The singles

‘Jump They Say’ was released on 15 March 1993, three weeks ahead of Black Tie White Noise.

It was issued on compact disc and 7″ and 12″ vinyl editions. The 7″ single contained a radio edit of ‘Jump They Say’, with ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix) on the b-side.

There were two CD singles in the UK. The first was issued in a double-disc case with space for the second disc, and an eight-page discography.

The track listing was ‘Jump They Say’ (7″ version); ‘Jump They Say’ (Hard Hands Mix); ‘Jump They Say’ (JAE-E Mix); and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix). The second CD contained ‘Jump They Say’ (Brothers in Rhythm Mix); ‘Jump They Say’ (Brothers in Rhythm Instrumental); ‘Jump They Say’ (Leftfield 12″ vocal); and ‘Jump They Say’ (Full album version).

In the US the CD single had six tracks: ‘Jump They Say’ (Album Version); ‘Jump They Say’ (Radio Edit 1); ‘Jump They Say’ (Club Hart remix); ‘Jump They Say’ (Leftfield Remix); ‘Pallas Athena’ (Album version); and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix). ‘Jump They Say’ (Radio Edit 1) was released elsewhere as the ‘JAE-E Edit’ and the ‘Alternate Mix’.

There was also a 12″ edition released in the US. It contained ‘Jump They Say’ (Brothers in Rhythm mix), ‘Jump They Say’ (Leftfield remix) and ‘Jump They Say’ (JAE-E remix) on one side, and ‘Jump They Say’ (Brothers in Rhythm edit)’, ‘Jump They Say’ (Dub Oddity remix), and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying remix) on the b-side.

‘Jump They Say’ was a top ten hit in the UK, Norway, and Spain, and reached number six on the US Billboard Dance Club Play chart.

The video was directed by Mark Romanek, and contained visual references to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, Chris Marker’s La Jetée, and Orson Welles’ The Trial.

The second single was ‘Black Tie White Noise’. Released on 31 May 1993, it was credited to “David Bowie featuring Al B Sure!”.

The single did not sell well, peaking at number 36 in the UK. It fared even worse in the US, failing to chart despite appearances by the singers on The Arsenio Hall Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

It’s an interesting thing. White noise itself is something that I first encountered on the synthesizer many years ago. There’s black noise and white noise. I thought that much of what is said and done by the whites is white noise.

‘Black ties’ is because, for me, musically, the one thing that really turned me on to wanting to be a musician, wanting to write, was black music, American black music – Little Richard and John Coltrane in the 1950s.

The first artist I really sort of dug was Little Richard when I was about eight years old. I found it all very exciting – the feeling of aggression that came through the arrangements. It was like breaking up the sky – his voice broke out of the skies – an extraordinary voice. That’s what triggered my interest in American black music. That led me to the blues, John Lee Hooker and all those guys, and for a number of years I worked with rhythm and blues bands, and my participation in them formed my own black ties in that area of music…

I don’t think there’s been an album that hasn’t owed a lot to rhythm and blues music. Everything that I’ve done has had that basis.

David Bowie
Record Collector, May 1993

As with ‘Jump They Say’, there were a number of remixes spread across a dizzying array of formats. The 7″ single contained a radio edit of ‘Black Tie White Noise’, with ‘You’ve Been Around’ (Dangers Remix) on the b-side.

The CD single contained four tracks: ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Radio Edit); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Extended Remix); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Urban Mix); and ‘You’ve Been Around’ (Dangers Remix).

There was also a difference CD single issued in the US, as Savage 74785-50045-2: ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Waddell’s Mix)’; ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (3rd Floor Mix); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Al B Sure! Mix); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Album Version); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Club Mix); ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Digi Funky’s Lush Mix); and ‘Black Tie White Noise’ (Supa Pump Mix).

The video, again directed by Mark Romanek, featured scenes of Bowie and Al B Sure! intercut with urban scenes from Los Angeles.

The third and final single from Black Tie White Noise was ‘Miracle Goodnight’, issued on 11 October 1993.

I loved that song ‘Miracle Goodnight’, though. I thought it was incredible. If he’d released that as the first single, he would have had a smash. He had another song, ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’, which was a guaranteed number one record, and everyone around him was totally perplexed when it only appeared as a bonus track on the CD. He was running from success and running from the word ‘dance’. Imagine David Bowie and Nile Rodgers together, and we come out with a song ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’. Smokin’!! I was already accepting my Grammy. But he was not budging. It was an exercise in futility – no matter who I tried to call, it fell on deaf ears.
Nile Rodgers
Strange Fascination, David Buckley

Although the song had great commercial potential, its release six months after the album meant it only just scraped into the UK top 40.

The 7″ single had ‘Looking For Lester’ on the b-side. A 12″ version, meanwhile, had ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (Blunted 2)’, ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (Make Believe Mix), ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (2 Chord Philly Mix), and ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (Dance Dub).

The standard CD single contained ‘Miracle Goodnight’, ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (2 Chord Philly Mix), ‘Miracle Goodnight’ (Masereti Blunted Dub), and ‘Looking For Lester’.

The video for ‘Miracle Goodnight’ was directed by Matthew Rolston, and featured Bowie in a number of guises: a harlequin mime artist, a suave pinstripe-suited figure reclining in a harem of women, and even a return of the Thin White Duke.

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