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David Bowie / Pat Metheny - This Is Not America (1985)

  • Video Views 5,213,874
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.21
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"This Is Not America" is a song by English singer David Bowie and American jazz fusion band Pat Metheny Group, taken from the ...

"This Is Not America" is a song by English singer David Bowie and American jazz fusion band Pat Metheny Group, taken from the soundtrack to the 1985 film The Falcon and the Snowman. It was released as a single in February 1985, reaching number 14 in the United Kingdom and number 32 in the United States.

Background and recording

Having finished his 1984 album Tonight and being dissatisfied with it, Bowie began a series of soundtrack projects (Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners, and When the Wind Blows, all in 1986) that started with this collaboration with the Pat Metheny Group. Recorded in late 1984, "This Is Not America" was released as a single in early 1985 and on the soundtrack to the movie. Metheny had written an instrumental piece for the movie called "Chris" and wanted to turn that into a full-length song; "This Is Not America" was the result of their collaboration. Bowie watched an early screening of the movie and took notes on lines and themes that they might use; "This is not America" is a line said by one character to another, and both Bowie and Metheny agreed it was interesting. Despite Metheny being known as a jazz musician, the song was described by Bowie biographer Chris O'Leary as "hardly a jazz piece", as Metheny plays a simple rhythm guitar throughout the song, with no solos or improvisations. Metheny later noted that Bowie's lyrics were "profound and meaningful—and absolutely perfect for the film."

Bowie does not appear in the corresponding music video for the single, as it was made up entirely of clips from the movie.

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