Written by: David Bowie, Hunt Sales, Tony Sales
Recorded: August – October 1988; February – April 1989
Producers: Tin Machine, Tim Palmer
Engineer: Justin Shirley-Smith
Released: 22 May 1989
David Bowie: vocals, guitar
Reeves Gabrels, Kevin Armstrong: guitar
Tony Sales: bass guitar, vocals
Hunt Sales: drums, vocals
‘Video Crime’ is a song from Tin Machine’s debut album, written by David Bowie and the Sales brothers.
Tin Machine’s lyrics were often written quickly, first drafts which sought to capture a moment. Their themes included social deprivation, drug abuse, lust, religion and, on ‘Video Crime’, the emergent threat of filmic violence.
Horror films and video games were among the social menaces warned against by sections of the media in the late Eighties. In 1988 the film Child’s Play was accused of inciting violence among children, and games such as Leisure Suit Larry and Splatterhouse were criticised in some quarters for adult content including lewdness, violence, gore, and obscenities.
The song was erroneously titled ‘Video Crimes’ on the Tin Machine cover.
A 13-minute promotional film for Tin Machine was made by Julien Temple, featuring the band miming to excerpts of each of the songs. The ‘Video Crime’ section featured a male dancer, two boxing women, and a performing monkey who pulled the plug on the entire performance.
‘Video Crime’ is the only song on the Tin Machine album which the band never performed live.