Released: 1 September 1984
David Bowie: vocals
Carlos Alomar: guitar
Carmine Rojas: bass guitar, keyboards
Curtis King, George Simms, Robin Clark: vocals
Lenny Pickett: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Stanley Harrison: alto saxophone
Steve Elson: baritone saxophone
Omar Hakim: drums
Guy St Onge: marimba
Sammy Figueroa: percussion
The lead single from David Bowie’s Tonight album, ‘Blue Jean’ was a transatlantic hit. It was, with ‘Loving The Alien’, one of just two tracks on the album written solely by Bowie.
‘Blue Jean’ is a piece of sexist rock ‘n roll. [laughs] It’s about picking up birds. It’s not very cerebral, that piece.
David Bowie – The Interview, EMI America, 1987
The song was inspired by music from the 1950s, although the cluttered production was more akin to Phil Spector’s mid-Sixties Wall of Sound.
‘Blue Jean’ reminds me of Eddie Cochran. It was inspired from that Eddie Cochran feeling, but that of course is very Troggs as well. I dunno… it’s quite eclectic, I suppose. What of mine isn’t?
New Musical Express, 29 September 1984
Bowie performed ‘Blue Jean’ throughout the Glass Spider tour in 1987, and the Sound + Vision tour in 1990. It was also played a handful of times during A Reality Tour, with the final performance taking place on 2 April 2004 at the WordPerfect Theatre in Ottawa, Canada.
‘Blue Jean’ was recorded along with the other Tonight tracks at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada, in May 1984.
The album was produced by Derek Bramble and Hugh Padgham. During the sessions Bowie asked Padgham which was his least favourite of the new recordings, and Padgham told him ‘Blue Jean’.
I didn’t really like ‘Blue Jean’, as I thought it was really lightweight.
David Bowie: A Life, Dylan Jones