Written by: Bruce Springsteen
Recorded: November/December 1973
Producer: David Bowie
Released: 13 July 1990
David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Ron Wood: guitar
Mike Garson: piano
Herbie Flowers: bass guitar
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Geoffrey MacCormack: vocals
David Bowie recorded a version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Growin’ Up’ during the Diamond Dogs sessions.
Bowie saw Springsteen performing a mostly acoustic set on 5 February 1973, when the New Jersey singer was supporting Biff Rose at Max’s Kansas City in New York. Bowie was unimpressed until, towards the end of the set, Springsteen picked up an electric guitar, brought on his band, and began to rock out.
I used to go and see him. I hated him as a solo artist, when he came on and did this Bob Dylan thing. It was awful, so cringe-making. He’d sit there with his guitar and be folky, have these slow philosophical raps in between the songs. As soon as the band came on, it was like a different performer and he was just marvelous.
Musician, August 1987
‘Growin’ Up’ originally appeared on Springsteen’s 1973 debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J, which Bowie acquired shortly after the New York show. He covered two songs from the album – ‘Growin’ Up’ and ‘It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City’ – and Bowie produced the Astronettes’ version of ‘Spirit In The Night’.
Bowie recorded ‘Growin’ Up’ in London during the early Diamond Dogs sessions towards the end of 1973. The Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood guested on lead guitar.
I did ‘Growing Up’ in London in 1973, ’74 with Ronnie Wood on lead guitar; it sounds great…
I still think he was one of the better American songwriters around those early days. I like the Asbury Park material; my favorite period of Springsteen is the early stuff.
Musician, August 1987
Bowie’s version of ‘Growin’ Up’ was first released in 1990 as a bonus track on the Rykodisc reissue of his covers collection Pin Ups.
2004 saw the third and last in a short series of 30th anniversary reissues – Diamond Dogs, which followed The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and Aladdin Sane.
The reissue had a second CD with eight bonus tracks: ‘1984’/‘Dodo’; ‘Rebel Rebel’ (single version); ‘Dodo’; ‘Growin’ Up’; ‘Candidate’; ‘Diamond Dogs’ (K-tel edit); ‘Candidate’ (Intimacy mix, 2001); and ‘Rebel Rebel’ (2003 version, from the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack).