How A David Bowie Song Helped Make Fight Club A Reality

We all know that the first two rules of "Fight Club" are you do NOT talk about Fight Club, but let's take the hit and break those rules right now. Chuck Palahniuk's infamous and decadent 1996 novel, and subsequent 1999 film, became a sensation that wreaked glorious mayhem on bookshelves and big screens across the world. The Washington Post once called the film, "one of the most beautifully written narrations in movie history," and its popularity endures two and a half decades later.

But, who do we have to thank for the delectably brutalizing phenomenon that was destined to become a cult classic? According to Palahniuk himself, the man's name is David Bowie. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, it was Bowie's "Young Americans" that we can credit with what ultimately became a remarkably profound satirical commentary on actual young Americans (via Esquire). It all started with a hidden alleyway and a case of beer ... but don't worry. Nobody got punched in the face. 

Young Americans on repeat

In 1986, David Bowie was sweeping world stages on his "Serious Moonlight" tour. Unable to afford tickets to the Portland, Oregon show, Palahniuk and his friends posted up in an alleyway a block away from the venue, guzzling beers and listening to the rockstar and his band rehearse "Young Americans" repeatedly during soundcheck (per Esquire). A decade later, when it was time to pitch his first draft of "Fight Club," Bowie gave the young author an encore performance that delivered a knockout punch to the competition.

In 1996, Palahniuk was scheduled to meet editor Gerry Howard at a local bar with a copy of his book that he was determined to get published. Only one problem: Every other aspiring author in the greater Portland area was there with the same intention. However, a solution presented itself in the form of a jukebox in the corner of the room. Palahniuk later shared, "I couldn't get near Gerry Howard so I asked the bartender for $10 in quarters, and I fed them into the jukebox and selected the same song to play forty times. It was 'Young Americans,' a song I could listen to forever on a desert island. Most people were ticked off. Soon everyone left, and I had Gerry to myself. Eventually, I sold him 'Fight Club' and 15 more books. To this day, he doesn't remember that song, playing over and over and the haters hating me as they abandoned the bar" (via the Independent).