Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album coverRecorded: February-April 1980
Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti

Released: 12 September 1980 (UK), 15 September 1980 (US)

David Bowie: vocals, keyboards
Carlos Alomar, Robert Fripp, Chuck Hammer, Pete Townshend: guitar
George Murray: bass guitar
Roy Bittan: piano
Dennis Davis: drums, percussion
Andy Clark: synthesizer
Tony Visconti: backing vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion
Lynn Maitland, Chris Porter: backing vocals
Michi Hirota: spoken word

Tracklisting:

  • ‘It’s No Game (No. 1)’
  • ‘Up The Hill Backwards’
  • ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’
  • ‘Ashes To Ashes’
  • ‘Fashion’
  • ‘Teenage Wildlife’
  • ‘Scream Like A Baby’
  • ‘Kingdom Come’
  • ‘Because You’re Young’
  • ‘It’s No Game (No. 2)’

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) is David Bowie’s 14th studio album. It was the follow-up to his acclaimed Berlin trilogy of Low, “Heroes” and Lodger, and his last to be released by the RCA label.

Scary Monsters for me has always been some kind of purge. It was me eradicating the feelings within myself that I was uncomfortable with… You have to accommodate your pasts within your persona. You have to understand why you went through them. That’s the major thing. You cannot just ignore them or put them out of your mind or pretend they didn’t happen or just say ‘Oh I was different then.’
David Bowie
Musician, July 1990

The album was the last made with the team of producer Tony Visconti, guitarist Carlos Alomar, bass guitarist George Murray, and drummer Dennis Davis. These men had been the core team working on Bowie’s albums since the mid-1970s, and although Visconti and Alomar would work again with Bowie, this was last hurrah of the successful rhythm section known as the “DAM Trio”.

The Scary Monsters recording sessions began in New York a week after Bowie’s divorce from Angela Barnett was finalised. He was granted custody of their son Duncan, and she received a settlement of £500,000, to be paid over ten years.

Bowie’s new recordings were made in a period of hope and positivity, for both his resolved personal circumstances and the new decade.

There was a certain degree of optimism making that album, because I’d worked through some of my problems, I felt very positive about the future, and I think I just got down to writing a really comprehensive and well-crafted album.
David Bowie, 1999
The Complete David Bowie, Nicholas Pegg

Less optimistic, however, was Tony Visconti. The producer was in much demand, and although he was pleased to be working on a new Bowie album, his workload had left him exhausted.

It was our eighth studio album together and we began working in New York City in February, where David was now spending much of his time. However, there was one problem. I was burnt out. I had been working too hard ever since the day I got my first hit single with T.Rex. I had been spending too much of my time abroad and even if I was working in the UK I all too often stayed overnight in London. Even as I was preparing for the trip to New York, Mary [Hopkin] and I were discussing separation. I didn’t want to pass up working with David, and at the same time I didn’t want to leave Mary and the kids for another long project. It was a dilemma and as usual it was work that won.
Tony Visconti
Bowie, Bolan And The Brooklyn Boy