Rediscovering David Bowie

I watched one of Rick Beato’s YouTube videos on great songs (a great series of videos). He did Let’s Dance, I did not know Stevie Ray Vaughn played guitar on that, very cool.

So in Roon I went to Bowie and picked Popular songs. Some i expected and some missing. Actually, a lot missing of songs I know.

So with that said, feel free to reply here with your 3 favorite Bowie songs!

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Here is that video:

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Nice thread.

The Thin White Duke is one of the 3 biggest influences in my mainstream musical journey, alongside Queen and Elton John…

Hard to pick three favourites, but I’ll give it a go. I guess I would attach elements other than just the performance. For me, the great tunes are all in the writing as opposed to the actual recording, and as such, my list includes songs made famous by others.

  1. Under Pressure with Queen (the back story of how it came about is great)
  2. The Man Who Sold the World (love Kurt Cobain’s take on this song on the Nirvana MTV Unplugged album)
  3. All the Young Dudes (he offered the song to Mott the Hoople when they were on the verge of breaking-up)

This could be a controversial take on the favourite 3, depending on how one defines what is Bowie. If I had to pick 3 that were pure Bowie in terms of performance then likely:

  1. Changes
  2. Moonage Daydream
  3. Young Americans

Thanks for the brain-food :slight_smile:

Tel

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David Bowie gave Lou Reed a new lease of life when he helped to create the classic Transformer album https://thespinoff.co.nz/review/13-01-2016/books-lou-reed-turned-against-everyone-who-tried-to-help-including-david-bowie/

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Really great choices! I’d possibly swap ‘Changes’ for ‘Station to Station’, which remains one of the most extraordinary songs of all time.

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Rebel, Rebel
Young Americans and oddly
Suffragette City (…Hey Man!)

What’s up with the Popular Songs list in Roon?

Of course! Hard to leave that one out.

Can’t get my head around ‘It Ain’t Easy’ being popular! That is one strange list.

Gotta go with:

Station To Station

Life On Mars

Heroes

Honorable mention:

Blackstar

I strongly suggest that you give a few of Bowie’s live recordings a listen. One thing that is constant throughout all the live recordings, regardless of the year they were recorded, is the always high quality of the band. Playing with Bowie was always an honor and few, if any, musicians turned down the chance.

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OT but that series by Rick Beato is well worth a good look. He has just done the 100th. The one he does for Elton John’s Rocketman is stunning. The tune is great but I never cared much for the lyrics…

Impossible to pick just 3 from Bowie. But to get slightly back OT, this video by Tony Visconti is fascinating:

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I’d love to offer an argument. I cannot. It isn’t even remotely a bad choice and everyone has their own reasons for what makes a top three.

To be fair, that track is nipping at the heels of Young Americans for me. Good choice, especially as it is from my favourite album of his.

It’s a lesser known track, but in the story and context of arguably Bowie’s greatest album, I can understand why. Before CD, albums were better curated and they had to be to fit on 2 sides of a 12" vinyl LP. They told a story, either as a snapshot of the artist in those few months, or as an abstract musical novel; The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was both of those things.

It ain’t easy to get to Heaven
When you’re going down

It Ain’t Easy is the bump back to reality that follows the psychedelic, fantasy-laden tracks Moonage Daydream and Starman. What a story that album tells.

Such an amazing catalogue of work. It would not be too hard to pick something from his later years either, but I became a fan as a kid in the formative years of my musical journey, hence the 70s get the nod from me.

Tel

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It Ain’t Easy was not written by David Bowie, it was written by Ron Davis: Easy

For sure. There are many instances where tracks are not written by the artist, but that doesn’t necessarily fall outside of @RobOK’s loosely defined qualifier for favourite track?

Sometimes an artist picks up someone else’s song and it makes perfect sense in the context of the album it’s released on, whether as part of the snapshot or the story. Sometimes they make a better job of it than the writer/original performer too. I’m thinking of examples along the lines of:

  1. JJ Cale’s After Midnight covered by Eric Clapton on his eponymous album.
  2. Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s Country Comfort covered on Rod Stewart’s Gasoline Alley.

Tel

I could probably do a different top 3 every week for Bowie.

This week

Panic in Detroit
Repetition
Stay

.sjb

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You absolutely correct on all counts. I was just pointing it out since Bowie was known for his great song writing as well his great singing and performing.

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Too much fun not to have a go:

  • sound and vision
  • station to station
  • rock and roll suicide

Simple

And Drive in Saturday, and 5 years :wink:

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Yep - I re-read what I wrote and it seems defensive. I didn’t intend that. Your input made me think of just how many times I’ve encountered tracks that ended-up being stand-outs from the performer on a particular album, but weren’t written by them.

Back in the 60s and 70s, this seemed to happen a lot more; I mean the blurring by swapping/gifting of tracks between an actual singer/songwriter and other performers. Another one springs to mind: Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman for Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul and the whole album feels like it hinges on this track. Despite it being Carole King’s song, the fact she used it to close Tapestry took real guts; who the hell would want to follow Aretha!?

Maybe I’m getting old, and I’m happy to be guided accordingly, but for the last 30-odd years, there seem to be greater instances of songwriter (ones who do not have a significant performer career) and performer separation as the norm (I’m thinking manufactured pop of the Stock Aitken Waterman variety through to ‘talent’ show type factory output of today) rather than the singer/songwriter to other performer paths more common of yesteryear.

I’ll chime in on this, it’s an interesting debate. I think this isn’t quite as much of a trend as you fear. History is littered with examples of Hit Makers. Goffin and King operated out of the Brill building. Motown are another good example as are the Jamaican studios of the late 60s and 70s. The money’s always been in writing and publishing :wink:

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So you’re saying I’m getting old then? :laughing: :rofl:

Point well made and appropriately acknowledged. I had forgotten about the model of Motown etc (see above point on getting old).

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3 Panic in Detroit

2 Kooks

1 Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

Time takes a cigarette :notes:

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One of the first albums I bought as a new teen was Ziggy Stardust which had a very lasting and deep impression on me.

So…

Five years.
Starman.
Suffragette City.

Plenty more obviously but I just love the Ziggy album to this day!

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