Written by: David Bowie
Recorded: September – November 1989; April, September – October 1990; March 1991
Producers: Tin Machine, Tim Palmer
Released: 2 September 1991
Tin Machine II
Reeves Gabrels: guitar
Tony Sales: bass guitar, vocals
Hunt Sales: drums, vocals
‘A Big Hurt’ is the only song on Tin Machine II written solely by David Bowie.
Despite almost sharing a title with Scott Walker’s 1967 song ‘The Big Hurt’ (originally recorded by Toni Fisher in 1959), Tin Machine’s song is a punky thrash, with the influence of Pixies evident in Bowie’s delivery and the stop-start arrangement.
A priapic cock rocker, ‘A Big Hurt’ is a sequel of sorts to ‘Pretty Thing’ from the first Tin Machine album. Despite some intriguingly odd lyrics (“Even a glass eye in a duck’s ass can see that”), it’s a far cry from the delicate beauty of ‘Amlapura’ or the social conscience of ‘Shopping For Girls’, with Bowie’s melodic gifts almost entirely absent.
‘A Big Hurt’ was one of five songs recorded by Tin Machine for a BBC radio session on 13 August 1991.
The session took place at London’s Maida Vale Studios, and was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1’s Mark Goodier’s Evening Session
‘A Big Hurt’ was the first song performed, and was followed by ‘Baby Universal’, ‘Stateside’, ‘If There Is Something’, and ‘Heaven’s In Here’.
The BBC recordings of ‘A Big Hurt’ and ‘Baby Universal’ were released on the ‘Baby Universal’ 12″ single in October 1991.