"Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" is a song by David Bowie, the title song of the 1982 film Cat People. Recorded in July 1981, the song was written by Bowie with producer Giorgio Moroder. A re-recorded version of the song appears on the album Let's Dance.


 [hide*1 History


The director Paul Schrader engaged Bowie for a theme song in 1981, with Moroder having already recorded most of the music. Bowie was to put lyrics to the main theme. The B-side is a Moroder-only instrumental which featured no input from Bowie.

The song itself, in keeping with the dark tone of the film, has some slight goth rock influences, with Bowie singing in a deep baritone croon while being backed up by a female chorus, a combination that The Sisters of Mercy would commonly employ years later.

Because of Moroder's contract, the single was issued by MCA. The full-length version appeared on the soundtrack album, and the 12" single, while a 4:08 edited version was made for the 7" release. The single reached No. 26 in the UK, and No. 67 in the US - Bowie's biggest hit there since "Golden Years". It peaked at No. 1 in New Zealand, remaining there for three weeks, as well as in Sweden for four weeks. It was also No. 1 in Norway for seven consecutive weeks, and then returned to the top for a further week.

The single was released three separate times by MCA, first in March 1982 with "Cat People" as the A-side, then again two months later with "Paul's Theme" as the A-side, and finally in November 1982 with "Cat People" back on the A-side. Hungarian-born composer Sylvester Levay contributed to the orchestration.

In December 1982, Bowie re-recorded the song for his album Let's Dance, released the following year. This version was also released as the B-side to the title track's single release, and performed on Bowie's Serious Moonlight Tour. He had originally planned on using the original version of the song, but MCA Recordsrefused to license it, as Moroder was under contract to them at the time, and they were not about to let a competing label--EMI America—to use a song by one of its artists on their project.

In 2009, the track was used in another film, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

Sharleen Spiteri recorded a new version of the song in 2010 which was included on her album The Movie Songbook.

Track listing[edit]Edit

7": MCA / MCA 770 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 4:08
  2. "Paul's Theme (Jogging Chase)" (Moroder) – 3:51

12": MCA / MCAT 770 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 6:41
  2. "Paul's Theme (Jogging Chase)" (Moroder) – 3:51

12": MCA / DS 12087 (Australia)[edit]Edit

  1. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 4:08
  2. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (Bowie, Moroder) – 9:20
  • label states running time of 6:41, but is actually 9:20


Chart (1982) Peak


Australian Singles Chart 15
Irish Singles Chart 17
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[1] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[2] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[3] 8
UK Singles Chart[4] 26
US Billboard Pop Singles[5] 67
US Billboard Club Play Singles[5] 14
US Billboard Mainstream Rock[5] 9

Production credits[edit]Edit

Other releases[edit]Edit

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.