UK album release: Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

David Bowie’s 14th studio album, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), was released in the United Kingdom on 12 September 1980.

It was the follow-up to his acclaimed Berlin trilogy of Low, “Heroes” and Lodger, and his last to be released by the RCA label. Scary Monsters was available in the US three days after the UK release, on 15 September 1980.

RCA, who were relieved to have what they considered to be a relatively mainstream Bowie album, promoted Scary Monsters with the tagline: “Often copied, never equalled.” Bowie had had intended to tour in support of the album in September 1980, but the live dates were postponed after he accepted the title role in the Broadway play The Elephant Man. It was claimed at the time that the tour would take place in spring the following year, although Bowie did not go on the road again until 1983.

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album cover

Scary Monsters was Bowie’s first album to top the UK charts since Diamond Dogs. It also reached number one in Australia, France and New Zealand, and was a top ten hit in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and West Germany.

In the US the album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200, Bowie’s highest album chart placing since Low.

Scary Monsters received wide critical praise, even receiving seven out of five stars in Record Mirror. Bowie was voted best male singer of 1980 in that weekly’s end-of-year poll, and received the same award from the Daily Mirror/BBC Radio Rock and Pop Awards.

When we finished mixing we knew we had done something very special. Scary Monsters was so incredibly satisfying to make; fans and critics alike validated us. This was one of our finest hours – and Blackstar was yet to come some thirty-six years later.
Tony Visconti, April 2017
A New Career In A New Town book
Single release: Ashes To Ashes
US album release: Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
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