Diamond Dogs
By: David Bowie

Original Performance: David Bowie
Written by: David Bowie

Versions:
  1. Diamond Dogs (4:30)
    Available on Les Inrockuptibles Présentent: Initials BO and 1 other release.
    Credits
    Jimmy Douglas: Engineer
    Mickey Petralia: Engineer
    Timbaland: Producer
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
  2. Diamond Dogs (Al Jolson at the Rave Tent)
    a.k.a. Diamond Dogs (Beck Circus Performance)
    Available on Moulin Rouge.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals
 
Lyrics:
Diamond Dogs [Version (a)]:

As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent, you asked for the latest party
With your silicone hump and your ten inch stump
Dressed like a priest, you was
Tod Browning's freak, you was
Crawling down the alley on your hands and your knees
I'm sure you're not protected, for it's plain to see
The diamond dogs are poachers and they hide behind trees
Hunt you to the ground, they will, mannequins with kill appeal

Here they come... I'll keep a friend serene
Here they come... oh baby, come on to me
Here they come... well she's come and been gone
Come out of the garden baby, you'll catch your death in the fog
The girls call them the Diamond Dogs

In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch
Sashay on the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
There's gonna be sorrow, try and wake up for tomorrow
Halloween Jack is a real cool cat
He lives on top of Manhattan Chase
The elevator's broke so he slides down a rope
Onto the street below, oh Tarzan, go man go

Here they come... I'll keep a friend serene
Here they come... oh baby, come on to me
Here they come... well she's come and been gone
Come out of the garden baby, you'll catch your death in the fog
The girls call them the Diamond Dogs
The girls call them the Diamond Dogs

Oo-oo-ooh, oo-oo-ooh, oo-oo-ooh
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs, Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs, Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs, Dogs
 
The Song:

Beck released his cover of the David Bowie classic, "Diamond Dogs" on the soundtrack to the film, Moulin Rouge. Discussing why the song was chosen, Beck explained, "Well, that was part of the movie. There are these characters in the film called the Diamond Dogs. This is their theme song." The song was an assignment from the film's director, Baz Luhrmann.

Beck actually did two versions of the song, the first without Timbaland. He remembers that, "The one I did on my own is sort of 'Al Jolson at the rave tent.' With Kurt Weill playing the pump organ." This version can be heard in the film, but is not on the soundtrack. It can be heard in Chapter 7 on the DVD, but unfortunately it is cut-off, obscured by dialogue, and at times muffled in the background. On the DVD commentary director Baz Luhrmann describes it:

This track that you hear by Beck - I mean it is actually Beck singing in the background but it doesn't appear on the album it's only in the film and we call it the circus, the Beck circus performance of David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs".


This version is definitely accurately described as a "circus performance."

But then when Beck got together with Tim, who was unfamiliar with the song, he played it for him on the piano. Timbaland was still unconvinced about the song's prospects, but once they got started, the song began to change and become a bit more "contemporary."

Producer Timbaland and Beck first worked together, basically out of mutual admiration. "I met Beck at [a taping of the TV show, 'Jimmy And Doug's] Farmclub.com'," Timbaland remembered. "Jay-Z said [Beck] wanted to meet me, and I came up there with Jay and I hooked up with him [there]." A few months later, during the first week of September, 2000, Beck went into the studio with Timbaland to work on "Diamond Dogs." Beck recalled their work together:
We got in the studio and we were just foolin' around. Tim wanted it to sound darker. I think we kind of turned it into a completely different song; we just kept the lyrics. There's a coolness in our version that it doesn't release. It just builds and it never lets go. Always holding something back, you know. It doesn't have the big payoff. Which is something I like about Tim's music, that it's always holding something back. It hints at more than it's giving. That minimalism, I really respect, 'cause I tend to go way over the top, and try to do too many things at once, and cram too much in one space.
While working with Timbaland on this track, Beck also made a guest appearence on a song called "I Am Music" which was to be released on Timbaland's album, Indecent Proposal. Unfortunately, in the end, Tim decided not to use Beck's contribution to the song in the final edit of the album. Timbaland also has an idea to get together with Beck and record covers of Devo songs. Beck says he's game, but whether or not this happens, we'll have to wait and see!
 
Live:

Played live 14 times:
Earliest known live version: June 23, 2001
Latest known live version: August 19, 2001

In his first tour after Moulin Rouge and the song were released (the June/July 2001 tour of Europe), Beck performed "Diamond Dogs" on stage regularly. They played the song almost every night of the short tour.

The live performance of the song is somewhat different from the one on the soundtrack. It has more piano and a huge bassline, it's much more new wave/rock.

After that tour, Beck dropped the song and hasn't played it since.
 
Notes: