According to Paul Trynka, the author of David Bowie's biography Starman, this short, one-verse song was inspired by a row Bowie had with his wife Angie's friend, Roy Martin. They were visiting him in the studio and an argument started which developed into glasses being thrown. Co-producer Tony Visconti and Bowie's friend Iggy Pop had to run in and pull Bowie away from Martin. Bowie later penned the track with his bassist George Murray and drummer Dennis Davis.
A reworked, longer version was a regular on Bowie's 1978 tour and the singer's performance of the song at the Philadelphia Spectrum was used as the lead track on a 7" EP to promote Bowie's live album, Stage in the UK. The EP reached #54 on the UK Singles Chart in December 1978.
Nick Lowe's 1978 track, "(I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass," is a parody of this song.
Just before this album was recorded, Bowie became interested in Aleister Crowley and the Qabalah and the lyric "Don't look at the carpet, I drew something awful on it" reportedly refers to Bowie's practice of drawing the Tree of Life on the floor.
The version on Low runs just 1:51. A 3:28 version was issued in some European countries, but didn't come to America until 2017 when it was included on Bowie's boxed set, A New Career In A New Town.