Album release: The Buddha Of Suburbia

Perhaps David Bowie’s most overlooked album, The Buddha Of Suburbia was released on 8 November 1993.

It was initially marketed as the “Original Soundtrack Album” for the four-part BBC television series of the same name. It was not, however, a soundtrack, and instead contained new recordings inspired by Bowie’s work on the programme.

The album was given minimal promotion, and was released a week before the Bowie compilation The Singles Collection, which proved more alluring to casual purchasers in the run-up to Christmas. With limited distribution, The Buddha Of Suburbia did not receive a full worldwide release.

Coupled with the decision to issue the album without an image of Bowie on the front cover – for the first time since the original US ‘cartoon’ cover of The Man Who Sold The World – it was hardly surprising that it was widely overlooked.

The Buddha Of Suburbia original album cover artwork

The album reached a lowly number 87 in the United Kingdom. Bowie’s television soundtrack was nominated for a Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award, but failed to take the trophy.

I personally think my work in the ’90s has been the best that I could possibly do. It’s proved to have a lot of life and it’s got some strong devotees. From Black Tie…, I think I’ve not put out a shoddy piece of work. I’m very proud of it all. Especially things like The Buddha Of Suburbia, which went – pffft – under the radar. Maybe Buddha was an indication that I’d be going back into more experimental stuff, like Outside, again.
David Bowie
Uncut, October 1999

The single ‘The Buddha Of Suburbia’ was released on 22 November 1993, with ‘Dead Against It’ on the b-side. It peaked at number 35 in the UK charts.

Album release: Black Tie White Noise
Single release: Buddha Of Suburbia
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