Single release: Absolute Beginners

David Bowie’s single ‘Absolute Beginners’ was released on 3 March 1986.

The song was also included on the soundtrack album for the Absolute Beginners film on 7 April.

Unlike the film, which opened to poor reviews and low box office returns on 18 April, the song was a success, reaching number two on the UK singles chart.

Absolute Beginners single cover

The 7″ vinyl single had an edit which brought the song’s length down from 8:03 to 5:36. ‘Absolute Beginners’ (Dub Mix) was on the b-side.

The full-length song was included on 3″ and 5″ CD singles, and a UK 12″ vinyl single, all of which also contained the 5:40 Dub Mix.

In the US and Canada, a 12″ single contained an exclusive edit lasting 4:46, as well as the full-length version.

The film opened with a shorter version running to 2:18, and ended with an edit lasting 6:56. The soundtrack album also contains an instrumental, titled ‘Absolute Beginners (Refrain)’, performed by jazz pianist Gil Evans.

‘Absolute Beginners’ topped the charts in Finland, Ireland, and Poland. It was a top ten hit in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In the USA it peaked at 53 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Last updated: 15 February 2019
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