The release

‘Loving The Alien’ was the first song on Tonight, which was released on 24 September 1984.

The lead single, ‘Blue Jean’, was released three weeks ahead of the album. It was followed by ‘Tonight’ in November 1984, and ‘Loving The Alien’ in May 1985.

The highest chart placing for ‘Loving The Alien’ was in Ireland, where it peaked at number nine. In the UK it reached 29, its low placing perhaps due to the length of time since it had been available on Tonight.

The song was remixed for the release by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero. The 7″ single had a remix of ‘Don’t Look Down’ on the b-side, while the 12″ single had ‘Loving The Alien’ (Extended Dance Mix), ‘Don’t Look Down’ (Extended Dance Mix), and ‘Loving The Alien’ (Extended Dub Mix).

‘Loving The Alien’ (Extended Dub Mix) and ‘Don’t Look Down’ (Extended Dance Mix) were included on Dance, a remix compilation in the 2018 box set Loving The Alien (1983-1988). The single remix of ‘Loving The Alien’ was also included on Re:Call 4, a compilation of non-album singles, single versions, and b-sides from the era.

The song also appears on the Bowie compilation The Singles 1969-1993, some versions of Best Of Bowie, and the 2003 and 2014 reissues of the Sound + Vision box set. It was also included on The Platinum Collection, The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987, iSelect, and the triple-CD version of Nothing Has Changed.

In 2002, music producer Scumfrog released a club mix of ‘Loving The Alien’ as a single, which reached number 41 on the UK charts. It was also the opening track on the following year’s Club Bowie.

Promotional video

A video for ‘Loving The Alien’ was directed by David Bowie and David Mallet. The original cut had a brief shot of Bowie with a nosebleed, though it was edited out of the more commonly available version.

The nosebleed shots were included in the version of ‘Loving The Alien’ released on the 1987 video single ‘Day-In Day-Out’, while the censored one was included on the DVDs The Video Collection (1993), Best of Bowie (2002), and The Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 (2007).

David Mallet’s extensive filmography with Bowie also included clips for ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Let’s Dance’, and ‘China Girl’, as well as the concert films Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider.

Live performances

David Bowie performed ‘Loving The Alien’ throughout the Glass Spider Tour in 1987. A performance from 30 August 1987 can be heard on the live album Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87).

It was revived for Bowie’s appearance at the Tibet House Benefit concert on 28 February 2003. The pared-down arrangement was retained for that year’s A Reality Tour.

A recording from Dublin in November 2003 is available on the live album A Reality Tour, and on the DVD of the same name.

One older song that we decided to do on this tour came about because [guitarist] Gerry Leonard and I did an arrangement for a New York show last year for this song, and it seemed to be satisfactory. It seemed to be the way that it should maybe always have been done. I don’t know. We like doing it this way anyway. This is called ‘Loving The Alien’.
David Bowie
A Reality Tour

Bowie’s final live performance of ‘Loving The Alien’ was on 16 May 2004 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, USA.

Previous album: Let’s Dance
Next song: ‘Don’t Look Down’