David Bowie Gets a Country Songwriting Credit? Yep.

It’s part of Chris Young’s new song. But how did it come about?

By kncitom on July 25, 2023
Rock legend David Bowie performs on stage at the Forum in Copenhagen late 07 October 2003. == DENMARK OUT == AFP PHOTO NILS MEILVANG/SCANPIX NORDFOTO (Photo credit should read NILS MEILVANG/AFP via Getty Images)

When asked in 2002 on NPR’s Fresh Air if there was any kind of music he didn’t listen to, rock and roll icon David Bowie answered, “Country and Western…the kind of music I’ve never listened to is pretty much that.”

So it’s a little ironic that he’s given a songwriting credit on Chris Young’s new single, “Young Love and Saturday Nights”. But he is, and it’s not for lyrics. It’s for the song’s opening guitar riff, which is exactly the same as the opening riff to Bowie’s 1974 rock classic, “Rebel, Rebel”. 

How in the world did that happen? According to AMNY.com, the song’s co-writer Jesse Frasure was asked by his publishing company, Warner Chappell, if he would “explore” Bowie’s catalogue, which Warner Chappell purchased in 2022, to see if he could create a country song from it. Why? Probably to help pay for the catalogue. Regardless, the results were what’s called an “interpolation”, which means the insertion of of “something of a different nature into something else”.  Frasure looked at it as a way to tip his hat to artists he idolized growing up. The song’s other writers, Ashley Gorley and Josh Thompson were on board too, and after legal details were worked out, it was pitched to Young and agreed that Bowie would be given credit for the riff.

Not everyone’s happy with the mashup, but genre mixing is so common now in music, it really shouldn’t be surprising.

And you can’t deny, the riff is pretty killer

Hear for yourself. First, Bowie’s classic

And here is Chris’ song 

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