"Beauty And The Beast" is the the next installment in David Bowie's 40th-anniversary 7" picture disc series. There were just two singles taken from the Heroes album in the UK. Following the September 1977 release of "Heroes"/V-2 Schneider" (Peak UK chart position: #24), "Beauty And The Beast/Sense of Doubt" was issued on January 6, 1978. (Peak UK chart position: #39). As with many Bowie singles, the track sounded like nothing else on the radio at the time. As with its predecessor ("Heroes"), perhaps the public en masse wasn't quite ready for the latest Bowie sound, with Robert Fripp's incredible guitar lines again taking center stage and that Bowie/Tony Visconti production ensuring Bowie was ahead of the curve yet again.
The song was certainly strong enough to be the Heroes album opener, and though it may have been considered an unusual choice for a single, it was just as viable as any of the other tracks on the album. Visconti confirms that the line: "Someone fetch a priest," was originally recorded with a different F-word to fetch. A wise decision to change it perhaps, or it may not have received quite the airplay that it did. Though there had only been four previous Bowie picture sleeve singles released commercially in the UK ("Starman" 1972, "Life On Mars?" 1973, "Space Oddity" 1975, "Suffragette City" 1976), "Beauty And The Beast" was graced with one (basically the album cover), but the single still only just scraped into the Top 40 on the official UK singles chart. Nevertheless, Bowie picture sleeves would become de rigueur from Beauty And The Beast onwards.
The AA of the 7" picture disc is a previously unreleased live version of the Heroes album track "Blackout," which was recorded on May 16, 1978 at the Deutschlandhalle, Berlin during the ISOLAR II tour. The images used on the A and AA sides of the picture disc are by Masayoshi Sukita and were taken in Japan in April 1977 (A-Side) and Madison Square Garden, New York in May 1978 (AA-Side).