|"Always Crashing in the Same Car"|
|Song by David Bowie|
|from the album Low|
|Released||14 January 1977|
|Genre||Art rock, electronic rock|
|Producer(s)||David Bowie and Tony Visconti|
The song's lyrics express the frustration of making the same mistake over and over. The narrator of the song recounts driving at high speed in circles around a hotel garage, cautiously checking for danger, yet still inevitably crashing, while a girl named Jasmine looks on.
The song refers to a real-life incident in Bowie's life that occurred at the height of his cocaine addiction. Driving his Mercedes, Bowie had spotted a drug dealer on the streets who he believed had ripped him off. In retaliation, Bowie repeatedly rammed his own car into the dealer's car, after which he returned to his hotel and ended up driving around in circles in the hotel's underground garage. It's also reported that "Jasmine" refers to Iggy Pop, who was supposedly with Bowie in the car at that time.
There are two verses to the piece, although three were planned. In the studio, Bowie sang a third verse in a quasi-Bob Dylan style, intended to be funny. However, given Bob Dylan's infamous motorcycling accident years earlier and the song's subject matter, the band considered such a move to be crass, and Bowie asked for Tony Visconti to delete the verse from the recording.
Biographer Hugo Wilcken considered the song, similar to "Be My Wife", as being influenced by lyrics within the Syd Barrett album The Madcap Laughs, as well as the James Joyce poem "Golden Hair" which Barrett put to music. He also noted that at the time of Low's recording, Brian Eno was in possession of the Farfisa organ Pink Floyd had used on the track "Matilda Mother", and that a Farfisa was used on Low, though was unsure whether the two were one and the same. The song features the use of synthesizers and treatments to bring Bowie's largely calm vocals over the sound of the band. A long guitar solo completes the song.
Other recorded versions
- Bowie and Reeves Gabrels performed an all-acoustic version of the song for the radio station WRXT on 16 October 1997.
- A live version recorded at BBC Radio Theatre, London on 27 June 2000 was released on the bonus disc accompanying the first releases of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000. This version contains an extended opening featuring acoustic guitar.
- David Bowie: Vocals, ARP Synthesizers
- Ricky Gardiner: Lead Guitar
- Carlos Alomar: Rhythm Guitar
- Brian Eno: E.M.I Synthesizers, Guitar Treatments
- George Murray: Bass Guitar
- Roy Young: Piano, Organ
- Dennis Davis: Drums
- Ultramar - Web site release
- King Black Acid - Crash Course for the Ravers: A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie (1996)
- The Yummy Fur - Stereo Girls (1997)
- Bluvertigo - Zero (1999)
- Stevie Salas - Shapeshifter: The Fall and Rise of Stevie No Wonder (2002)
- Danny Michel - Loving the Alien: Danny Michel Sings the Songs of David Bowie (2004)
- Id Guinness - Cure for the Common Crush (2007)
- Chairlift (band) - We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie (2010)
- The Plastic FanTastics - Acknowledgments, Pt. 1 (2011)
- Geoff Berner - Ikh Krakh Tomid Arayn In Der Zelber Mashin (2015)
- Disappears - Low: Live in Chicago (2015)
- Cristin Milioti - Lazarus (2016)
- Clifford Slapper with Ray Burmiston - Bowie Songs One (2017)
- Heavy Friends - Always Crashing In The Same Car (2019)
- The pub rock band Eddie and The Hot Rods, as a pun, titled a song of theirs "Always Crashing in the Same Bar".
- The song's title appears in the novel "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger as the subtitle of the chapter "Christmas Eve, One".
- Media scientist Dr. Annette Bitsch's German language book on Jacques Lacan's mathematics of the unconscious is titled after the song in the original English.
- Greatorex, Johnathan. "Just a Mortal With Potential." Teenage Wildlife. Nov. 1996. 06 Mar. 2006 <https://web.archive.org/web/20060203174254/http://www.teenagewildlife.com/Interact/fc/misc/JG/index.html>.
- Griffin, R. "Low." Bowie Golden Years. Jan. 2005. 06 Mar. 2006 <https://web.archive.org/web/20170228035917/http://www.bowiegoldenyears.com/low.html>.
- Hugo Wilcken. 33&1/3: Low. Continuum. p. 92.
- "David Bowie remembers Berlin: "I can't express the feeling of freedom I felt there" - Page 7 of 12 - Uncut". Uncut. 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2018-06-02.