Released: 5 April 1993
Black Tie White Noise
David Bowie: vocals, saxophone
Nile Rodgers: guitar
Barry Campbell/John Regan: bass guitar
Richard Hilton, Dave Richards, Philippe Saisse, Richard Tee: keyboards
Poogie Bell/Sterling Campbell: drums
Michael Riesman: tubular bells, harp
Fonzi Thornton, Tawatha Agee, Curtis King Jr, Dennis Collins, Brenda White-King, Maryl Epps: backing vocals
‘The Wedding’ was written for Bowie and Iman’s wedding celebration in Florence, Italy, in June 1992. Attended by celebrities including Bono, Brian Eno, and Yoko Ono, and commemorated over 23 pages in Hello! magazine, it signified Bowie’s willingness to open up his private life more than he had done in many years.
Having to share one’s life with somebody else, you tend to talk a lot more. You’d better! I mean I was quite content spending days without saying a word to anybody, quite alone, getting on with my own obsessive thing, whatever that happened to be at the time. I didn’t really need company particularly.
Then when I met Iman and we started living together, I kind of realised how much I’d missed. I guess I quite enjoyed being more of a social animal, going to dinners with people, having conversations there. I’d never really done that much. I hadn’t lived that kind of life, y’know? Elton John I never was. I didn’t go out to… soirées, and all that. So I’ve enjoyed opening up. Privately at first, then I guess it translated into more public terms.
Uncut, October 1999
So we got together again and he was marrying Iman – who was my friend too – to do Black Tie, White Noise. The working title was The Wedding Album. I was trying to turn it into a very, very, very commercial piece of work. He, on the other hand, was trying to make this artistic statement about this period in his life. That was a little bit uncomfortable, because we were butting heads, but I think we did a wonderful album.
Rolling Stone, 12 January 2016
I had to write music that represented for me the growth and character of our relationship. It really was a watershed. It opened up a wealth of thoughts and feelings about commitment and promises and finding the strength and fortitude to keep those promises. It all came tumbling out of me while I was writing this music for church. And I thought: ‘I can’t stop here. There’s more that I have to get out.’ For me it was a tentative first step toward writing from a personal basis. It triggered the album.
Rolling Stone, 10 June 1993
Black Tie White Noise is bookended with ‘The Wedding’ and ‘The Wedding Song’, making it clear to listeners – had they somehow missed the press reports and interviews – that Bowie was, indeed, very happily married. ‘The Wedding Song’ is a reprise of ‘The Wedding’ with vocals, in which Bowie sings of his “angel for life… heaven’s girl in a wedding gown”.
So much of this album comes from a more emotional plane than I’m wont to generally show about myself. It’s a very emotionally-charged album. There’s a lot of jumping into the unknown about it. Maybe a lot of my negative things have surfaced on this album, that’s why it’s got such a saccharine ending. It’s called ‘The Wedding Song’, but it should have been called ‘The Wedding Cake’, because it really is all icing with a couple on top.
NME, 27 March 1993