Celebrating the birthday of David Bowie with his most legendary songs.
This Friday marks four years since the death of a legend, and the music world is still feeling the terrible loss. Today (January 8th 2020) though, we celebrate what would have been David Bowie's 73rd birthday by putting together a playlist of the greatest songs he's ever released. It's by no means exhaustive, but there are plenty of favourites.
1. Life on Mars?
It's one of his most iconic songs of all time, and we're still not entirely sure what some of the lyrics even mean. Still, it's a masterpiece of songwriting and by far one of the greatest pieces of music to come out of the 70s. It featured on his 1971 fourth album 'Hunky Dory', but was later released as a single to huge popularity.
2. I'm Afraid of Americans
This gem from 1997's 'Earthling' was something of an industrial-esque affair, co-written by Brian Eno and co-produced by Nine Inch Nails with frontman Trent Reznor providing further instrumental as well as backing vocals. It's the last single to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 until 'Blackstar' in 2015.
The iconic and haunting second single from his final album 'Blackstar', released on this day and just two days before his death, was quite the song to go out on. It features in Bowie's musical of the same name inspired by the 1963 novel 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' by Walter Tevis. The dark lyricism of the song also alludes to Bowie's impending death.
4. Space Oddity
Taken from his self-titled second studio album released in 1969, 'Space Oddity' was inspired by Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and came just five days before the Apollo 11 mission launched. The song was re-released in 1975, becoming Bowie's first ever UK number one.
This last minute addition to 1972's 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' nearly didn't make the cut, which would have been a shame as it ties in so nicely with the whole concept of Ziggy Stardust and his alien friends. Definitely a solid favourite.
6. Magic Dance
It's hardly would you'd describe as typical Bowie as it was written and recorded for Jim Henson's 1986 film Labyrinth, in which he starred as the mysterious villain the Goblin King, but that doesn't mean it's any less of a masterpiece. It's full of fun, it's catchy as any of his other singles and features puppets - and who doesn't love puppets?
7. Rebel Rebel
Initially written for a Ziggy Stardust musical which was eventually shelved , 'Rebel Rebel' marked a stark departure from the glam rock aesthetic that made David Bowie famous. It featured on his 1974 album 'Diamond Dogs', and is one of the first examples of Bowie truly "rebelling" and going what many would consider a little off-piste.
8. Ziggy Stardust
This song is all about Bowie's alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star messenger for extraterrestrial beings and the lead character in his iconic concept album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars'. Ziggy is an icon for individuality, and paved the way for gender and sexual identity exploration.
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