Lodger album cover>Written by: David Bowie
Recorded: August, September 1978; March 1979; 1991
Producers: David Bowie

Released: 27 August 1991

Available on:
Lodger (1991 reissue)


David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Brian Eno: synthesizer
Simon House: violin
George Murray: bass guitar
Dennis Davis: drums

‘I Pray, Olé’ is believed to have been recorded during the Lodger sessions, and released as a bonus track on the 1991 Rykodisc reissue.

As with the bonus tracks on the Low and “Heroes” reissues of that time, the precise recording details are unclear, and there may have been additional overdubs at a later date. According to Lodger liner notes, the song was mixed by Bowie and David Richards in 1991, and there may have been additional overdubs at that time.

Lodger producer Tony Viconti denied being involved in the recording. After being played the song in 1996, Visconti claimed that the roots of ‘I Pray, Olé’ were the Lodger song ‘Repetition’.

That’s what it is, it’s ‘Repetition’. It’s another version of ‘Repetition’. I guarantee that kick drum will line up with the other kick drum perfectly…

Yeah, different key too. It’s a different part of the song, too. It doesn’t start where our version starts. I don’t know who did that, I didn’t do it. But I know he does… with his own tapes he’ll hear, like, for instance, ‘Red Money’ is ‘Sister Midnight’, by Iggy [Pop]. It’s the same exact track. So it’s no secret that he scavenges his own material. At least he steals from himself. I would say that’s ‘Repetition’ in another form.

Tony Visconti

Curiously, several years later Visconti suggested that the song post-dated Lodger altogether.

This draws a complete blank. I can definitely rule it out of the Lodger/Scary Monsters sessions. It’s not a track I recognize. If I were to make an educated guess I would say it’s post-Lodger, pre-Scary Monsters, recorded with David Richards in Montreux. David overdubbed years later on other unfinished tracks … I wouldn’t rule that out.
Tony Visconti
The Complete David Bowie, Nicholas Pegg

Also denying any involvement in the track were Adrian Belew, Reeves Gabrels, and Erdal Kızılçay, the latter two among Bowie’s key collaborators in the late Eighties and early Nineties.

I’m not on it. I believe the track was leftover from the original Lodger sessions in the ’70s. Andy Clark, Simon House, Adrian, Carlos Alomar, George Murray and Dennis Davis…

That [Visconti’s denial of knowledge] is odd… given that the drum sound and treatment is the Harmonizer effect that he claims Eno stole from him. But, ask Visconti the same question on two different days and you will get two different answers. And I disagree… I think it sounds like Dennis, Adrian and definitely Simon House. Might have been recorded around Stage tour.

Reeves Gabrels

The release

The Rykodisc reissue of Lodger contained two bonus tracks: ‘I Pray, Olé’, and the 1988 re-recording of ‘Look Back In Anger’. It was released on 27 August 1991.

On 14 February 2019 a 40th anniversary 7″ picture disc of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was announced, for release on 17 May. It was a double a-side with ‘I Pray, Olé’, marking the first release of the latter song since 1991.

The press release stated that ‘I Pray, Olé’ “was apparently recorded during the Lodger sessions”, suggesting that precise information about the song’s provenance was still unknown by the Bowie estate.

“Boys always work it out…”

2019 is the 40th anniversary of Lodger and 17th May sees the release of the latest limited 7″ picture disc from Parlophone, Boys Keep Swinging.

While originally recording the song, Bowie had hoped to capture a garage band feel with the musicians swapping instruments after a deck of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards had suggested ‘reverse roles’. So guitarist Carlos Alomar played drums and drummer Dennis Davis played bass.

The version featured on the A side is the 2017 mix by Tony Visconti from Lodger, undertaken for the A New Career In A New Town box set, as both Tony and Bowie felt they never had the opportunity to give Lodger the mix it deserved in 1979, due to time and studio constraints.

The AA side features I Pray, Ole which was apparently recorded during the Lodger sessions, but remained unreleased until mixed by David and David Richards for inclusion as an extra track on the 1991 reissue of the Lodger album. The track has been commercially unavailable since then.

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Side A
Boys Keep Swinging (2017 Tony Visconti mix)
(David Bowie, Brian Eno)
Produced by David Bowie & Tony Visconti
Mixed by Tony Visconti at Human Studios, NYC, 2017

Side AA
I Pray, Ole
(David Bowie)
Produced by David Bowie & Tony Visconti
Mixed by David Bowie & David Richards, 1991

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Boys Keep Swinging limited 40th anniversary 7″ picture disc is released by Parlophone on 17th May.
#DBBKS40 #BowieVinyl

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