Album release: Tonight

David Bowie’s 16th studio album, Tonight, was released on 24 September 1984. It was the follow-up to the multi-platinum Let’s Dance.

Tonight was released three weeks after the ‘Blue Jean’ single. The album was given a cautious critical reception, with some writers responding positively, and others complaining that the album lacked the innovation of Bowie’s earlier releases.

Tonight album cover

The album topped the charts in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and reached the top ten in Australia, Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and West Germany. In the US it stalled at number 11.

Bowie gave just one major interview in support of Tonight, to Charles Shaar Murray of the New Musical Express. Bowie appeared uncertain about his recent recordings, suggesting he was in a transitional phase and looking for a new direction.

I think this’ll be the last album where I’m involved in this kind of thing. There’s a particular sound I’m after that I haven’t really got yet and I probably won’t drop this search until I get it. I’ll either crack it on the next album or just retire from it. I think I got quite close to it on ‘Dancing With The Big Boys’, which got somewhere near where I wanted it to be. I think I should be a bit more adventurous. That was quite an adventurous bit of writing in the sense that we didn’t look for any standards. I got very musical over the last couple of years; I stayed away from experimentation. It’s not helpful sometimes, although it’s a good discipline.
David Bowie
NME, 29 September 1984
Single release: Blue Jean
Single release: Absolute Beginners
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