Tin Machine II album coverWritten by: Bryan Ferry
Recorded: August – October 1988; February – April 1989
Producers: Tin Machine, Tim Palmer

Released: 19 August 1991

Available on:
Tin Machine II
Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby


David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Reeves Gabrels, Kevin Armstrong: guitar
Tony Sales: bass guitar, vocals
Hunt Sales: drums, vocals

Tin Machine recorded a version of Roxy Music’s ‘If There Is Something’ for the debut album, although it was held back for Tin Machine II.

It was the second track the band recorded during their initial sessions at Mountain Studios in Switzerland, shortly after the completion of ‘Heaven’s In Here’.

The Roxy Music track was done for the first album, the second track we made, and we included it to show the cohesiveness of what we were doing then and now. We did it because after ‘Heaven’s In Here’ we were so exhausted that we didn’t have it in us to write another song so we used an old song to show how we as a band would approach someone else’s material. We also did ‘Working Class Hero’ on the first album. When we were mixing this album, I remembered we’d done the Roxy song, pulled it out to see how it sounded. We really got off on it.
David Bowie, 9 August 1991
Bowie on Bowie, Sean Egan

While Roxy’s multi-part 1972 original was firmly art rock, blending country-style guitar and honky-tonk piano with a synth-led middle section, Tin Machine’s version was, as was their wont, given more of a straightforward hard rock reading.

A couple of these songs are actually outtakes from the first album – ‘Shopping For Girls’ and ‘If There Is Something’. The latter is much more of a fun song and contains one of the craziest guitar solos I’ve ever heard in my life from Reeves.
Tim Palmer
David Bowie: Ultimate Record Collection (Uncut)

BBC recording

On 13 August 1991 Tin Machine recorded a set for BBC Radio 1’s Mark Goodier’s Evening Session, which was broadcast live from London’s Maida Vale Studios.

They performed five songs: ‘A Big Hurt’, ‘Baby Universal’, ‘Stateside’, ‘If There Is Something’, and ‘Heaven’s In Here’.

The ‘Baby Universal’ CD single, released in October 1991, contained the BBC recordings of ‘Stateside’, ‘If There Is Something’, and ‘Heaven’s In Here’.

Live performances

Tin Machine performed ‘If There Is Something’ during their It’s My Life Tour in 1991-2.

A recording of the song from the band’s final show, on 17 February 1992 at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall, was included on the album Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby.

Previous song: ‘You Belong In Rock N’ Roll’
Next song: ‘Amlapura’
Published: |