1. Outside album coverWritten by: David Bowie, Kevin Armstrong
Recorded: 1994; February 1995
Producers: David Bowie, Brian Eno, David Richards

Released: 25 September 1995

Available on:
1.Outside
Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95)

Personnel

David Bowie: vocals, keyboards
Brian Eno: keyboards, synthesizers
Reeves Gabrels, Carlos Alomar: guitar
Mike Garson: piano, keyboards
Erdal Kızılçay: bass guitar
Sterling Campbell: drums

‘Outside’ was the title track of David Bowie’s nineteenth studio album, 1995’s 1.Outside.

The song began life as ‘Now’, a discarded Tin Machine piece co-written by Bowie and Kevin Armstrong, which itself emerged from their 1988 reimagining of ‘Look Back In Anger’ with Reeves Gabrels.

Tin Machine performed ‘Now’ just twice during their 1989 tour, at London’s National Ballroom on 29 June 1989, and St George’s Hall, Bradford, on 2 July.

Only the opening lines made it to the 1.Outside recording. The rest were mostly variations on “I want you now/I hold you now”, suggesting that Bowie originally envisaged it as a love song of sorts. It was clearly a work-in-progress, one of many chances for the band to improvise on stage.

The album version is restless, twisting, ever-changing. Beginning with a vamp on the chords of F and E, it switches to two bars of C and two of G, before settling into the main sequence: repeating cycles of F/E♭/B♭ and Dm/Em/F/Am.

In the studio

‘Outside’ was recorded in February 1995 as a late addition to the album.

After the main album sessions had ended the previous month in New York, Bowie brought Brian Eno and Kevin Armstrong to Westside Recording Studios in London. There they reworked ‘Now’ into ‘Outside’, after which additional instruments were overdubbed.

During the Earthling Tour in 1997, Bowie and his band reportedly recorded a new version of ‘Outside’ at a studio near Prague. Three different mixes were prepared, but were never released.

Live performances

‘Outside’ was often performed during the Outside Tour in 1995. A performance from Dallas on 13 October can be heard on the 2020 release Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95).

It was again played during the 1997 Earthling Tour, during which Gail Ann Dorsey often sang the lead vocals. The final performance took place on 8 October 1997 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.