Your Favourite Bowie Songs

Loving the Alien from the Reality Tour: the original version always seemed like half a song, but Gerry Leonard’s arrangement makes it into something special. And Bowie’s vocal performance on this is just beautiful and heartbreaking. And Subterraneans off the Low album, because “bridingly shelley shelley aum”.

I love Bowie, though I admit to mostly being familiar with his ‘hits’.

Ashes to Ashes is probably my favorite. I had a ‘greatest hits’ tape when I was an elementary-aged kid, and that was the track that mesmorized me, listening to it in the dark late at night. Cryptic, cautious lyrics, spaced-out synth, and acoustic sensibilities.

I can bliss out on Heroes for an hour at a time, listening to that wailing guitar feedback over the slowly chugging grove.

I love others as well, but if I could only have two, those would be them.

The “Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)” duet with Bing Crosby. First time I saw/heard that, I was so not expecting it and really impressed with it (not a Bing Crosby fan); what can I say? It moved me.

The ones with Stevie Ray.


  1. Modern Love
  2. The Little Drummer Boy (with Bing Crosby)
  3. Absolute Beginners
  4. China Girl
  5. Blue Jean

I’m going to get out of here before I scream. Someone help.

All the Young dudes
Sufragette City
Five Years
Rock and Roll suicide
Life on mars
Alladin Sane
Hang on to yourself
Oh you pretty things
etc etc etc.

Heroes is one of the greatest songs ever written.

In old SMDB tradition, six of the best:

  1. Life on Mars?
  2. Ashes to ashes
  3. Space oddity
  4. Under pressure (with Queen)
  5. Rock and roll suicide
  6. Loving the alien

It’s possible that Lazarus will be up there once I’ve listened to Blackstar more often.

No votes for The Laughing Gnome ?

Ziggy Stardust (The Bauhaus cover being the first Bowie song I ever recall hearing)
Life On Mars
Absolute Beginners
Scary Monsters
This Is Not America

and, of course
Magic Dance

“You remind me of the Babe”

TVC15 is an often-overlooked gem of rock/soul/funk/motorik grind from an often-overlooked album, Station to Station. Still the best song ever written about your girlfriend climbing into the television and disappearing, and the handclaps are just the icing on the cake.

“Ziggy Stardust” – as covered by Bauhaus.
This was >>THE<< music video that got me into gothic rock.

Short list (excluding covers)

1 - Ashes to Ashes
2 - Life on Mars
3 - Space Oddity
4 - Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
5 - The Bewlay Brothers
6 - Some Are
7 - Changes
8 - The Man Who Sold the World
9 - Fashion
10 - China Girl

Long list (with covers)

1 - Ashes to Ashes
2 - Life on Mars
3 - Space Oddity
4 - Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
5 - The Bewlay Brothers
6 - Some Are
7 - Changes
8 - The Man Who Sold the World
9 - Fashion
10 - Wild Is the Wind (Tiomkin & Washington cover)
11 - China Girl
12 - Amsterdam (Brel cover)
13 - Criminal World (Metro cover)
14 - Young Americans
15 - Heroes
16 - Be My Wife
17 - Ziggy Stardust
18 - Rebel Rebel
19 - Always Crashing in the Same Car
20 - Starman
21 - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
22 - The Secret Life of Arabia
23 - The Hearts Filthy Lesson
24 - I’m Deranged
25 - Sons of the Silent Age
26 - Drive-In Saturday
27 - Outside
28 - Time Will Crawl
29 - Sound and Vision
30 - TVC 15
31 - Never Let me Down
32 - Jump They Say
33 - Battle for Britain (The Letter)
34 - Thursday’s Child
35 - Look Back in Anger

I came in to mention this - good choice. So hooky - Oh my TVC15 - oh oh!

All of Ziggy Stardust. Special mention to Better Hang on to Yourself: “But then we move like tigers on vaseline.” Love that line, and the punky riff sounds great.

Per above, Heroes is one of the best songs ever.

So many more. Listening to the beginning of Fashion, when the funk hits and then Fripp’s jagged lead. Wow.

All the ones mentioned that I’m familiar with, I like. I’ll just add one more: “Up the Hill Backwards.”

Oh, last night I happened to see the 2014 Noah Baumbach film While We’re Young, and the closing credits are to another good one (though not top ten): “Golden Years.”

Another one I love that features Fripp wigging out is Scary Monsters.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned my favorite yet: Young Americans.

Have you have been an un-American?
Just you and your idol singing falsetto 'bout
Leather, leather everywhere, and
Not a myth left from the ghetto
Well, well, well, would you carry a razor
In case, just in case of depression?
Sit on your hands on a bus of survivors
Blushing at all the afro-Sheeners

A complex, well-crafted song that I never get tired of hearing.

And I love the way he slyly slipped a Beatles shout out in there.

The Beatles quote was also due to John Lennon helping him on backing vocals on that album. I believe the backing vocals were arranged by Luther Vandross.

Yes, YA and Golden Years, the height of his Plastic Soul phase, are wonderful.

I’ve always really liked China Girl.

I’ve probably only heard a handful of his songs though. I just listened to Heroes and have no memory of ever having heard it before. I think I was in my country music phase back then.

Loads to choose from.

Queen Bitch
Space Oddity
Life on Mars
Sound and Vision (got to love the Eno collaborations)
Heroes (duh!)

For those who can access it (by whatever means) there was a repeat of a nice Bowie retrospective on the BBC last night. Called David Bowie - Five Years, it looks at five of his key years in more detail and lots of interviews with collaborators and some cracking behind the scenes footage. And great music of course.