Be My Wife
|"Be My Wife"|
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Low|
|B-side||"Speed of Life"|
|Released||17 June 1977|
|Studio||Château d'Hérouville (Hérouville, France)|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
Its presence in Low tones down the electronic feel of the rest of the album. The song also features a more conventional lyric which is closer to a traditional rock song than the more fragmented lyrics elsewhere on that album. The song features a ragtime piano opening, which serves the somewhat retro lyrics some justice, although it is soon set against a backdrop of guitars and drums. The song repeats its lyrics, changing the spacing of the lyrics amongst the song's verse. The song closes simply with a fadeout, as the song returns to the introductory ragtime riff repeating indefinitely, with the rest of the band playing behind it.
"Be My Wife" became the first new Bowie release since "Changes" to fail to break into the UK chart. It was frequently played live on the various tours after its release and Bowie is said to have repeatedly announced this song during live performances as "one of my favourites," as may be seen or heard in such concert footage or audio recordings.
Cash Box said that it "demonstrates the rock and roll side of 'Low.'" and that there is also "a shrill organ, unusual guitar and synthesizer lines, and the creative use of a barrelhouse piano."
"Be My Wife" apparently was Bowie's first official video since "Life on Mars?". The video is in fact rather similar: Bowie stands alone against a white backdrop singing the song alone. However, Stanley Dorfman's new clip featured a Bowie in make-up and clothing influenced by Buster Keaton and giving an irreverent, detached performance on a guitar, which does gel with the candid feeling generated by the song.
All tracks written by David Bowie.
- "Be My Wife" – 2:55
- "Speed of Life" – 2:45
- A live version was recorded during the Isolar II Tour for the Stage album, but was not released until 2005 on the remastered re-release of Stage. Another live performance of the song, from later in the same 1978 tour, was included on the live album Welcome to the Blackout, released in 2018.
- A live version from Earls Court, London on 1 July 1978 , was released on the semi-legal album Rarestonebowie in 1995.
- A live performance filmed in Dublin in November 2003 during the A Reality Tour can be viewed on the DVD and is included on the corresponding album.
- The song appeared on the following compilation albums:
- It was released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set.
- Momus performed a cover version for his 2015 album Turpsycore.
- Max Lorentz released a version for his 2011 album Kiss You In The Rain - Max Lorentz Sings David Bowie.