walking around the wards and nearly went through the floor to the next floor we felt the floor giveway so we stept back rather sharpish, very scary, so is the hospital, extremely spooky i can tell you, i have given you a web link to try out, take a look for your selves, ok. www.abandoned-britain.com/PP/canehill/1.htm and also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_Hill - good hunting dont get to frightened. From Dave Horton, Croydon.
  • Aida from Zagreb, Croatiait came from the title of a surreal film by Luis Bunel and Salvator Dali called "Le Chein Andalou" (1929.)- famous by shocking scene of person's eyeball being slit with a straight razor.

    p.s. love the song
  • Pascal from Avignon, France"Zane, Zane, Zane, Ouvre le chien" : Zane... Open the dog. In French "le chien" is also the hammer of a gun : this might be related to suicide. But why are these words in French ? Except for this, the sentence doesn't make any sense.
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