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Earthling is an album by David Bowie released in February 1997 via BMG. The album showcases an electronica-influenced sound partly inspired by the Industrial culture of the 1990's.


Though not a major commercial success, the album scored a number of positive reviews and scored a minor hit with a Trent Reznor remix of "I'm Afraid of Americans". The album featured elements not common to dance electronica, such as live acoustic and electric guitar, jazzy live piano, and song structures more common to pop-rock than techno. The album performed better than its highly experimental predecessor, Outside, reaching number 6 in the UKmarker charts and number 39 in the USmarker.

Bowie's enthusiasm for remixing reached its peak when this album was released and the numerous singles from it were also issued to clubs, as well as online: three versions of "Telling Lies" were released on Bowie's official website months prior to the album's release, constituting the first ever downloadable single by a major artist. "Little Wonder" was the album's biggest hit, reaching number 14 in the UK. Three more singles — "Dead Man Walking", "Seven Years in Tibet", and "I'm Afraid of Americans" — did not fare so well, although the latter did remain in the U.S. charts for 16 weeks, peaking at number 66.

The music videos for Earthling were elaborate. Artist and director Floria Sigismondi directed the short films for "Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking", while Dom and Nic directed "I'm Afraid of Americans", the latter being nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. A video was also made for "Seven Years in Tibet", composed largely of concert footage.

At the Phoenix Festival in 1997, Bowie and his band played in the Radio 1 Dance tent as Tao Jones Index. They performed in darkness with dry ice and strobe lights. Tao Jones Index was a pun based on Bowie's real name, David Jones, and the 1997 Bowie Bond issue (Tao is pronounced "Dow", as in Dow Jones Index from the US stock market).

U.S. sales of the album stand at 254,000 copies, according to Soundscan.

Track listing

Lyrics for all songs written by David Bowie.

> Music was written by Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati, except "Seven Years in Tibet", "Dead Man Walking" and "Law (Earthlings on Fire)" by Bowie and Gabrels, "Telling Lies" by Bowie, "I'm Afraid of Americans" by Bowie and Brian Eno.

  1. "Little Wonder" – 6:02
  2. "Looking for Satellites" – 5:21
  3. "Battle for Britain (The Letter)" – 4:48
  4. "Seven Years in Tibet" – 6:22
  5. "Dead Man Walking" – 6:50
  6. "Telling Lies" – 4:49
  7. "The Last Thing You Should Do" – 4:57
  8. "I'm Afraid of Americans" – 5:00
  9. "Law (Earthlings on Fire)" – 4:48
  • "I'm Afraid of Americans" first appeared in 1995 on the soundtrack for the movie Showgirls, in a version that was extremely rough compared to the Earthling recording.

Bonus tracks on 2004 reissue
  • "Little Wonder (Danny Saber Dance Mix)"
  • "I'm Afraid of Americans (Nine Inch Nails V1 Mix)"
  • "Dead Man Walking (Moby Mix 2 US Promo 12")"
  • "Telling Lies (Adam F Mix)" (This version is not on the Digibook Expanded Edition.)

Bonus disc for 2005 Digibook expanded edition
  1. "Little Wonder (Censored Video Edit)"
  2. "Little Wonder (Junior Vasquez Club Mix)"
  3. "Little Wonder (Danny Saber Dance Mix)"
  4. "Seven Years in Tibet (Mandarin Version)" (The Mandarin title of this version translates as "A Fleeting Moment".)
  5. "Dead Man Walking (Moby Mix 1)"
  6. "Dead Man Walking (Moby Mix 2 US Promo 12")"
  7. "Telling Lies (Feelgood Mix)"
  8. "Telling Lies (Paradox Mix)"
  9. "I'm Afraid of Americans (Showgirls Soundtrack Version)"
  10. "I'm Afraid of Americans (Nine Inch Nails V1 Mix)"
  11. "I'm Afraid of Americans (Nine Inch Nails V1 Clean Edit)"
  12. "V-2 Schneider (Tao Jones Index)"
  13. "Pallas Athena (Tao Jones Index)"




Chart performance

Year Chart Position
1997 UK Albums Chart 6
1997 Billboard Pop Albums 39
1997 Norway 13


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