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The Buddha of Suburbia (soundtrack) (Redirected from The Buddha of Suburbia (album))

The Buddha of Suburbia
David bowie-the buddha of suburbia-uk.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Released8 November 1993
RecordedJune–July 1993
StudioMountain, Montreux, Switzerland
O'Henry Sound, Burbank, California
LabelBMG International
David Bowie chronology
Black Tie White Noise
The Buddha of Suburbia
The Singles Collection
Alternative cover
2007 re-release cover
2007 re-release cover
Singles from The Buddha of Suburbia
  1. "The Buddha of Suburbia"
    Released: 22 November 1993
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[2]
Record Collector3/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau(dud)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars[5]

The Buddha of Suburbia is a 1993 soundtrack album by English singer-songwriter David Bowie inspired by the four-part television serial of the same name originally shown on BBC2 (itself adapted from the novel of the same name by Hanif Kureishi). Although classified as a 'soundtrack album', the title track is the only song that featured in the programme's actual soundtrack.

Released between Black Tie White Noise (1993) and Outside (1995), the album was produced and mixed at Mountain Studios (Montreux) in Switzerland and, according to Bowie, it took only six days to write and record, but fifteen days to mix because of some "technical breakdowns".[6]


During Bowie's brief press tour for Black Tie White Noise in early 1993, he spoke with Hanif Kureishi, who suggested Bowie could write a soundtrack for his upcoming miniseries The Buddha of Suburbia on the BBC. The music Bowie made were short "motifs – combinations of guitar, synthesizer, trumpet, percussion, [and] sitar."[7] After deciding the music wasn't right for the show, Bowie revisited the new material with Erdal Kizilcay, reshaping the songs by distorting, re-recording, and adding vocal melodies to the songs.[7] Only the title track remained unaltered from the original soundtrack.[6] The album was classified and released as a soundtrack in November 1993.[7]

Later in the 1990s, Bowie considered re-recording "Dead Against It", one of the tracks from this album, during both his 1995 Outside and 1997 Earthling studio sessions, but he never followed through.[7]


Despite Bowie once hailing it as his favourite album,[8] both the 1993 European and 1995 American releases were deleted for many years. Or, as Bowie put it, "The album itself only got one review, a good one as it happens, and is virtually non-existent as far as my catalogue goes – it was designated a soundtrack and got zilch in the way of marketing money. A real shame."[8]

The album was re-issued on 17 September 2007,[9] in the UK and on 2 October 2007[10] in the US.


On the European version of the album Bowie provides comprehensive liner notes on the themes and production techniques involved, and reveals a list of 'residue from the 1970s' as his inspiration for the songs. The list includes the following references:

Free association lyrics, Pink Floyd, Harry Partch, Costume, Blues Clubs, Unter den Linden, Brucke Museum, Pet Sounds, Friends of the Krays, Roxy Music, T-Rex, The Casserole, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Bromley, Croydon, Eno, Prostitutes & Soho, Ronnie Scott's Club, Travels through Russia, Loneliness, O'Jays, Philip Glass in New York clubs, Die Mauer, Drugs.[6]

Track listing

All songs written by David Bowie.

  1. "Buddha of Suburbia" – 4:28
  2. "Sex and the Church" – 6:25
  3. "South Horizon" (instrumental) – 5:26
  4. "The Mysteries" (instrumental) – 7:12
  5. "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad" – 5:22
  6. "Strangers When We Meet" – 4:58
  7. "Dead Against It" – 5:48
  8. "Untitled No. 1 " – 5:01
  9. "Ian Fish, U.K. Heir" (instrumental) – 6:27
  10. "Buddha of Suburbia" – 4:19


  • David Bowie – vocals, keyboards, synths, guitar, alto and baritone saxophones, keyboard percussion, production
  • Erdal Kızılçay – keyboards, trumpet, bass, guitar, drums, percussion
  • 3D Echo (Rob Clydesdale, Gary Taylor, Isaac Daniel Prevost) – drums, bass, guitar on "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad"
  • Mike Garson – piano on "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad" and "South Horizon"
  • Lenny Kravitz (courtesy of Virgin Records) – guitar on "Buddha of Suburbia" (rock mix)
  • David Richards – programming, engineering, mixing, production
  • Mike Ruggieri – piano recording
  • Dominik Taqua – assistant engineering
  • John Jefford, BBC – photography
  • David and Anne Hardy (Wybo Haas) – design
  • Special thanks to: Isolar, all at BMG, Coco & Mabs


  • The album was first released in the UK and included extensive liner notes by Bowie that were not included with the later US release.
  • The album was packaged with an alternative cover in the US and was not released until 24 October 1995 (possibly due to a dispute between Bowie and the music industry).
  • Arista/BMG released a special edition of the soundtrack in a translucent plastic box, packaged with the Hanif Kureishi book. The catalogue number is Arista/BMG 74321-17822.
  • Virgin/EMI rereleased the album in 2007. Its catalogue number is 50999 5 00463 2 4/V2-00463.


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Buddha of Suburbia". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press.
  3. ^ Draper, Jason. "DAVID BOWIE – THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA". Record Collector. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: Buddha of Suburbia (Virgin, 2007)". Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  5. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. 2004. pp. 97–98.
  6. ^ a b c Bowie, David. The Buddha of Suburbia liner notes (BMG International, 1994) (available at Bassman's David Bowie page Archived 22 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine)
  7. ^ a b c d O'Leary, Chris (2019). Ashes to Ashes The Songs of David Bowie 1976–2016. Repeater Books. ISBN 9781912248308.
  8. ^ a b "Bowie Picks Obscure Favourite Album". 23 September 2003. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  9. ^ BowieNet news 19. June 2007 Archived 13 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 4. 7. 2007.
  10. ^ Buddha of Suburbia, retrieved 5. 9. 2007

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