David Bowie turned down chance to appear on ‘Trainspotting’ soundtrack

Director Danny Boyle wanted 'Golden Years' for his 1996 film

David Bowie turned down the opportunity to have his music feature on the Trainspotting soundtrack.

The 1996 film, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Ewan McGregor as a heroin addict in Edinburgh, is famous for its music with songs by Iggy Pop, Underworld and Lou Reed all featuring on one of cinemas best loved soundtracks.

However, Boyle and his team initially wanted to add a David Bowie song to that list and only turned to Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’ when he turned them down.


SEE MORE: How The Trainspotting Soundtrack Gave Us A Perfect Snapshot Of 1996 Music

In a new interview with Dazed, the man who helped compile the film’s soundtrack reveals the struggles Boyle as his producer Andrew Macdonald had bringing all of the music together.


[Boyle and Macdonald] “(told) me of the difficulties they were having in clearing tracks for the film – David Bowie had turned them, down for example,” former EMI A&R Tristram Penn says. “Andrew and Danny were desperate for Bowie – if memory serves, (they wanted) ‘Golden Years’ for the toilet scene.”

With a view to staying in Bowie’s world, Penna suggested they instead use a song he produced; Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’.

“I saw a rough cut of the film at a screening room on D’Arblay Street in Soho,” Penna added. “It was a mess. I don’t even know who the music supervisor was, but some of the suggestions were just awful and not at all right. I’d always been a huge clubber in London – indie clubs, gay clubs, whatever clubs as long as there was great music – and Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’ had always been a huge club hit since the BatCave days, so I knew it would get the adrenaline rushing if used in the opening. I remember suggesting the song because (Danny and Andrew) were continually upset that Bowie had turned them down. So they cut it in with ‘Lust for Life’ and it was transformational.”

Since his death it has emerged that Bowie declined a number of invitations and collaboration offers. Danny Boyle even scrapped plans for a Bowie biopic after he was denied access to his music.


It has also been revealed that Bowie turned down the chance to produce a number of Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, collaborate with Coldplay and also provide vocals to a song Dave Grohl worked on for a film.

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