The release

‘Modern Love’ was originally released as the opening song on Let’s Dance, on 14 April 1983.

In September 1983 it was released as the third single from the album, on 7″ and 12″ vinyl. It was coupled with a live version recorded in Montreal on 13 July 1983.

The 7″ single contained a 3:56 edit, while the 12″ had the full 4:46 album version.

‘Modern Love’ peaked at number two on the UK singles chart, held off the top by Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’. In the US it reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Pepsi advertisement

In early 1987 Bowie signed a sponsorship deal with Pepsi, to raise funds for the Glass Spider Tour. He filmed a television commercial with Tina Turner at an Amsterdam studio.

Titled ‘Creation’, the advertisement featured a new recording of ‘Modern Love’, a duet between Bowie and Turner, with amended lyrics.

There’s no sign of life
It’s just the power to charm
I’m lying in the rain
They always wave goodbye
But I try, I try

Never gonna fall for
(Modern love) Walks beside me
(Modern love) At my side
(Modern love) Now I know the choice is mine
(The choice is mine) Satisfies me
(Choice is mine) Makes me party
(Choice is mine) Puts my trust in my hand
Modern love
Modern love…

‘Modern Love’ – Pepsi version

The commercial received limited airplay after Bowie was accused of assaulting a female fan on 9 October 1987. The case was swiftly dismissed, but Pepsi lost its nerve and pulled the advert.

Live performances

David Bowie performed ‘Modern Love’ throughout the Serious Moonlight Tour in 1983, where it was typically the final song in his encore – enabling him to “wave bye-bye” to the audience.

The recording from the Forum in Montreal on 13 July 1983, which had been released in 1983 on the ‘Modern Love’ single, was included on the 2018 live album Serious Moonlight (Live ’83). The rest of the album was recorded in Vancouver on 12 September.

On 13 July 1985, Bowie performed at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. He opened his set with ‘TVC 15’, before singing ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Modern Love’, and “Heroes”.

‘Modern Love’ was performed during the Glass Spider Tour in 1987, where it was once again the final song in the encore. Bowie’s performance from 30 August 1987 is available on Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87).

The song was also performed during the Sound + Vision Tour in 1990, and occasionally during A Reality Tour in 2003-4. It was the ninth song played at Bowie’s final full show, at the Hurricane Festival in Eichenring, Germany, on 25 June 2004.

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