Growing Up With David Bowie

 


maxresdefault

Like a lot of people, I grew up with the music of David Bowie providing a soundtrack for my life. The first song of his I heard was Starman.



Appositely enough, I heard it leaning back on my radio, in the early hours of the morning, not knowing what time it was. Anne Nightingale played it and I loved it immediately. There was something about Bowie’s voice, the catchy melody and the single string guitar solo that combined so compellingly that I became an instant Bowie fan – and have been one ever since.




When a new album came out, I bought it. Ziggy Stardust (1972) was my first Bowie album.

ZiggyStardust

It was followed by Aladdin Sane – still one of my favourite Bowie albums.

Im542l

This was followed by Station to Station,

Station_to_Station_cover

Space Oddity,

Space-Oddity

Low,

Low_(album)

David Live,

31F7J4KPNBL

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps),

220px-DavidBowieScaryMonstersCover

and 1: Outside.

Outsidebowie

When Aladdin Sane came out, I bought it, loving the music – although Watch That Man had been mixed strangely and always sounded muddy to me – and liking Bowie’s eye-patch/pantomime image change.



Pin Ups was okay.

51IPyLxg6cL

It contained one or two good covers, but I thought Sorrow, the single, was the weakest track.

Diamond_dogs

The next album, the brilliant Diamond Dogs, was excellent, especially Big Brother, When You Rock and Roll With Me, Rebel Rebel and Candidate.

Young_americans

Then came Young Americans. Strangely, I liked Across the Universe the most, and the title track next.



David Live, despite adverse criticism regarding its sound quality, is a wonderful, powerful live album. During this phase of Bowie’s career, I bought Hunky Dory (1971)

Bowie-Hunky

and David Bowie.

Bowie-davidbowie

On the former, my favourite tracks were (and still are): Oh You Pretty Things, Kooks, The Bewlay Brothers, and Queen Bitch, particularly its opening guitar riff.



Then I bought Space Oddity, and thought that the title track was the weakest track on it.

Space-Oddity

The best track on it is Cygnet Committee, which is one of Bowie’s best songs.

Station_to_Station_cover

After those came Station to Station, and if there’s a better Bowie album, then I’m not sure which one it is. It rocks. It’s Young Americans 2. It’s so powerful, it’s amazing. Six long tracks, two singles: Golden Years and TVC15, but it’s the title track, Wild is the Wind, Stay and Word on a Wing that make Station to Station so compelling.



And then there was Low and then Heroes

DavidBowieHeroesCover

which are parts one and two of the so-called Berlin Trilogy, produced by Tony Visconti and not (according to urban myth) by Eno. Low is excellent, especially the instrumentals. Heroes, the title track, is Bowie’s epic.



The instrumentals on Low and Heroes are excellent too. The only thing that spoils Heroes is the last track, which is in the wrong place. It should be put just before the instrumental tracks. Try it. It improves the album no end.

Bowie-lodger

Lodger wasn’t like Low or Heroes. The songs are good, but I didn’t – and still don’t – understand what it was or what it was trying to do. I like Look Back in Anger, but that’s about it.




Stage was a superb live album,

Stage_album_cover

but Scary Monsters was so amazing that Stage got overshadowed.

220px-DavidBowieScaryMonstersCover

Up the Hill Backwards, Ashes to Ashes, the title track and Fashion, are all brilliant.



As the World Falls Down, Underground, Magic Dance, and Within You from Labyrinth (1986) are all excellent,

Labyrinth_(David_Bowie_album)_coverart

as is: This Is Not America,

Bowie_ThisIsNotAmerica

Baal,

Bowie_Baal

Under Pressure,

upjewel

When the Wind Blows,

Bowie_WhenTheWindBlows

Absolute Beginners, That’s Motivation,

Bowie_AbsoluteBeginners

and Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.

R-432020-1355128428-6653_jpeg


Then there’s David Bowie’s flirtation with classical music; his role as the narrator of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf,

220px-DavidBowie_Peter&Wolf_cover

And then there’s Let’s Dance.

David-bowie-lets-dance

It’s an amazing Bowie album. The title track, China Girl, Modern Love and Cat People are the best tracks, although the slower version of Cat People from the film soundtrack album is a much better song.

I like Loving the Alien, Blue Jean, Tonight and God Only Knows from Tonight, but it’s not Bowie’s best album.

Tonight_(album)

It’s not his worst either. That dubious honour goes to Never Let Me Down, the Bowie album that let everyone down.

Never-Let-Me-Down

Of its tracks, Bang Bang is okay. Day In Day Out is not as good as everyone says. Never Let Me Down is the one Bowie album to avoid. It’s not good.

The three Tin Machine albums are – contrary to popular opinion – very good.

Tin-machine_album

The first album is great; the second has some great tracks on it, particularly a souped-up cover of Roxy Music’s If There is Something.

MI0002887723

The Live Oy Vey Baby is a good live album that showcases a good live band.

Tin-machine_oy

It works for me.



Then there was Black Tie White Noise.

Blacktiewhitenoise

It got great reviews and deservedly so. Miracle Goodnight is brilliant, as are I know it’s Gonna Happen Some Day, and the cover of Scott Walker’s Nite Flights.



One of Bowie’s best albums is The Buddha of Suburbia.

Bowie_buddha-of-suburbia_2007-release

A mix of songs and instrumentals, it’s lovely. It was followed by 1: Outside,

Outsidebowie

another excellent album, with classic tracks such as Heart’s Filthy Lesson and Strangers When We Meet.

Earthling was the next album,

Earthling_(album)

but I only like Little Wonder and The Letter from it.



david bowie



Hours is a soft and gentle album, and the last to feature guitarist Reeves Gabrels.

Bowie_Hours

There are heavy moments on it, none more so than on The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell, a brilliant track.



All Saints is a collection of previously-released instrumentals,

All_Saints_(David_Bowie)

and is a very good album.

Heathen

Heathen is okay, but apart from a great cover of the Pixie’s Cactus, it’s just Bowie being pretty good, but not amazing.

He’s a bit better on Reality,

David_Bowie_-_Reality

It’s not a bad album. Reality is fairly reasonable Bowie, but that’s all.


Finally, a few I’ve missed mentioning are Bowie at the Beeb,

cover_11122019112009

which is an excellent, wonderfully comprehensive live collection from a man at the height of his musical powers. If you’re lucky you’ll get the bonus CD with a fairly recent live performance at the BBC Radio Theatre.

B1BDZeoJh3S__SX355_

I’ve also skipped Live Santa Monica 72,

Santa_Monica_72

Christiana F.

273

and The Man Who Sold the World, which are all superb.

tumblr_mfn9krjcLt1rnmvzto1_500

The title track of The Man Who Sold the World was covered by Nirvana on their excellent Unplugged album.



And then, in 2013, there was The Next Day.

homepage_large_83dc50db

It was Bowie’s 23rd studio album and it got great reviews.

The Stars Are Out Tonight, The Next Day, and Where Are We Now are really good songs. Bowie’s voice is strong. It is a return to form. It is also Bowie’s 24th studio album.

On his 69th birthday, Bowie released a new album, Blackstar.

Blackstar_album_cover

It is strange, unusual, interesting and experimental. Once more David Bowie had produced an album that would take the world a little time to catch up. Two singles from it were the title track and Lazarus:

Two days later, David Bowie died.

I was hoping David Bowie would bring out more albums as great as Station to Station, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, David Live, Young Americans, Scary Monsters, 1: Outside, The Buddha of Suburbia, Hours, or Blackstar, but sadly, that’s not going to happen.

Bowie


Okay, that’s my round-up of the music of David Bowie. I grew up with it and I’m still growing up with it and still listening to it. 

Apart from a few possibly interesting posthumous record company cash-ins, I think the most significant of Bowie’s best music has already been recorded and released. David Bowie has contributed hugely to his culture, and his music has made many people happy.

David Bowie
8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Written June 17th, 2008/Revised January 11th, 2016.


© R J Dent (2008 & 2016)

www.rjdent.com



r-j-dent-logo6





















Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “Growing Up With David Bowie”

  1. thespiralscratch Says:

    Nice, as a child my older brother had a bunch of Bowie albums. Soundtracked my life ever since. Check out my posting on http://thespiralscratch.wordpress.com/

  2. nigel terry Says:

    I love David Bowie! I realise some people aren’t as keen on his more recent stuff, but I think Heathen and Reality are both amazing albums. I will admit, Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars are my favourite two, but after 50 years of making music, you can’t deny that Bowie’s still got it!

  3. Dave Pine Says:

    I agree 100%

  4. Bostwick Palmer Says:

    I guess I agree with what you are saying, almost on everything – Tin Machine weren’t crap but everyone thinks they were – and Never Let Me Down sucked big time… The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell is a fantastic song. I just wish you’d mentioned Baal and the other side projects of Bowie’s – Truth, Pretty Pink Rose, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s