Singles and videos
The first single released from Never Let Me Down was ‘Day-In Day-Out’, which was issued on 23 March 1987 on 7″ and 12″ vinyl.
A video for the song, co-directed by David Bowie and Julien Temple, was shot in Los Angeles in early 1987. The clip was banned by several TV stations due to its gritty subject matter, even following the removal of an implied rape and a man urinating on Ronald Reagan’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star, and the substitution of a scene in which a child’s building blocks spell out the words ‘Mom’, ‘Food’, and ‘Fuck’.
We asked the police to work with us and they did very happily. We wanted to indicate how some of the houses for the homeless are removed, so we asked them to bring along the kind of contraption they use… it’s kind of like a tank with a big battering ram on the end of it. And on the end of the battering ram they’ve made a little joke. As it goes through the windows it goes ‘Have a nice day.’ And I pointed out that it would be in the video and they said they were only too pleased to keep it on, so they kept it on. Is that controversial? I don’t know.
Press conference, New York
The 7″ edition of ‘Day-In Day-Out’ had the album outtake ‘Julie’ on the b-side. The UK 12″ edition featured a remix of the song, an extended dub mix, and ‘Julie’.
In the US, the 12″ contained a 7″ dance edit, an extended dance mix, and an edited dance mix.
Bowie also recorded a Spanish-language version of the song, known as ‘Al Alba’ or ‘Dia Tras Dia’, in 1987. It was intended to promote the Spanish leg of the Glass Spider tour, Bowie’s first ever concerts in the country, yet received just one radio play. It remained unreleased until 2007, when it was issued as a digital download.
The second single, ‘Time Will Crawl’, was released in June 1987.
The b-side, ‘Girls’, was co-written by Bowie and Erdal Kızılçay. It was originally released as a single by Tina Turner in 1986, with a live version on her 1988 album Tina Live In Europe.
There were two UK 12″ singles of ‘Time Will Crawl’. One had an extended dance mix of the song, the LP version, and the full 5:35 version of ‘Girls’. The other contained ‘Dance crew mix’ and dub versions of ‘Time Will Crawl’, and a Japanese version of ‘Girls’.
The accompanying video was directed by Tim Pope, who later directed the film of Bowie’s 50th birthday celebration concert. The ‘Time Will Crawl’ promo was shot during rehearsals for the Glass Spider tour.
The third and final single from Never Let Me Down was the title track. Released on 17 August 1987, the single was Bowie’s last until 1990’s ‘Fame 90’.
‘Never Let Me Down’ was Bowie’s first single available on compact disc, in Japan. Bowie performed the song on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops on 16 September 1987, and it was included on the first American edition of the show.
The video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
That’s an experiment; I’m really putting myself in his hands. It’s for the song ‘Never Let Me Down’. I think if I did it, it would be very abrasive, and I’m not quite sure if that’s how I want the song to come off visually. In concert it will be abrasive; it won’t have the same quality as the video. But I really think Mondino is a fantastic video maker. He just knows that this is his genre. He’s like a craftsman and that’s what he’s trying to perfect, this craft of making his five minutes work.
Music & Sound Output, June 1987
The UK and US 7″ contained single versions of ‘Never Let Me Down’ and ‘’87 And Cry’.
In the US there were two 12″ vinyl variations. One had an extended dance mix, a dub version and an a capella version of ‘Never Let Me Down’, plus an edit of ‘’87 And Cry’. The other had the same four tracks, plus an additional 7″ remix edit and an instrumental of ‘Never Let Me Down’.
In Japan the song was released as a CD single, with same six tracks as the second US 12″ single.