1. Outside album coverWritten by: David Bowie, Brian Eno
Recorded: 1994-1995
Producers: David Bowie, Brian Eno, David Richards

Released: 25 September 1995

Available on:
Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95)


David Bowie: vocals, keyboards, synthesizer
Brian Eno: keyboards, synthesizer
Reeves Gabrels, Carlos Alomar: guitar
Mike Garson: piano
Yossi Fine: bass guitar
Joey Baron: drums

‘I’m Deranged’ was recorded by David Bowie for 1995’s 1.Outside. It is sung from the perspective of The Artist/Minotaur.

The phrase “It’s all deranged” occurs several times in another Outside song, ‘No Control’, where it was applied by detective Nathan Adler to the murder mystery he is investigating. In ‘I’m Deranged’, meanwhile, it is sung by the murderer of Baby Grace Blue.

In 1994 Bowie and Brian Eno were invited by André Heller to visit the Maria Gugging Psychiatric Clinic in Klosterneuburg near Vienna, Austria. The facility had an “outsiders’ wing” where those with mental disabilities were allowed to indulge their creativity.

We kind of had these artistic – at least conceptual – parameters in place before we went into the studio. We sort of knew we were on a mission. Out of the set-ups we gave ourselves, we went to a mental hospital just outside of Vienna and that particular hospital is famous for its artistic wing. Inmates who’ve shown really strong orientation to painting or sculpting or something like that are given their own wing. And they paint and they sculpt and do all these fantastic things and they’re allowed to sell their work. Because it’s an experiment that’s been going since the fifties, some of these guys are in their sixties and seventies, even eighties and they’ve become the mainstay of what’s now called “outsider art.” So we spent two days with them and sort of had their stories translated. Some of their stories are so bizarre and off the wall. I can’t even begin to tell you…
David Bowie
Raygun, October 1995

One of the inmates, known as the Angel Man, appeared in the lyrics of ‘I’m Deranged’: “And the rain sets in/It’s the angel-man/I’m deranged…”

But if those walls could talk! [The inmates’] whole process and how they instinctively jumped from symbol to symbol in their narratives and things. One man is called the Angel Man –and in fact he turns up in one of the songs in the end – he believed he was an angel and said [German Angel Man voice], “I was exactly who I was up until the 5th of February, 1948, and then I became an angel… it was just after lunch.” And from that point, he believed that his old person disappeared and his angel took over him. He was totally reborn at that moment.
David Bowie
Raygun, October 1995

The song was started in late 1994, and completed early the following year at New York’s Hit Factory studios.

This day started out a pig, and got piggier and piggier. David had hired Carlos and Joey, and I assumed that he’d planned what they might work on. They arrived, but he didn’t turn up till 11.30. Meanwhile I tried with them to get some kind of result on ‘I’m Deranged’ – a poorly organized song with no meaningful structure. It goes something like ABBBBBBBBBCBBBBBBBB, but the hook is A. I’ve had relationships like that, where the bit you liked never happens again. It was driving me absolutely fucking mad, the laissez-fairiness of it all, the lack of rigour. I gave up on it, and we broke for lunch.
Brian Eno, 17 January 1995
A Year with Swollen Appendices

Two versions of the song appeared on the soundtrack of David Lynch’s Lost Highway: ‘I’m Deranged’ (edit) and ‘I’m Deranged’ (reprise).

Another remix, the Jungle Mix, was released on the ‘Dead Man Walking’ single in April 1997, and on the 2004 reissue of 1.Outside.

Live performances

David Bowie performed ‘I’m Deranged’ on 24 dates of the Outside Tour in 1995. A recording can be heard on the 2020 live album Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95).

It was revived for the Earthling Tour two years later, and performed a further 13 times.

A recording from the Paradiso in Amsterdam on 10 June 1997 was released on liveandwell.com in September 2000.

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