Right after David Bowie died, almost a year ago, I went to buy his then-new album Blackstar on Amazon. But it was SOLD OUT. Bowie’s first #1 album in the United States, which I purchased a couple of weeks later, is a fitting ending to an eclectic career.
About a month following his death, I was doing some research on how to market oneself as an artist. I came across this article about David Bowie. Well, more his response to comments about his previous article about David Bowie.
A commenter wrote that Bowie is “one of the most brilliant marketers in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” adding, “He is all about the money and he goes with ‘flow of the times.'” And the writer largely agreed: “Bowie tailored his music to fit each era, embracing styles from folk to glam rock to soul to electronic music and ‘drum and bass.'”
That didn’t sit well with me at all. He did not “go with the flow of the times,” he helped INVENT the flow of the times, which is why he was revered and is missed.
Here are 16 Bowie songs. The fact that many are in a different order than the last time I put together such a list shows how fluid my affection is for different songs, depending on what I heard most recently. Links to all, #s indicate US Billboard highest position. .
16. Let’s Spend the Night Together (From Aladdin Sane, 1973) – I like how reads the title lyric, compared with the Rolling Stones original
15. Starman, #65 (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972) – my favorite album, still
14. Life on Mars? (Hunky Dory, 1971) – from the first Bowie album I ever got, won from WNPC radio station in a phone contest
13. TVC15 (Station to Station, 1976)- because I like the vocal
12. Rebel Rebel, #64 (Diamond Dogs, 1974) – love the guitar on this
11. Suffragette City (Ziggy Stardust) – the dialogue is the first hook
10. DJ (Lodger, 1979)- “I am the DJ, I am what I play” used to mean something
9. Lazarus (Blackstar, 2016) – such an honest final statement
8. Fashion (Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), 1980)- beep, beep
7. Young Americans, #28 (Young Americans, 1975)- I believe he performed this on Soul Train. “Do you remember your President Nixon,” whose birthday, BTW, is tomorrow.
6. Fame, #1, and #21 soul (Young Americans) -the original, not the lesser Fame ’90 remix that I have on the Pretty Woman soundtrack. Co-written by John Lennon. LOVE the scales of “fame, fame, fame, fame…”
5. Panic in Detroit (Aladdin Sane)- “looks a lot like Che Guevera”, plus great background singing
4. Star (Ziggy Stardust)- rock and roll!
3. Golden Years, #10 (Station to Station)- the kids on Soul Train didn’t know what to make of the Thin White Duke, but they liked the song
2. Changes, #41 (Hunky Dory)- even my college roomie Ron liked THIS song
1. Space Oddity, #124, then #15 in 1973 (David Bowie – in the UK; Man of Words/Man of Music, 1969) – this song became more acutely painful after Bowie’s death
Oh, and in its own category: Under Pressure, with Queen, #7 in 1981 – a bass line so good, even Vanilla Ice sounded (relatively) good…