"Andy Warhol" as written by and David Bowie....
Like to take a cement fix
Be a standing cinema
Dress my friends up just for show
See them as they really are
Put a peephole in my brain
Two New Pence to have a go
I'd like to be a gallery
Put you all inside my show

Andy Warhol looks a scream
Hang him on my wall
Andy Warhol, Silver Screen
Can't tell them apart at all

Andy walking, Andy tired
Andy take a little snooze
Tie him up when he's fast asleep
Send him on a pleasant cruise
When he wake up on the sea
He sure to think of me and you
He'll think about paint and he'll think about glue
What a jolly boring thing to do

Andy Warhol looks a scream
Hang him on my wall
Andy Warhol, Silver Screen
Can't tell them apart at all

Andy Warhol looks a scream
Hang him on my wall
Andy Warhol, Silver Screen
Can't tell them apart at all


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

"Andy Warhol" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

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Andy Warhol song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentAppearantly, Warhol came to Bowies studio while Hunky Dory was under recording, and Bowie played this for him. Warhol didn't like it, and got so mad he left, but before he shut the door he said: "You have very nice shoes David".

    Just a bit of weird trivia.
    Ziggy88on July 25, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBowie > Metallica.
    itsxpartyxtimeon December 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt does seem to be poking fun at andy with lines like:
    He'll think about paint and he'll think about glue
    What a jolly boring thing to do
    So I can understand why warhol might have been offended, but I would imagine Bowie really respected him, being a former art teacher.
    laocoonon May 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThanks genetru, for pointing something out that suckmykiss mentioned at the very first comment.
    samwaltonon July 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me, this song is about blurring the line between the artist and his art. Think about it: "be a standing cinema"; "put a peephole in my brain/two new pence to have a go/I'd like to be a gallery." The first verse basically expresses themes of not making the art, but *becoming* it. He wants to reinvent himself in such a way that he is a walking art piece. Just my take on it, anyway. Granted, the second verse doesn't seem to support this theory...I have no idea what that's about.

    Personally, I'd be more than happy to shell out two pence for a look in Bowie's brain! :D
    Sandwich-Mastaon May 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHere's a much more realistic interpretation... this song is really about David's crush on Andy - as an artist, as a contemporary, and perhaps even as a hopeful lover.

    David was a huge admirer of Andy Warhol - he's said this in many interviews over the years. David wasn't criticizing him at all. Andy, of course was a prominent "out" gay artist, and this song was released shortly before David "came out" in 1972 as gay / bisexual, so there are definitely some "crush" themes here as well. How serious they were is open to interpretation (i.e. is this just admiration/bromance, or is it a real crush and desire. Or both.).

    The first verse is about how David wishes he could be an artist as creative as Andy, creating new concepts in modern art. This verse makes a lot of sense if you are familiar with Warhol's artistic career up to 1971, when this song was released. The first four lines are about Andy's art, and the second four are about how David wishes he could do the same.

    The second verse gets a little stalker-like - David is saying he would like to kidnap Andy when he lets his guard down and have him all to himself - this can be interpreted literally, or more emotionally as in a kidnapping of the heart. There are a couple of mistakes in the lyrics (go have a listen on youtube) capitalized here:

    When he wakes up on the sea
    BE sure to think of me and you
    He'll think about paint and he'll think about BLUE
    What a jolly boring thing to do

    What David is saying there is that he's not sure he could keep up with Andy as an artist or friend - he kidnaps Andy, hoping that Andy will like him, but he knows that Andy would rather be painting (he'll think about paint) and that there's not much else to do on a "pleasant cruise" together (a metaphor for a relationship/friendship) if Andy doesn't like David - just the sky and the ocean (he'll think about blue). (If you've ever been out on the ocean, blue is pretty much all you'll see.)

    If you take the second verse less literally, it could be interpreted as being about tricking someone into falling in love with you. The last line, for example, could be interpreted that Andy would feel "blue" (depressed) about the friendship/relationship with David after he realizes that they aren't artistic. equals. Or so David fears anyway. Once he "wakes up" he realizes that it's "jolly boring."

    The chorus has similar themes to the second verse.

    In the first two lines (where Andy probably took offense to the song a bit, believing that it insulted his appearance), "Andy Warhol looks a scream" could be interpreted that his style of dress is garish and bizarre (which it sometimes was, honestly). However, the British slang "looks a scream" isn't necessarily an insult - it can mean something that looks shockingly *good* as well. In fact, this is likely the usage that David intended, since the next line says that he wants to hang him on his wall. David, of course, was very into fashion at the time and had his own outlandish styles of dress. In a way, these two lines are David's hypothesis about why they would be good friends and share similarities, but also a compliment that Andy's style of dress looks so good it is worthy of being art.

    The chorus' second two lines are pretty much the same idea. "Andy Warhol, Silver Screen, Can't tell them apart at all". Andy Warhol looks as good as a movie star (on the silver screen), so much that you would think he is one. Again, another of David's odd compliments, and the angsty way that these lines are delivered has a strong element of the same "unrequited love" of the second verse - David believes (or suspects) that he's not "cool enough" to hang out with Andy, who he really puts on a pedestal in this song.

    Sadly, because the lyrics are somewhat enigmatic, you could see this as a criticism of Andy's art, or of Andy's appearance, but if you look at the real life relationship between Andy and David, the similarities in their artistic and fashion styles, and the fact that they were contemporaries who ran in the same circles, it's really difficult to see this song as an art criticism.
    dhaliaon August 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDavid Bowie actually played Andy Warhol in the movie Basquiat
    suckmykisson May 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDavid Bowie actually knew Andy Warhol, from my understanding he was invited to Andy's studio a few times(as were many other celebrities).
    BowieOwnsAllon January 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow. I wonder if that really happened? I love hearing things like that. Hunky Dory is one of my favorite albums, and "Andy Warhol" is a great song. I would have been honored if I was Warhol. What a diva.
    GinaMarzon February 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMetallica ripped off the guitar line for the instrumental break of the title track "Master of Puppets". On the same album on which they also included a song called "Leper Messiah"
    three575on September 03, 2006   Link

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