Cover artwork

The sleeve design for Tonight was by Mick Haggerty, who had previously worked on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

Haggerty’s design for Tonight owed a clear debt to Gilbert and George. It depicted a blue-tinted Bowie before a stained-glass effect oil painting, with roses and lilies amid the bold brush strokes.

The singles

The first single from Tonight was ‘Blue Jean’. It was released on 1 September 1984, with ‘Dancing With The Big Boys’ on the b-side.

‘Blue Jean’ was accompanied by three separate videos. Jazzin’ For Blue Jean was a 21-minute short film directed by Julien Temple, which won the 1985 Grammy Award for best video, short form – the only one won by Bowie in his lifetime.

It’s a bit like the album: for me, that was like standing back; having the courage to admit that other people have their own ideas on what should be done and that I should be so graspingly self-opinionated about what’s best, not granting other people the respect that they deserve as musicians or whatever job that they have. It’s taken me an awful long time to get to that point. I feel much easier working on a collaboration basis now…

The thing that we’ve just put together is more like a ’50s short than a video, the music takes a back seat – more or less. It’s a piece in the film. The first thing that EMI are going to have to do is put subtitles on it, because there’s so much dialogue that it won’t mean a thing if it’s shown in Germany or Spain or France without them. The talkies – I think we’re into the talkies. The format of ‘Blue Jean’ is of a small talkie, and that’s the emphasis.

David Bowie
NME, 29 September 1984

There was also a three-minute version, containing just the performance of ‘Blue Jean’ from Temple’s film. The third and final promotional clip was a separate performance recorded for MTV in England.

‘Blue Jean’ topped the chart in Spain, and was a top ten hit in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The title track was released in November 1984 as the second single, with ‘Tumble And Twirl’ on the b-side.

There was no video made for ‘Tonight’, and the single failed to crack the top 20 in any major markets. It peaked at number 53 in both the UK top 40 and the US Billboard Hot 100.

The third single from Tonight was ‘Loving The Alien’/’Don’t Look Down’, released in May 1985. It peaked at number 19 in the UK, though reached number nine in Ireland.

The promotional video for ‘Loving The Alien’ was directed by David Mallet, whose extensive filmography with Bowie included clips for ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Let’s Dance’, and ‘China Girl’, as well as the concert films Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider.