Single release: Buddha Of Suburbia

David Bowie’s single ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’ was released in Europe on 22 November 1993, two weeks after the album of the same name.

Neither release was a commercial success, and the single peaked at number 35 on the UK chart.

My own success as a songwriter and performer, I think, really flies or not on whether I’m doing it with a personal integrity. All my biggest mistakes are when I try to second guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it and just do what I want to do. Even if they’re dismissed, and perhaps rightly, there were a couple of albums in the ’80s that did exceptionally well for me – and I’m not a huge selling artist – but they’re not albums I’m proud of. I’d much prefer to say that I did Buddha Of Suburbia. I feel much more comfortable about that than about say Never Let Me Down even though it was a really big seller.
David Bowie
The Word, October 2003

7″ vinyl and cassette singles were released by Arista/BMG in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. All had the album track ‘Dead Against It’ on the b-side.

The same songs were included on a two-track ‘Collectors Edition’ CD single released in the UK, with holographic CD artwork.

A four-track CD single was also released in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. This contained the songs ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’, ‘South Horizon’, ‘Dead Against It’, and ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’ (Rock Mix). The latter was the album version featuring Lenny Kravitz.

Confusingly, the single’s first track also credited Kravitz on guitar, although he did not appear. However, this version incorporated the ending of the Kravitz version from the album.

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 video for ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’ featured footage from the BBC series of the same name, in addition to new shots of Bowie in Bromley.

The majority of Bowie’s scenes were filmed in St Matthew’s Drive, a bungalow-lined cul-de-sac, and in Whitehall recreation ground, close to Bowie’s childhood home in Clarence Road.

The video was directed by Roger Michell, who also co-wrote the screenplay and directed the TV adaptation. Two edits of the video were made, one of which omitted shots of Bowie smoking. This latter version was shown by US networks.

Last updated: 21 February 2019
Album release: The Buddha Of Suburbia
Rehearsal: Meadows Music Theatre, Hartford
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