Written by: David Bowie
Recorded: 5, 10 May 2011; 23 July; 26 September 2012
Producers: David Bowie, Tony Visconti
Engineers: Mario McNulty, Tony Visconti
Released: 4 November 2013
The Next Day Extra
David Bowie: vocals
Earl Slick: guitar
Tony Visconti: bass guitar
Henry Hey: keyboards
Sterling Campbell: drums
‘Born In A UFO’ is the seventh bonus track on The Next Day Extra, the expanded edition of David Bowie’s penultimate album.
The song was based upon an unreleased track from 1978’s Lodger sessions, albeit wholly re-recorded. Bowie played the original recording – described by Tony Visconti as “very wild, kind of unnerving” – to the musicians during the sessions for The Next Day.
One of the songs we worked on was a leftover from Lodger. I think it was called ‘Born In A UFO’ when we worked on it, but I didn’t see that title on the record. Maybe he changed it. I don’t know.
Rolling Stone, 1 February 2013
In the studio
The backing track for ‘Born In A UFO’ was recorded twice for The Next Day. The first was on 5 May 2011, with overdubs following on 10 May. That version featured Gail Ann Dorsey on bass guitar and Zachary Alford on drums.
We all played live, so it was very organically played. And David was just happy as a clam. He was keen to keep the momentum going, because that’s what he feeds off. The album is reminiscent of his early records in some ways. If you listen to The Man Who Sold The World and ‘God Knows I’m Good’, they’re evocative of folk or country. We had a couple of tunes that were country. But it’s a new millennium record, he’s not trying to make it sound like his old stuff. Although there was one song from the Lodger sessions. The working title was ‘Born In A UFO’. My jaw dropped when he played it, because I could hear Dennis Davis in there. My hunch is it’s now called ‘Dancing Out In Space’. On one song I changed the beat and David said, ‘I like that!’ and went in a new direction. He said, ‘I’m going to change the lyrics. It was originally going to be about prostitutes at the Vatican!’
Uncut, April 2013
‘Born In A UFO’ was re-recorded on 23 July 2012, with Tony Visconti on bass and Sterling Campbell on drums. Bowie’s lead vocals were overdubbed on 26 September.
The song was completed during final overdub sessions in August 2013.