Young Americans

Album: Young Americans (1975)
Charted: 18 28
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  • They pulled in just behind the bridge
    He lays her down, he frowns
    "Gee my life's a funny thing, am I still too young?"
    He kissed her then and there
    She took his ring, took his babies
    It took him minutes, took her nowhere
    Heaven knows, she'd have taken anything, but

    All night
    She wants the young American
    Young American, young American, she wants the young young American
    All right
    But she wants the young American

    Scanning life through the picture window
    Finds a slinky vagabond
    He coughs as he passes a Ford Mustang, but
    Heaven forbid, she'll take anything
    But the freak and his type all for nothing
    He misses a step and cuts his hand, but
    Showing nothing, he swoops like a song
    She cries "Where have all Papa's heroes gone?"

    All night
    She wants the young American
    Young American, young American, she wants the young young American
    All right
    But she wants the young American

    All the way from Washington
    Her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor
    "We live for just these twenty years
    Do we have to die for the fifty more have?"

    All night
    He wants the young American
    Young American, young American, he wants the young American
    Well he wants the young American

    Do you remember, your President Nixon?
    Do you remember, the bills you have to pay
    Or even yesterday?

    Have you been an un-American?
    Just you and your idol singing falsetto 'bout
    Leather, leather everywhere, and
    Not a myth left on the ghetto
    Well, well, well, would you carry a razor
    In case, just in case of depression?
    Sit on your hands on a bus of survivors
    Blushing at all the Afro-Sheeners
    Ain't that close to love?
    Well, ain't that poster love?
    Well, it ain't that Barbie doll
    Her heart's been broken just like you have

    All night
    You want the young American
    Young American, young American, you want the young American
    You want the young American

    You ain't a pimp, you ain't a hustler
    A pimp's got a Caddy and a lady got a Chrysler
    Black's got respect and white's got his Soul Train
    Mama's got cramps and look at your hands shake
    (I heard the news today, oh boy)
    I got a suite and you got defeat an'
    Ain't there a man who can say no more? An'
    Ain't there a woman I can sock on the jaw? An'
    Ain't there a child I can love without judging?
    Ain't there a pen that will write before they die?
    Ain't you proud that you've struck our faces?
    Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?

    All night
    I want the young American
    Young American, young American, I want the young American
    All right
    I want the young American Writer/s: David Bowie
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 34

  • Shawn Robbins from Ronkonkoma, New YorkThe song "Young Americans", which Bowie said was about "the predicament of two newlyweds", took two days to record
  • Daniel from TexasChristina, the entire band (besides Bowie) is American.
  • Brian Griffiths from Newfoundland, CanadaPeople please, the lyric should be " aint there a woman like a sock on the jaw". The man was a strong feminist.
  • Maggie from St Paul, MnIf you want the lyrics, just click on the "view lyrics" under the picture of David. Otherwise, you could just go on the 'net and find the lyrics.
  • Michael from Niceville, FlThe best line in the song is "ain't you proud that you slapped our faces?" This refers to the American Revolution. Yes, David, we are proud.
  • Doug from Ontario, OnThis song makes me think of Ted Bundy. He was the young American. All night.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhGreat song, always loved it. Came on Songfacts to see if there was a logical explanation of the lyrics but no, there isn't. But I don't care. I still love it. Bowie sings the words like an evangelical preacher building up a crescendo from the pulpit to get a reaction out of his congregation. And he succeeds. Then the sax...the sax struts in, around and thru the song, perfectly portraying the sexiness of the "Young American".
  • Robert from Brooklyn, NyI like the fact that the lyrics are poetic. You can draw images or meaning from some of them but most ambiguous and can be interpreted or felt very deeply in a universal kind of way.
  • John from Concord, NhInterpret it any way you want-it's about youth.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, MoI really like that line "We live for just these twenty years, do we have to die the fifty more?"
  • Sarah from Alta Loma, CaThis song hasn't anything to do with Americans being self-reflexive about themselves -- least of all 'cos Bowie's English. This is about the rest of the world piling its hopes and fears, in the 70s, anyway, onto Americans or what Americans were supposed to represent. "She" wants the Young American, "he" does, "you" all do, "I" do.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhAn underappreciated song form Bowie's short lived blue-eyed soul period. Listening to the album makes me wish he'd stuck with this persona a little longer.
  • John from Palm Beach Gardens, FlAlso, Bowie frames the song in the joy of funk and the key of tolerance, nods to the chaos, as always, which reminds us to enjoy even the sh*t.
  • John from Palm Beach Gardens, FlIt's about upsets, such as teenage pregnancy, moreover, how everyone seems rushed into this cruel world filled with ignorant, irresponsible, hormone-driven children, all of whom would make it better if they could rise above it, but upon doing so, seem to sink further down than before, as power corrupts, etc. He gives us a montage of street scenes and accidental freaks a la Bruce Springsteen lyrics and his reference to "Day in the Life" reaffirms the unfair, breakneck pace of innocence & youth ('these twenty years') giving way to the violent crush of the absurd 'fifty more.' It's Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray meets Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." She's have taken anything but... (a baby with no father) and worse, a junkie (beggin off the bathroom floor, etc.)
  • N from Staten Island, NyThis is the Baby Boomers song. We were the "Young Americans" he sang about in 1975.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesWhen I first heard it I couldn't make out a lot of the lyrics. To me, the song has an infectious Latin rhythm, and I ended up thinking it concerned Hispanic immigrants and their children, looking for a better life. It took me a while to untangle everything through Bowie's accent and singing style! This is an amazing song, summarizing an experience in time in the same manner as "American Pie" or "Broken Arrow". I hope Bowie will be remembered for this at least as much as Ziggy Stardust...
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzDid anyone read the lyrics?
  • Daniel from Cincinnatti, Ori like the beatles reference. Day in the Life has to be one of my favorite songs of all time
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWell without Chuck Berry and his influences, such as Muddy Waters wock n roll wouldn't be here.
  • Bob from Lakewood, OhI guess Christina has never heard of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, or Jimi Hendrix. Like it or not Christina, they're Americans too.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI always thought it was about issues and decision-makings of young generations as well.
  • Dsco from Texas, Txok, Muadie, I don't know where you got that, but david bowie was neither african-american nor looking for the american dream. This was a tribute, as stated above, and references the many influences while thanking those involved in its evolution, and yes, he is a genius. But sometimes you hit that genius mark on a 3 day coke binge. =)
  • Christina from Nor*cal, Caim srry but eligh musican are way better than americans. It seems that they have more rhythm. And it seems that each rock musican seems to add soul at one point or as their whole career. Such as Mick Jagger ["Brown Sugar"], Joss Stone
  • Eric from Scranton, PaDavid bowie wrote this song on a three day coke bing. He wrote every single musical part (guitar, sax, drums, lyrics) and the guitarist who played on this song claims that when he first heard it, he didn't understand what the hell david bowie was saying in this song, but after he listened to the song a couple of times, he said that it is about the 70's in general and that david bowie is a genius.
  • Leya Qwest from Anchorage, AkLily of Random Lake, you've hit it right on the money. This hit's definitely 'bout breaking on through the issues of desire, personal safety and intellectual freedom by adolescents and even now the sons and daughters of our baby boom generation. Guess it'll always be like that - the feelings and decision-makings of kids in America, and by probably a few late-blooming elders as well. DUM DUM DUM DUMMMMMMMMM.
  • Josh from Las Vegas, Nvfunny, I never knew i liked soul until this song
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScMark there's a view lyrics link on this facts page. Great song by the way! saxephone is cool!
  • Charlie from Stittstown, CanadaJohn Lennon did not produce the album or the title track, actually. After recording most of the material, David met John and the two recorded Fame and a cover of Across The Universe. The bulk of the album was recorded with Tony Visconti as the producer and does not feature John Lennon.
  • David from Plano, Txall this is all and well, but the reason behind the young american verse "i heard the news today, oh boy" is that john lennon produced not only the song but the album.
  • Paulo from New York, NyGeoff, it's sung as a tribute to "A Day in the Life"
  • Geoff from Adelaide, AustraliaThe bit where the background singers sings "I heard the news today, oh boy" sounds very very similar to the Beatles song "A Day in the Life"
    Both are great songs
  • Mark from Port Neches, TxCan anybody please get the lyrics to this song.
  • Lily from Random Lake, WiThis song has nothing to do with race. It encompasses the feelings within every young person living in America, including peer pressure, sex, choices, and hardships.
  • Maudie from Ft.worth, Txa song about african-americans and their
    struggle for the "american dream".
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