David Bowie

Happy New Year, everyone.

It’s one year since David Bowie died, it would have been his 70th birthday on Sunday, so I dare say you’ve heard his music playing somewhere this week. Maybe you received Blackstar (on vinyl?) or another gem from his back catalogue for Christmas; since his death, all his albums have experienced a resurgence.

1971’s Hunky Dory is most often voted Bowie’s best, and the fans’ favourite album of his. You can see what readers of the Telegraph have voted their favourite Bowie song – here – but it’s not at all surprising.

Perhaps it’s a Bowie song covered by somebody else that’s grabbed you. Nirvana famously did ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, ‘Space Oddity’ has been covered by the Smashing Pumpkins, and Beck’s interpretation of ‘Sound and Vision’, complete with orchestra, is certainly worth a listen.

Bowie recorded plenty of covers himself, of course: The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’ is on 1975’s Young Americans, and more recently, on Heathens (2002), you’ll find the Pixies number ‘Cactus’.

As a tribute to a unique talent never afraid to push boundaries and keep changing, I hope you’re enjoying his music, whoever is playing it. Whether you’ve heard them for the very first time or rediscovered them this past year, let us know which tracks have particularly moved you.

72 comments

  1. Tim-c

    A post Christmas treat for any Bowie fans – catch ‘the last 5 years’ on iPlayer … fascinating, thought provoking and moving (naturally) …

    • Hannouresk

      A great documentary! Just the isolated vocals on Lazarus are worth to hear. Still, Bowie is a mysterious artist to me (this is meant to be a compliment).

  2. Pete - Coventry

    That’s the thing with Bowie isn’t it. So many different tracks move so many different people.

    As a lad, one particular track that used to grab me was ‘Letter to Hermione’. My goodness, don’t we all go through it when we are young.

    And that particular track kind of sat innocently between two epic songs.

  3. Pavlov

    I was just thinking about him and Peter Sarstedt today in the context of the first anniversary of David Bowie’s death and that Peter Sarstedt died on what would’ve been David Bowie’s 70th birthday.

    I have read that The Last Five Years was fabulous — haven’t seen it.

    Not really sure why exactly, but Diamond Dogs has always been my “go to” David Bowie album and I just adored The Man Who Sold the World [album]. I hear so much of David Bowie’s influence in Blind Melon’s No Rain despite it being more ‘melodic’ (specifically in All the Madmen and The Width of a Circle). Of course I have no clue whether DB was an influence on Shannon Hoon or Blind Melon.

    Welcome to 2017 everyone – my wish for all is health, wealth (for the soul, the mind and pocket-book if needed) and much, much happiness. For me this will be the start of a year of healing … ended last with foot surgery which was long overdue and while there has been negligible discomfort, it’ll be well into March before I can wear a shoe. 🙁 I have learned a new skill though … cane as weapon 😀 (people are really, really rude and impatient as I plod my way around).

    Am eagerly awaiting Chat on Friday.

    • Suzy Smith

      Hey Pavlov~

      Sorry to hear that people are rude to you for not being able to get around quickly. Someday they will not be able to get around quickly. Hopefully they will remember their rudeness and will regret it.

      Glad you are on the road to recovery. May your recovery be as quick as possible.

      Take Care,
      Suzy

      • Pavlov

        Oh Suzy, thank you so much for your kind wishes. It’s a little disappointing and made me really notice that we don’t actually pay attention to much beyond 4 to 6 inches directly ahead of us or as long as it takes to look up from our screens and see that the ♫”signals turn from green to red”.♫

        • Suzy Smith

          With the hurry and worry of life it is easy to forget to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest. Sometimes it takes something to slow us down so it can be practiced.

          It is a work in progress for me.

          I enjoy reading what fellow bloggers write. Fed always springboards with interesting topics

          Your writings are always thoughtful.

          Take Care,
          Suzy.

  4. Michèle

    This man was such a talented chameleon. I’m just listening to his cover of (what a challenge!) the beautiful and powerful song ‘Amsterdam’ by the great Jacques Brel, called ‘Port of Amsterdam’, released as the B-side to his single ‘Sorrow’, I think.

    Love it, very much, even though I still prefer the original (which was never recorded for a studio album, only released on a live album at The Olympia in 1964, still one of the most popular Brel songs).

    Total respect, Mr Bowie.

  5. IMcK

    Happy New Year to everybody out there!

    When I was nine or ten years old, I finally realised those bloody awful ‘Top of the Pops’ LPs were actually performed by cover bands, so I looked for a ‘proper’ album to spend my pocket money on. I’d heard a few singles by David Bowie and when I saw his picture on the front of the Space Oddity album in a record shop, I just felt compelled to buy it. It was certainly a revelation after just hearing Glam Rock drivel on the radio. Once, I’d played the album a number of times, I really got into it and found the longer more complex tracks to be the most intriguing. I never bought that much of Bowie’s material after that, other than Aladdin Sane, a few singles, a greatest hits CD and a special edition of the Space Oddity album on CD (I’d discovered Pink Floyd by 1976, so any spare cash I had after that was mainly spent on their stuff). However, to this day, Space Oddity remains one of my favourite albums and I also never tire of some of his subsequent songs, such as Heroes or Wild is the Wind.

    His live version of Comfortably Numb with David Gilmour is up there in my top three versions of that song. I was disappointed to have missed that particular concert at the RAH in 2006, as I was there a day later…..and one day too early to see Nick Mason guesting on drums. It was still a great night though – only bettered by the four David Gilmour concerts I was lucky enough to see on the 2015-16 tour…..which I really hope will be released on DVD soon (I had to mention it somewhere!).

  6. JC_2410

    At the age of 12, (I’m 56 now), I discovered music to my taste and in no particular order, I got into David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, Queen, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Be Bop Deluxe to name but a few! However, it was David Bowie’s early music in the 70’s, that massively caught my youthful imagination for its originality and for just being so different! (I felt rebellious in those days and hated protocol…..I think I still do!)

    I was in HMV today and Bowie was on Que in store, so I hung around a bit longer than normal. For my personal use and delight, I purchased CD’s “Aladdin Sane”, “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. I also as a gift for a friend who has been a rock through my recent and on-going health issues; bought “A Foot in the Door – The Best of Pink Floyd” (she’s a newbie and loves “Comfortably Numb”, especially the endearing David/David combination at the RAH. Has there ever been a better combination I wonder?)

    With regards to tracks that particularly move me, I have created a list of titles that I hold fond in my lasing memory :-

    – Space Oddity
    – Life on Mars
    – The Jean Jeanie
    – Five Years
    – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
    – Rebel Rebel
    – Starman
    – Wild is the Wind
    – Heros
    – Ashes to Ashes
    – Absolute Beginners
    – Queen Bitch
    – The Bewley Brothers…….and so many more!

    A year passes by so quickly and it serves as a reminder to us all, that we embrace and enjoy life to the absolute full before one day we can’t!

    Shine on……
    John

  7. Damian Cunningham

    In the 70s growing up we used to hang out at a mate’s bedroom. He was and still is a massive Bowie fan. We all worked in the summer season growing up in Blackpool so we all had money, not bad for 13-14 year olds. Well, as I mentioned Tony is a big fan and he had everything Bowie, and he always played them so we all got the knowledge on David Bowie and knew most of the words to all his fantastic, poetic, artistic, timeless music.

    For me best songs: Wild as the Wind and Golden Years. Wild as the Wind always puts a lump in your throat and the hairs stand up. When music does that to your senses we’ll have to say perfection.

    Kind regards
    Damian.

    • Pavlov

      I confess that anything medieval, Chaucerian, or chivalrous just tickles me, so when that delicious being Heath Ledger (anything Heathcliff does too come to think of it 😀 showed up in a not-so-Chaucer (but Chaucer enough for me) A Knight’s Tale, I went to see it. I loved it — just silly enough to suspend my disbelief for a short time and a hearty chuckle when this scene ‘erupted’ onscreen.

      Then there was the almost “noirish” Christiane F. with David Bowie’s almost ‘Faustian’ Sense of Doubt – actually the whole soundtrack was so appropro, wasn’t it?

    • IMcK

      Most of the live versions of Wild is the Wind that I’ve seen on YouTube are great too. The way Mr Bowie hits the notes is amazing. Superb song.

  8. SilverCheek

    Saw Lazarus in London this Saturday. I was stunned, could not say a word for an hour after it. What a man.

  9. Richard

    After a ‘low’ period post ‘Let’s Dance’, I though that ‘Where Are We Now’ from ‘The Next Day’ album was wonderful! By looking back at the days in Berlin (arguably his most inventive) he reminded us how brilliant he was, and could still be.

  10. george

    I have been playing Black Star regularly lately, what an album and the jazz band that recorded it with him. What a send off.

    George

  11. MaryAnn

    In June 2004, I went to what ended up being one of Bowie’s last concerts, although I did not know that at the time. He had just played a large venue in Boston and then we heard he was playing a smaller venue (approx 8000 seats) close by. For reasons that escape me, only about half of the tickets sold for the smaller venue, and when we arrived, we found that they had closed off half the venue, effectively putting the stage twice as close to our seats as we had expected.

    The show was spectacular, I remember being almost overwhelmed by the intensity of the show. Bowie was dancing and moving like a teenager, so it was shocking that less than a month later he canceled the rest of that tour due to heart issues. Even more shocking is that he is no longer with us. I am so grateful I got to see him in concert. He was and is an intriguing musical presence. So very many great songs, favorites are Starman, Heroes, Under Pressure….

    And the lesson I learned from that concert is to seize the day, you never know what tomorrow may bring……

  12. laterr

    It must be hard to believe, but I just heard Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” for the first time. I thought, “I really love it, it’s even better than Nirvana!” Yes, ashamed to confess, I had always thought it’s by Nirvana.

  13. Hannouresk

    Just an addition to the many songs that are already mentioned: I started late listening to “popular” music and I still explore the old stuff of many beloved music heroes. My first Bowie album was Heathen from 2002. Before that I listened to Oasis, U2, Coldplay (nothing against them)…and then that miracle of an album came to me. Really other sounds and lyrics. Just give “I Would Be Your Slave” a chance or the strange simple pop of “Everyone Says Hi”.

    And total agreement: his versions of Arnold Layne and CN are just great and unique.

  14. tim_c

    I’m always inclined towards the live performance over the album track, but revisiting the YouTube / documentary archive again I’m struck by how much this is the case with Bowie … the recent performances benefit from better production quality and the band has more power but it’s actually his voice which seemed so much stronger and more passionate when performing.

  15. Steve

    Happy new year to you all.

    I was lucky enough to be at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006 to watch David that night and attended with my wife sitting a few rows away from the front. Watching David Bowie perform as a guest at the end of the concert still remains one of my most cherished live moments. We sat so close and watched a man put his vocals to one of my most loved songs (Comfortably Numb). I’m not sure how anyone could put his own individual stamp on a song like that but he did that night.

    Unforgettable.

    Steve

    • FEd

      It sure was. How lucky we were to be there, Steve.

      It’s one of my most cherished live moments, too. I was there with a friend who isn’t a Pink Floyd fan (I know, really) and it makes me smile to remember her straining every sinew, along with everyone around us, to see Bowie walk on, then jumping throughout ‘Arnold Layne’. He was perfect for it.

      • laterr

        FEd, – just to clarify, trying to understand better – may I ask, why do you emphasize your friend isn’t a Pink Floyd fan? How do you think should she have reacted if she was a Pink Floyd fan? Why do you think it does matter?

        Having seen that number only on YouTube, not live, I absolutely agree, David Bowie was perfect for it. I would say, the song is perfect for him, too.

        • FEd

          Honestly, sadly, I don’t think she’d list it as one of her favourite concerts; she doesn’t know many of the songs, not even the Floyd classics. But when David Bowie came on stage, she perked up and found the energy to jump all the way through ‘Arnold Layne’. I still find that amusing.

  16. Suzy Smith

    Hey FED and Bloggers~

    Hoping for a safe, healthy, and happy 2017 for all.

    Time does go by quickly.

    David Bowie had many personas that he presented for his various works of art. Encompassing to say the least. Making his albums a journey.

    My favourite song is Heroes. Fortunately it is played on Acoustic Storm now and then, although not often enough The acoustic version is beautiful. Not to say that any of his songs are also great. That one just really hits a spot

    Naturally the two Davids doing Comfortably Numb is choice.

    The heavens are filling with bright stars, more each year, as they watch over our island in space.

    Take Care,
    Suzy

  17. Lizzy

    Happy new year, FEd!

    Classy guy, Bowie. It’s very scary when all the rock and pop stars you grew up with and are not that much older than you start dying. Not to mention infinitely sad (what with all the crap they call music these days, grumble, grumble). I have a one-track mind though, so my favourite Bowie moment has to be his rendition of ‘Arnold Layne’ in the RAH.

  18. Taki

    I must confess that David Bowie is not in my favourite list. I acknowledge that he wrote good music but I don’t dig his singing voice. Having said that, there’s a song I really like: “Lets Dance” produced by Nile Rodgers.

  19. gary hurley

    Back in 1976 I went along to the Wembley Empire Pool (now the Arena) to see one of his Station To Station gigs the ticket was marked Block B row A on the Arena floor it turned out to be in the very front row because Block A was on the left side and Block C on the right side!

    The gig was as good as any Floyd or Who show that I went along to in the 70s at the same venue.

    The album of the same name is still in my top 20 all time L.P.s!

    Gary Hurley
    London England.

  20. Suzy Smith

    Hey FEd & Bloggers~

    I would like to add another David Bowie song that I enjoy, it is Under Pressure.

    Thought Queen only did that song but upon further research found that David Bowie, Freddy Mercury and a couple other people wrote the song.

    Was very happy to find that out.

    Take Care,
    Suzy

  21. Werner

    I saw David Bowie 2003 in Munich and in 2006 with David Gilmour, which I hopefully will always remember! Of his last songs, the song Blackstar touched me very much! Great Song and great Video!

  22. Hannouresk

    Sorry I am on a train somewhere in north Germany and can’t join the chat. Greetings to everyone. 🙂

  23. Maya

    Bowie’s music definitely changed the world. There are too many brilliant pieces to list. But I’m always pulled back to one moment that was actually an interview from the early 80s on MTV. He turned the tables on his interviewer (very politely) and demanded to know why we weren’t seeing any artists of color on the channel. It still thrills me that his personal philosophies were as progressive as his music.

    We will always miss you, Starman.

    Also, may I say how much I appreciate the morbid humor of wrapping our main man in bubble wrap for the new year? The look on his face is priceless. His look seems to say to Polly, “why I have to go along with your *#}^ just because I married you…”. And then to celebrate the new year by unwrapping him. He looks very resigned to that game in the second photo. Just priceless. Polly is hilarious and to share these human moments is divine. Long live our Gilmour. Forever and ever.

  24. ash

    I have to say Ashes to Ashes don’t I ? 😀

    I can’t help but think of the song lyrics instead of the prayer every time I hear the prayer.

    I saw Bowie play twice, I wish it had been more.

    ash

  25. Andrew

    My first exposure to Bowie was in the early 70s when I heard Space Oddity on the radio. And throughout the 70s I remember hearing his hits on the radio. Rebel Rebel, Golden Years, Fame. But it wasn’t until the early 80s when I put on the LP Ziggy Stardust that I totally connected with him. To this day that is still my go to album.

    When he passed a year ago, I was in total shock. Typically celebrity passings don’t effect me because in reality you don’t build a personal relationship with a celebrity. Sure it’s a sad thing when a celebrity passes but isn’t it just sad when anyone passes? But for some reason Bowie’s passing moved me and ironically I didn’t come out of that funk until I listened to Ziggy Stardust that weekend.

    What is great though is that we can always celebrate his life through the massive and diverse catalogue of music he left behind.

    For Christmas this past year I also received a Bowie item. It wasn’t a CD or record but actually a rather cool looking Bowie decorated coffee mug.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  26. frank

    When he passed last year. I dedicated Heroes and played it live for my friends.

    Hallelujah for Cohen, Lucky Man for Keith, and now Greg Lake.

    David was an inspirational musician. I love the Next Day album. Is it just me or am I the only person not to hear that album on the airwaves anywhere in North America? The whole album is incredible.

  27. Emilio

    It seems I can’t join the chatroom today, sorry.

    Enjoy staying together!

    If I don’t see you, have a good weekend, all of you and FEd.

    Ciao!

  28. Suzy Smith

    Dear FEd & Bloggers~

    Today was a positive day. Especially after such a bleak day the 20th was and will go down in history as being.

    It showed on news President Obama’s inauguration was crowded. Last Thursday there were empty spaces. Empty spaces speak loudly.

    The little town I live in had its Womens March as does other towns/cities through out the nation. But today news reported 8000 people showed up in this little town to voice their various concerns. As towns/cities through out the nation.

    People in strollers to wheelchairs and every age in between came together peacefully.

    Gives me hope.

    Take Care,
    Suzy

  29. Mark Jardine

    Without doubt, The Man Who Sold the World is my favourite Bowie track.

    It’s crazy to think it was over a decade ago that the three Davids played together at the Royal Albert Hall!

  30. laterr

    Warmest wishes to the best drummer in the world (and he is, really, as because of his delicate and intelligent playing I discovered that drums are the Musical instrument). Happy Birthday Mr. Coolness!

  31. calista

    Hi everyone; I was never a massive fan of David Bowie’s but I always loved Starman and Heroes. I only ever saw him once and that was at Live Aid – a long time ago!

    If anyone is interested I believe the documentary Ziggy Stardust is being shown at cinemas nationwide in the UK on March 7th as well as a new documentary involving an interview with the drummer from the Spiders From Mars. Everyone who buys a ticket also gets an issue of Mojo magazine with a special cover featuring Bowie as Ziggy Stardust – a real collectors item.

    Take care x

  32. Michèle

    Congratulations to mon ami Ken on becoming a (proud) grandad again today. Welcome to the new granddaughter! 🙂

    (Thank you for letting me know, Chatroom.)

  33. Damian Cunningham

    Great chatting today. There are so many lonely people out there, especially old folk. The chat room really brightened my day today. We need to encourage old folk to set up chat sites like the one on here and show them how easy it is.

    I think I really need to get back into charity work and I would encourage others to do so, no matter where you are on planet earth. Sorry for banging on but the way people and the world are going, the balance between positive and negative really needs a rebalance. I think that’s why we miss all our passed artists, because without them and their very much missed creativity we notice how messed up the world is becoming.

    Kind regards
    Damian

    PS Could David manage a teeny weeny mini tour to cheer us up?

  34. Andrew

    Maybe I’m behind in things but I just caught a program on television today called David Gilmour Wider Horizons. What a fabulous program that gives you just a little more insight about David, recording process, rehearsals for tour and so much more. Even a few snippets of Joker’s Wild. I hope all of you get to watch this program at some point.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

      • Andrew

        Don’t know about that but this was filmed as they were rehearsing for the Rattle That Lock tour. There is some footage from the show in Croatia. Which by the way looks like an awesome location for a concert.

        Maybe FEd can answer your question.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  35. Andrew

    It is such ashame that the Grammy Awards decided to recognize David Bowie after he passed. I understand that in his career he won only one Grammy back in the early 80s for a video. I always believed the Grammys are a joke and this just further supports my belief.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

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