"Day-In Day-Out" is the first track on David Bowie's album Never Let Me Down. It was issued as a single in March 1987, ahead of the album's release.

The song criticised the urban decay and deprivation in American cities at the time, concerned largely with the depths a young mother has to sink to feed her child, including attempting to shoplift and becoming a prostitute. The video was banned and censored as a result.

The single was modest hit, entering the top 10 charts in several countries worldwide.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Song production

Song production[edit][edit | edit source]

Bowie wrote the song out of concern for the treatment of the homeless in the US.[1] The song's R&B roots[2] were reminiscent of some of Bowie's R&B work in the 1970s[3] with one author saying that the song is "an example of Bowie's strength in the R&B genre."[2]

The single's B-side, "Julie," was described by one reviewer as the "catchiest" song of all the songs from Never Let Me Down, and lamented that the song was relegated to b-side status.[4]

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]

Video production[edit][edit | edit source]

Bowie shot the video in Los Angeles in early 1987, and claimed it was "not going to sell the song at all," and was designed to explore music video as a storytelling format rather than promoting the song itself. Bowie claimed the song was selected as the lead-off single for the album "more as a statement of energy" about the album, as opposed to directly trying for a chart-topping single.[5]

Bowie took a hand in designing and storyboarding the video, saying "I do the original drawings, the main shot for every situation, and then the storyboardist puts them into sequence, storyboarding backwards and forwards from that. Then I put in the major camera angles that I think would be interesting or different. And Julien puts in his input. I started working this way on the "Ashes to Ashes" video with David Mallet. It was my first real big attempt and it won awards at the time for being a new way of doing videos…."[6]

Julien Temple and Bowie co-directed the video, which made the song's message explicit, showing the young couple's struggle against an uncaring society,[1] watched by a pair of angels through fake video cameras. This was banned by some TV stations (though contrary to popular belief, not the BBC, who showed the first part of the video on their Top of the Pops music show), even after edits removed the female protagonist's heavily implied rape, and an alternate version of a scene where the couple's child spells out "Mom", "Food" and "Fuck" in building blocks (representing the child's cycle of dependency; the alternate version had the child spell out the meaningless words "Mom", "Look" and "Luck").[7]

Tony Selznik taught Bowie to roller skate for the video. In 2013, Tony recalled the experience, saying "David came across as very humble and in between careers, almost. He was disillusioned with the music industry. I taught him to skate in a parking lot. We shot the video on Hollywood Boulevard at night, with me in a wig and leather jacket as his double for some scenes. The only bad fall involved the instructor: my wheels came off, I was bleeding everywhere, and David helped me clean up. He was so nice, normal."[8]

Video controversy[edit][edit | edit source]

When Bowie heard of the video being banned, he stated: "I think it's ludicrous. They [the censors] got caught up in the usual yellow press kind of excitement because of what it looked like instead of what it said."[9] During the press tour for the Glass Spider Tour, he was asked about the controversy and responded:

We asked the LA police to work with us and they did very happily. We wanted to indicate how some of the houses for the homeless are removed, so we asked them to bring along the kind of contraption they use... it's kind of like a tank with a big battering ram on the end of it. And on the end of the battering ram they've made a little joke. As it goes through the windows it goes "Have a nice day." And I pointed out that it would be in the video and they said they were only too pleased to keep it on, so they kept it on. Is that controversial? I don't know."[10]

—March 1987===Video award nominations[edit]===

The video was nominated for a 1987 MTV Video Music award in the category of "Best Male Video", but lost to Peter Gabriel's video for "Sledgehammer."[11]

Critical reception[edit][edit | edit source]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic Favorable[12]
Pitchfork Unfavorable[13]

Complaints about poor studio production were common,[3][12][13][14] although sources did find the song to be "fun"[12][15] and "danceable".[3][16]

Track listing[edit][edit | edit source]

All songs written by Bowie.

7": EMI America / EA 230 / EAX 230 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

[1][2]The 7" single cover#"Day-In Day-Out" – 4:14

  1. "Julie" – 3:40
  • The limited edition release contained a 7" red vinyl disc in a numbered box with a set of stickers and a photo booklet.

[3][4]The red vinyl limited edition 7" single===12": EMI America / 12 EA 230 (UK) / Cassette: TCEA 230 (UK)[edit]===

  1. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dance Mix)" – 7:15
  2. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dub Mix)" – 7:17
  3. "Julie" – 3:40

12": EMI America / 12 EAX 230 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Day-In Day-Out (Remix)" – 6:30
  2. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dub Mix)" – 7:17
  3. "Julie" – 3:40

12": EMI / V-19239 (US)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Day-In Day-Out (Groucho Mix)" – 6:29
  2. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dance Mix)" – 7:15
  3. "Day-In Day-Out (Single Version)" – 4:14
  4. "Julie" – 3:40

12": EMI / SPRO 9996/9997 (US)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Day-In Day-Out (7" Dance Edit)" – 3:35
  2. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dance Mix)" – 7:15
  3. "Day-In Day-Out (Edited Dance Mix)" – 4:30

Download: EMI / iEAX 230 (UK)[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Al Alba" – 5:37
  2. "Julie" – 3:40
  3. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dance Mix)" – 7:15
  4. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dub Mix)" – 7:17
  5. "Day-In Day-Out (12" Groucho Mix)" – 6:29
  • All "Day-In Day-Out" remixes were made by Shep Pettibone except for the "Groucho" mix, which was remixed by Paul "Groucho" Smykle.[17]
  • The digital downloads were made available in 2007, 20 years after the single's original release.
  • "Al Alba" is the song "Day-In Day-Out" sung in Spanish.
  • The "Remix," "12" Groucho Mix" and the "Groucho Mix" are all the same mix.

Video EP[edit][edit | edit source]

[5][6]The cover of the video EP#"Day-In Day-Out (video)"

  1. "Loving the Alien (video)"
  2. "Day-In Day-Out (Extended Dance Mix) (video)"
  • Both "Day-In Day-Out" videos were conceived, written and directed by David Bowie and Julien Temple
  • The "Loving the Alien" video was conceived and written by David Bowie, directed by David Mallet

Production credits[edit][edit | edit source]

Other releases[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart positions[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart Peak position
Austria Singles Chart 25[18]
Belgium Singles Chart 10[18]
Canada Singles Chart 16[19]
Germany Singles Chart 26[18]
Holland Singles Chart 15[18]
New Zealand Singles Chart 12[18]
Sweden Singles Chart 5[18]
Switzerland Singles Chart 28[18]
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 3[20]
US Hot Dance Music/Club Play 10[20]
UK Singles Chart 17[21]
US Billboard Hot 100 21[20]
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