David Bowie’s “Valentine’s Day” Lyrics Meaning

For starters, it’s imperative that we state that this song doesn’t actually have anything to do with Valentine’s Day, the annual holiday in which romantic love is celebrated in the Western world. Instead, it revolves around a character named “Valentine” whom, it would appear, is a close friend of the vocalist’s.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for David Bowie's Valentine's Day at Lyrics.org.

Valentine would be a smallish teenage boy and more importantly one who has resolved to engage in a mass shooting at his school. And when he proceeds to do so, said event is what is actually referred to in the lyrics as “Valentine’s Day”.

Supposedly, this intent of the piece is to serve as David Bowie’s version of an anti-gun violence song. But the lyrics themselves do not relay such a sentiment. Rather, it’s more as if the vocalist is serving the role of a reporter, chronicling the mass shooting perpetrated by Valentine. 

And as a side note, said character is depicted as someone who might be suffering from low self-esteem. Moreover the initial implication, being that the shooter told the vocalist he was going to do so beforehand, is that at first the narrator did not really take him seriously.

Lyrics to David Bowie's "Valentine's Day"

Facts about “Valentine’s Day”

This track is from “The Next Day”. This is the project that proved to be David Bowie’s penultimate studio album, as he went on to pass away in early 2016. This is an LP that Columbia Records put out in 2013.

“Valentine’s Day” was the first song recorded for said album (as well as serving as its fourth single).

The directors of this track’s music video, which was filmed in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, are a pair of photographers, Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri.

“Valentine’s Day” appeared on the UK Singles Chart and also charted in Belgium.

This song was written by Bowie, who also produced it with Tony Visconti. The latter acknowledged that it was influenced by the sound of The Kinks, a 1960s’ rock band from London.

Fellow British musician Noel Gallagher made headlines when he covered this song in early 2022. He performed it in recognition of what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday.

On top of being a legendary musician, Bowie also possessed a pretty notable filmography. And it is said he utilized his acting skills on this track’s music video.

Valentine's Day

Bowie’s “The Next Day” Album

“The Next Day” was officially made available to the public on March 8 of 2013.

It was released as David’s 25th studio album. The album further strengthened the Brit’s position as one of the 20th century’s most influential musicians.

David joined hands with another music great, Tony Visconti, an American record producer and musician to produce the album.

The album was recorded in the following recording studios in New York:

  • The Magic Shop
  • Human Worldwide

It was released through ISO Records owned by Bowie himself and Sony Music Entertainment’s Columbia Records.

In 2014, “The Next Day” was included in a revised edition of Robert Dimery’s book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”.  

It earned a nomination for the award, “Best Rock Album” at the Annual Grammy Awards in 2014. It however lost the said award.

The album became David’s first No.1 album in the UK since 1993 and his ninth No.1 in that country. It sold almost 100,000 copies within its first week of sales in the UK.

On the Billboard 200, it debuted at No.2, making it Bowie’s best performing album in the US.

The album topped charts in Sweden, Scotland, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and many other countries.

Aside from the numerous accolades it received globally, it obtained the following certifications in these countries:

  • Australia – Gold
  • Austria – Gold
  • New Zealand – Gold  
  • Italy – Gold
  • Ireland – Platinum
  • Germany – Gold
  • Canada – Gold
  • UK – Platinum

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe has something to do with the skinny small guy who shot up a classroom at NIU on Valentines Day 2008?

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