I’m Not Losing Sleep

David+Bowie+Bowie

‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ – Single Version (1966)

Lyrics

Yes, I've read the morning papers
Telling me that you've made money
Do you think I'm gonna crawl, then think again

Though I'm dressed in rags, I'm richer
Though I eat from tins, I'm healthier
Though I live in slums, I'm purer than you, my friend

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Look around and see the friends
The ones you left, our friends deserted
See the guys that used to talk and drink with you

Don't look down your nose at me
'Cause I won't ask your sympathy
I won't be your yes-sir man for anything

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

I would walk with you
Talk with you, drink with you
If you drop that halo that you're wearing on the ground

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

I can get my satisfaction
Knowing you won't get reaction
What makes me the big attraction anyway

It's too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Oh, it's too bad, I'm not losing sleep
[Too bad] I'm just counting sheep
[Too bad] I'm not losing sleep, my friend

Big_B

The B-Side to 1966’s ‘I Dig Everything’ welcomes Anthony Newley’s influence to Bowie’s vocal style – a style which would feature in a major way on his first album David Bowie. Bowie and Tony Hatch recorded this song on 5th July 1966 with an ensemble of unknown musicians (they weren’t documented for the recording) – excluding Bowie’s actual, but slightly inexperienced band in terms of musical arrangements, The Buzz.

Though ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ cannot be classified as a pure vaudeville-type Newley song, Bowie did try out the showman’s vocal swagger in some parts of this song. But there’s a bit more to this unfairly judged B-Side.

First of all, the song features someone who is totally content in his current socioeconomic status. He basically sings about a friend leaving his poorer background because he started making money and now hangs out with the richer class. But Bowie seems to be quite fond of the fact that he is where he is instead of his friend who makes money. He even gives a little nod to The Rolling Stones, turning their one-year old hit a bit around: “I can get my satisfaction / knowing you won’t get reaction”. So there’s a man who appears to be all satisfied that he is poor.

Furthermore, ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ is slightly remiscent of Petula Clark’s hit ‘Downtown’: the ‘too bad’* backing chorus sounds very similar. However, Bowie structured the song much in the Motown tradition using a recurrent shift between the tonic and the minor 2nd chords which portrays ambition. Considering that Bowie partly used the Newley voice (pay attention to the songs ‘middle eight’ section when he sings “on the ground”) it can be said that ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ can be described as a song where once again Bowie tried out a lot of musical influences.

Contrary to many other Bowie biographers and writers I find ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ to be a good song that is up to the standard of the scene back in the day.

zHiZ5

* Funnily, Bowie’s early publisher Sparta released ‘I’m Not Losing Sleep’ under the title ‘Too Bad’.

——

Discography

Single Version:

  • Vinyl I Dig Everything (A-Side) / I’m Not Losing Sleep (B-Side) 8/1966
  • CD Early On (1964-1966) 1991
  • Vinyl I Dig Everything: The 1966 Pye Singles EP 1999

——

Musicians

  • David Bowie (vocal)
  • Session musicans unknown
  • Produced by Tony Hatch
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Filed under 1966: Bowie & The Buzz

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