David Bowie – Modern Love

This was my favorite song off of the Lets Dance album released in 1983.

Stevie Ray Vaughan played guitar on this song. Bowie asked him to play on the Let’s Dance album after seeing him perform at a music festival.

David Bowie and Nile Rodgers wrote this song.  Modern Love peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #2 in the UK, and #6 in New Zealand in 1983. The album was also produced by Bowie and Rodgers.

Nile Rodgers said that Bowie came into his apartment one day and showed him a photograph of Little Richard in a red suit getting into a bright red Cadillac, saying “Nile, darling, that’s what I want my album to sound like.”

How cool is that?

From Songfacts

This is about the struggle to find solace in love and religion. It has also been suggested this song contemplates the old adage “The more things change the more they stay the same.” Explaining how he remained a force in pop music for so many years, Bowie sings, “It’s not really work it’s just a power to charm.” 

Bowie said this song’s call-and-response vocal arrangement “all comes from Little Richard.” A defining moment in Bowie’s childhood was when his dad came home with a copy of “Tutti Frutti.”

This sounds very similar to Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” They were both recorded around the same time and Bowie nor John were aware of each other’s song.

In 1987, Bowie re-recorded this with Tina Turner for a Pepsi commercial where he plays a scientist who creates the perfect woman (Turner), with a little help from Pepsi. The storyline is cribbed from the 1985 movie Weird Science.

Modern Love

I know when to go out 
Know when to stay in 
Get things done 

I catch a paper boy
But things don’t really change
I’m standing in the wind
But I never wave bye-bye
But I try, I try
There’s no sign of life
It’s just the power to charm
I’m lying in the rain
But I never wave bye-bye
But I try, I try
Never gonna fall for

(Modern love) walks beside me
(Modern love) walks on by
(Modern love) gets me to the church on time
(Church on time) terrifies me
(Church on time) makes me party
(Church on time) puts my trust in God and man
(God and man) no confession
(God and man) no religion
(God and man) don’t believe in modern love

It’s not really work
It’s just the power to charm
I’m still standing in the wind
But I never wave bye bye
But I try, I try
Never gonna fall for

(Modern love) walks beside me
(Modern love) walks on by
(Modern love) gets me to the church on time
(Church on time) terrifies me
(Church on time) makes me party
(Church on time) puts my trust in God and man
(God and man) no confession
(God and man) no religion
(God and man) I don’t believe in modern love

Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
Modern love (modern love) 
(Modern love) 
(Modern love) 
(Modern love) 
(Modern love)
Modern love, walks beside me 
(Modern love) 
Modern love, walks on by 
(Modern love)
Modern love, walks beside me 
Modern love
Modern love, walks on by
Modern love
Never gonna fall for
Modern love
Modern love