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"TVC 15" was a single by David Bowie.

The song was inspired by an episode in which Iggy Pop, during a drug-fuelled period at Bowie’s LAmarker home, hallucinated and believed that the television set was swallowing his girlfriend. Beyond oblique mentions to absorption via television, the lyrics are largely nonsensical. Bowie himself hasn’t been able to shed any light on their meaning beyond the Pop anecdote, having very limited recollection of the Station to Station sessions, due to his own heavy drug use at the time.

The song is considerably more upbeat than the rest of the album. It was chosen as a second single from the album in the UK, where it reached #33. With Bowie unable to perform on the show, Top of the Pops promoted the single with a bizarre interpretation from resident dance troupe Ruby Flipper. The B-side, “We Are the Dead”, originally formed part of Bowie’s attempt to adapt Nineteen Eighty-Four, and had previously been released on the Diamond Dogs album.

In America, "Stay" was preferred as a second single from the album.

Track listing

  1. "TVC 15" (Bowie) – 3:43
  2. "We Are the Dead" (Bowie) – 4:58

Production credits

Live version

  • A live version recorded on the Heroes tour at the Philadelphia Spectrum, April 28-29th 1978, was released on Stage.
  • On December 14, 1979 Bowie performed TVC 15 as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, accompanied by Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias.
  • Bowie performed this song during the Live Aid concerts July, 1985. It was considerably sped up and more upbeat.

Other releases

Cover versions


Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

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