David Bowie is dead. This caught me totally by surprise and I am shocked. Of course I find myself going over his work, I loved so much of it! The man left an awesome legacy.
I first noticed him through his 1983 Let’s Dance album that I loved (and that he called his artistic low point!), but I didn’t become a fan until a few years later when I also started listening to his older music. By the end of the 1980s I owned pretty much all of his LP’s (and a picture disk with an interview with him) . This was just before I had a CD player, CDs were only starting to become popular then. I just read on the Wikipedia page about CDs : “The first major artist to have his entire catalogue converted to CD was David Bowie, whose 15 studio albums were made available by RCA Records in February 1985, along with four greatest hits albums.” Anyway, I still have all the LPs, even though I don’t have a record player anymore. I was never able to chuck them out…
So, here I am now, going over his career, picking one song per album (and then some) that I loved… It’s gonna be long…
‘Space Oddity’ from Space Oddity (1969) – his breakthrough hit that is still very famous. Also used for the first moonlanding when it was aired on TV!
‘Life on Mars’ from Hunky Dory (1971). The blue suit he wears in this video also features in the David Bowie is exhibition that I went to. This album also features another signature song of his called ‘Changes’.
‘The Man Who Sold the World’ from the album of the same name (1972).
‘Suffragette City’ from Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). I think this may be my favourite Bowie album (“Ziggy plaaaaayed guiiiiiiitaaar!”). I already mentioned one song from that album in my post earlier today, so I picked another great one (but really, they all are great!)…
‘Time’ from Aladdin Sane (1973). ‘Jean Genie’ is maybe the most famous song of that album, but I picked this one instead… 🙂
‘Sorrow’ from Pin Ups (1973). This album was a cover album of 1960s songs.
‘Rebel Rebel’ from Diamond Dogs (1974)
‘Across the Universe’ from Young Americans (1975) which also features the title track of the same name (another excelllent song!) and of course the famous ‘Fame’. ‘Across the Universe’ is a Beatles cover. This album is very much a soul album, which was totally different from what Bowie had done up till then.
‘Wild is the Wind’ from Station to Station (1976)
‘Heroes’ from Heroes (1977). David Bowie went to Berlin to find himself again and what he loved about making music and came up with this… one of his absolute masterpieces!
‘Be my wife’ from Low (1977) which also has the more famous ‘Sound and Vision’ on it.
‘Boys keep Swinging’ from Lodger (1979). The song ‘DJ’ (“I am a DJ, I am what I play”) is from the same album. In this video he also dresses up as the female background singers. I love when these ladies walk the runway (about 2 minutes into the video).
Ashes to Ashes from Scary Monsters (1980). This is one of the first music videos made, he pioneered that too! And it’s the story of what happens to Major Tom from the ‘Space Oddity’ song.
‘Under Pressure’ (1981) with Freddie Mercury/Queen.
‘China Girl’ from Let’s Dance (1983). Although this was apparently Bowie’s “artistic low point” according to himself, it’s the album that introduced me to him. I liked many songs on this album but I think ‘China Girl’ is my favourite.
‘Blue Jean’from the Tonight album (1984). Awesome video here (the costumes also featured at the Bowie exhibition).
The title track of the album is alright, but only became magical to me when it was performed live on stage by Tina Turner with Bowie joining her as her surprise guest. So, I’m inlcuding that here as well…
Another duet Bowie did was with Mick Jagger for the famous Live Aid (1985) concert. It became a big hit.
‘This is not America’ with the Pat Metheny Group for soundtrack of The Falcon and the Snowman (1985). Movie not so great, song so much better!
‘As the World Falls Down’ from Labyrinth (1986). This movie was panned by the critics but I loved it and I think it is a bit of a cult-hit now. I think this may be the movie that pushed me over the edge, into David-Bowie-fandom.
Oh, go on, I’ll share this short video as well, with all the fascinating Escher staircases.
‘Absolute Beginners’ (1986) from the movie of the same name. Again, movie not so great, song fabulous!
Bang Bang from Never Let Me Down (1987).
The last album I bought was Tin Machine when he wanted to be part of a band. This is the excellent ‘Bus Stop’ from that album (a very short song).
I saw Bowie live during that time (I was 20) at the Goffertpark in Nijmegen here in The Netherlands during his Sound and Vision tour and loved it!
I remember a girl standing next to me who was so excited she screamed and instantly passed out as soon as he came onto the stage. She had to be taken away and I was always grateful I was able to stay conscious myself as I was equally excited. It was the first time I had ever seen any hero of mine in person and I cherish that memory to this day.
I lost touch with Bowie for many years and then this came out a few years ago…
Especially the video is mesmerizing. I still need to catch up with his last two albums and I definitely will.
The man was phenomenal, brave, unconventional, a true artist who touched my life as he touched millions of others.
Thank you, David Bowie. I love you!