In the studio

‘Jump They Say’ was recorded during the Black Tie White Noise sessions in the summer of 1992.

The album featured a range of duets, with Bowie unusually willing to share the spotlight. On ‘Jump The Say’, as well as ‘You’ve Been Around’, ‘Pallas Athena’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down & Down’, and ‘Looking for Lester’, jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie (no relation) was to the fore.

The song’s jittery keyboards recall the work on Low’s ‘What In The World’, given an updated 1990s sheen by producer Nile Rodgers.

The release

‘Jump They Say’ was released on 15 March 1993, three weeks ahead of Black Tie White Noise.

Although the first release from the album sessions had been the ‘Real Cool World’ single, issued in August 1992, ‘Jump They Say’ was marketed as Bowie’s comeback single, following the disbandment of Tin Machine.

With this album I feel that it’s going to get a really good reaction among my hard-core fans. But how much of an audience something gets is really down to the singles these days and I really don’t know what they would release as a single.
David Bowie
Arena, Spring/Summer 1993

‘Jump They Say’ reached number nine in the UK charts, becoming Bowie’s only top 10 single there between 1986’s ‘Absolute Beginners’ and 2013’s ‘Where Are We Now?’

The single was also a top ten hit in Denmark, Norway, and Spain, and in the US it reached number six on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart.

It was released by Bowie’s new label, Savage Records, on an array of formats including 7″, 12″, and compact disc.

The 7″ single contained a radio edit of ‘Jump They Say’, with ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix) on the b-side.

In the EU there were two 12″ singles. The first contained four versions of ‘Jump They Say’: the Hardhands Mix; Full album version; Leftfield 12″ vocal; and Dub Oddity Mix.

The second 12″ had the Club Hart remix; JAE-E Mix; JAE-E Dub; Leftfield remix; Dub Oddity, another Leftfield remix; and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix).

In the US a different 12″ single was issued, containing the song’s Brothers in Rhythm mix; Leftfield remix; JAE-E remix; Brothers in Rhythm edit; Dub Oddity remix; and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix).

The US also had a CD single containing the album version; Radio Edit 1 (the same as the JAE-E edit); Club Hart remix; Leftfield remix; and the album version and Don’t Stop Praying mix of ‘Pallas Athena’.

Two CD singles were available in the UK. The first was issued in a two-disc case to also house CD2, and came with an eight-page Bowie discography. The tracks were the 7″ version; Hard Hands Mix; JAE-E Mix; and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix).

The second CD contained the Brothers in Rhythm mix; Brothers in Rhythm Instrumental; Leftfield 12″ vocal; and the full album version of ‘Jump They Say’.

The EU CD single contained the radio edit; JAE-E edit; Club Hart remix; Leftfield 12″ vocal; album version; and ‘Pallas Athena’ (Don’t Stop Praying Mix).

Savage Records paid a reported $3.4 to release Black Tie White Noise, yet the overstretched company went into liquidation in June 1993. This hampered the album’s distribution in the US and elsewhere.

The original compact disc version came with two bonus tracks: ‘Jump They Say’ (Alternate Mix), and the outtake ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’, while the cassette edition of the album contained the Alternate Mix. This was the same as the JAE-E edit released elsewhere.

In August 2003 a 10th anniversary edition of Black Tie White Noise was released, containing three discs – the original album, a bonus CD containing remixes and extra tracks, and a DVD of the Black Tie White Noise Video EP.

The bonus CD material included three versions of ‘Jump They Say’: Rock Mix, the Brothers In Rhythm 12″ Remix, and the Dub Oddity version.