"Time Will Crawl" is the second track on David Bowie's album Never Let Me Down and was issued as the second single from the album. The single was a minor hit, breaking into the top 10 charts in the US.

The song is generally considered the best song from an otherwise poorly received album, and in 2008 Bowie named the track as one of his favorites of his entire career.


 [hide*1 Song development

Song development[edit]Edit

The song was written about the pollution and destruction of the planet by industry (Bowie has cited hearing of the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986 as the genesis of the lyric). In an 1987 interview, Bowie said the song "deals with the idea that someone in one's own community could be the one responsible for blowing up the world."[1] Bowie also stated at the time that it was his favorite song from the album,[1] and later put the song on his list of all-time favorites by including a newly remixed version of the song (the "MM Remix")[2] on his iSelect album.[3][4]

Music video[edit]Edit

The video clip, directed by Tim Pope, was made during rehearsals for Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour. Mimicking a fly-on-the-wall documentary, this would preview some of the elaborate routines used on the tour, and also features tour guitarist Peter Frampton, though he does not actually appear on the recording itself.[5]

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic Favorable[6]

Generally, this song was considered one of the best of Bowie's mid- to late-1980s efforts.[6][7]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All tracks written by Bowie

7": EMI / EA237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls" – 4:13

7": EMI / EAP237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Single Version)" – 4:04
  2. "Girls (Single Edit)" – 4:13

This limited 7" single's sleeve folded out into a double-sided poster, and contains a slightly shorter edit of the title track.

12": EMI / 12EA237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Extended Dance Mix)" – 6:03
  2. "Time Will Crawl (LP Version)" – 4:18
  3. "Girls (Extended Edit)" – 5:35
  • Extended Dance Mix by David Richards

12": EMI / 12EAX237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Dance Crew Mix)" – 5:43
  2. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  3. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06

12": EMI / V-19247 (US)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl (Extended Dance Mix)" – 6:03
  2. "Time Will Crawl (LP Version)" – 4:18
  3. "Girls (Extended Edit)" – 5:35
  4. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06

Download: EMI / iEA237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls" – 4:13
  3. "Time Will Crawl (Extended Dance Mix)" – 6:03
  4. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  5. "Girls (Extended Edit)" – 5:35
  • Released in 2007

Download: EMI / iEAX237 (UK)[edit]Edit

  1. "Time Will Crawl" – 4:18
  2. "Girls (Japanese version)" – 4:06
  3. "Time Will Crawl (Dance Crew Mix)" – 5:43
  4. "Time Will Crawl (Dub)" – 5:23
  5. "Girls (Extended Edit)" – 5:35
  • Released in 2007


  1. "Time Will Crawl (MM Remix)" - 4:54
  • Released in 2008, remixed by Mario J. McNulty

Other releases & appearances[edit]Edit

Bowie performed the song for BBC's Top of the Pops show in 1987, but the full performance has never been aired.[7] The track was also used in the French arthouse movie Les Amants du Pont Neuf (The Lovers on the Pont Neuf).

Production credits[edit]Edit

Cover versions[edit]Edit

  • Burning Gates - The Dark Side of David Bowie: A Tribute to David Bowie (1997)

Chart positions[edit]Edit

Chart Peak position
Germany Singles Chart 57[8]
Holland Singles Chart 71[8]
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 7[9]
UK Singles Chart 33[10]
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