Jazzin' for Blue Jean

Jazzin' for Blue Jean

The cover of the VHS video box, showing 1984-era Bowie singing in character make-up as "Screaming Lord Byron"

North American VHS Video Cover
Directed by Julien Temple
Produced by Lana Topham & Paul Flattery
Screenplay by Terry Johnson
Story by David Bowie
Starring David Bowie
Louise Scott
Music by David Bowie
Nitrate Film Production Limited (Nitrate Films)
Distributed by Sony Home Video, EMI/Picture Music International, Pioneer Artists
Release dates
Running time
20 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Jazzin' for Blue Jean is a 20-minute short film featuring David Bowie and directed by Julien Temple.[1] It was created to promote Bowie's single "Blue Jean" in 1984[2] and released as a video single.

The film won the 1985 Grammy Award for "Best Video, Short form" (Later renamed "Best Music Video"), which proved to be Bowie's only competitive Grammy Award during his career.


The film depicts the adventures of the socially incompetent Vic (played by Bowie) as he tries to win the affections of a beautiful girl by claiming to personally know her favourite rock star, Screaming Lord Byron (also played by Bowie). Rightfully disbelieving him, she challenges Vic to introduce her to him. They make a date for a Screaming Lord Byron show, where Vic attempts to sneak backstage to convince Mr. Screaming to come say hello to him and the girl after the show.

Screaming does come to Vic's table after the show and says hello to him and the girl, but the girl and Screaming Lord Byron have already met (in Peru), and she leaves with the rock star instead of Vic. As they drive off, Bowie breaks the fourth wall and asks the director why the story changed from his concept.

Track listing

  1. "Jazzin for Blue Jean (Video)" - 20:00

Cast and crew



Production notes

Three different Bowie songs are played during the video, namely "Don't Look Down," (from Tonight), "Warszawa" (from Low) and "Blue Jean" (also from Tonight).[3] The video footage playing in the pub is from the performance in the club at the conclusion of the film.

Bowie takes the opportunity at several points in this film to poke fun at himself and his career – particularly his history of drug abuse, his relationships with groupies, and the commercialization of his music ("You conniving, randy, bogus-Oriental old queen! Your record sleeves are better than your songs!"). Kinder self-references are also present, such as the song "Warszawa" being played backstage to soothe Mr. Screaming while he's applying his makeup.


The film was released on home video on VHS and Betamax formats by Sony Home Video in North America, EMI/Picture Music International in the UK, and on Laserdisc by Pioneer Artists in Japan (12" and 8", with analog stereo sound) and North America (12", digital and analog sound)

The video later appears as an easter egg hidden on the Best of Bowie DVDs. It is slightly modified: in the club where the girl is watching a Screaming Lord Byron video, the screen originally showed footage of the very same concert she and Vic would later attend. On the DVD version, a different promotional video for the song is overlaid on the screen – this is also the trigger for another easter egg, which is itself that alternate video.

The portion of the movie where Screaming Lord Byron performs the song "Blue Jean" in front of the crowd was used as the standard-length music video and clocks in at just over three minutes. This short music video is a straight edit out of Jazzin' For Blue Jean and later appeared on 1993's David Bowie - The Video Collection.


  1. Nicholas Pegg, The Complete David Bowie, page 525, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2004, ISBN 1-903111-73-0
  2. David Bowie: Best of Bowie (2002)
  3. 1 2 3 Kamp, Thomas (1985), David Bowie: The Wild-Eyed Boy 1964-1984 (1st ed.), O'Sullivan, Woodside & Co.
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