been around twice

You've Been Around

"You've Been Around" is a song written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels in 1993 for the album Black Tie White Noise.

Like a few Bowie songs from the 1990s, this piece was originally a song written to be played by Bowie's hard rock band, Tin Machine to perform live; it was never released on a Tin Machine album. His choice to disband the group to return to a solo career gave him more creative control over his own pieces, and the differences between Tin Machine's version of "You've Been Around" and Bowie's version show a distinct stylistic change and preference. The piece was made more danceworthy, relying more upon the drums and rhythm section than the guitar-based arrangement of the Tin Machine era. Bowie has stated that he personally enjoyed taking Reeves Gabrels' guitar-playing and mixing it deeply into the background instead of having it at the forefront.

Bowie also makes heavy use of a loud, droning noise in the beginning in order to create a sense of ambiguity, so that the song only gradually takes form. The piece also makes use of a backup choir, singing in a gospel style, and features Lester Bowie taking a trumpet solo.

The lyrics are dark, concerning confusion amongst conflicting feelings of passion, violence, anger, and love. A reference to Bowie's signature song from 1971, Changes, is made when the narrator notes that his ominous other has changed him, with Bowie reminiscing about "Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-change."

Other releases

  • Reeves Gabrels recorded his version of the song for his album The Sacred Squall of Now released in 1995. This version also featured Bowie on lead and harmony vocals. Gary Oldman can be heard singing lead on the second verse. Some sources state that this is the original version of the song and that Bowie's version on BTWN is a reworking.
  • A remixed version of the song, Danger remix, remixed by Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto fame, was released on the single "Black Tie White Noise" and later on the bonus disc following the 10th anniversary edition of Black Tie White Noise.


  • Black Tie White Noise Limited Edition DVD, 2004
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