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Heathen is an album by the British singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in 2002.

Heathen was considered something of a comeback for Bowie in the U.S. market; it was his highest charting album (#14) since Tonight (1984), and earned some of his strongest reviews since Scary Monsters (1980). Worldwide, it sold over two million copies and experienced a four-month run on the UK charts.

Recording and production

Heathen marked the return of record producer Tony Visconti, who co-produced (with Bowie himself) several of Bowie's classic albums. The last album Visconti had co-produced was Scary Monsters from 1980.

Originally, Bowie had recorded the album Toy for release in 2000 or 2001. This album was meant to feature some new songs and remakes of some his lesser-known songs from the 1960s. Although Toy remains unreleased, a few tracks — including "Afraid" and "Slip Away" (then titled "Uncle Floyd") — appeared on Heathen. Some other re-recorded songs were included as B-side to the singles from Heathen.

The album features guest appearances from Who guitarist Pete Townshend (who had played guitar on an earlier Bowie track, "Because You're Young" from Scary Monsters ), Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Dream Theater veteran keyboardist Jordan Rudess, pianist Kristeen Young and prolific bassist Tony Levin of King Crimson.

Song details

Most of the song lyrics for Heathen are focused on the degradation of mankind and the world. This is evidenced in songs like "Slow Burn", "Afraid", "A Better Future" and the title track.

The album contains three cover songs: "Cactus" by Pixies; "I've Been Waiting for You" by Neil Young; and "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spaceship" by Norman Odam aka the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, from whom Bowie lifted the "Stardust" moniker in 1972.

Alternate versions

A remix of the song "Everyone Says 'Hi'" is featured in the PS2 rhythm game Amplitude.

The song "Sunday" was played live at the Heathen Tour and A Reality Tour concerts. A live version recorded at The Point, Dublin, Irelandmarker in November 2003 was included on the A Reality Tour DVD. A Moby remix is available on the bonus disc of the 2-CD version of Heathen, and a Tony Visconti remix was released on the European version of the single "Everyone Says 'Hi'" and the single "I've Been Waiting for You."

Heathen has also been released on a SACD in a limited number of copies with slightly longer versions of five of the songs.

Track listing

All songs written by David Bowie except as noted.
  1. "Sunday" – 4:45
  2. "Cactus" (Black Francis) – 2:54
  3. "Slip Away" – 6:05
  4. "Slow Burn" – 4:41
  5. "Afraid" – 3:28
  6. "I've Been Waiting for You" (Neil Young) – 3:00
  7. "I Would Be Your Slave" – 5:14
  8. "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spaceship" (Norman Carl Odam) – 4:04
  9. "5:15 The Angels Have Gone" – 5:00
  10. "Everyone Says 'Hi'" – 3:59
  11. "A Better Future" – 4:11
  12. "Heathen " – 4:16

+ "Wood Jackson" (Japanesemarker release bonus track)

Limited edition bonus disc

  1. "Sunday" (Moby Remix) – 5:09
  2. "A Better Future" (Remix by Air) – 4:56
  3. "Conversation Piece" (Written in 1969, recorded 1970, re-recorded 2000) – 3:51
  4. "Panic in Detroit" (Outtake from a 1979 recording, released on Scary Monsters Rykodisc in 1992) – 2:57


*Greg Kitzis – 1st violin
*Meg Okura – 2nd violin
*Martha Mooke – viola
*Mary Wooten – cello

Additional personnel

*Lenny Pickett
*Stan Harrison
*Steve Elson

Design & Photography Credits


Year Chart Position
2002 Norwaymarker's Album Charts 2
2002 UK Albums Chart 5
2002 Billboard 200 14


  1. David Bowie. Heathen (ISO, 2002).

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