In homage to the incomparable David Bowie

David Bowie My dear friend Alex just texted me to remind me of something I said to him once: “I think I was heavily influenced by David Bowie at some pivotal points in my life”.

I remember the first summer I really got into the music of David Bowie. Everyone grows up listening to a handful of the classics – Heroes, Changes, Starman – but the first time I took it beyond the songs that would find me via airplay or my dad’s old record player was on the Greek island of Spetses. In the photo below, it’s highly likely I was listening to some Bowie on an early incarnation of an MP3 player. I distinctly remember lying back on the boat, soaking up the sun and sinking into an incredible bank of music that would never stray far from my ‘most played’ thereafter.

Spetses

I’ve always been even more interested in the lyrics of a song than the music itself, and to me, that’s where Bowie shone. When I got home from Spetses, I decided to write out the full lyrics of Moonage Daydream on the wall next to my bed. I’d read them night after night and get lost in this beautiful, ridiculous ‘otherworld’ he managed to create by putting some mismatch words together.

Moonage Daydream

Major image creds to: http://bowieandart.tumblr.com/

My fascination with his persona followed shortly after, and accelerated in university. My parents came up to visit at some point in my freshman year and, as they were arriving just as I was on my way out to some non-fancy dress club night or another (NOT pictured below), my mum exclaimed “you look like David Bowie!” “That’s the point. Ta-ta”. I became associated my penchant for drawing lightning bolts on my own face, and coercing my pals into letting me do the same to them. I freaking loved David Bowie so much that the person who got me in our Secret Santa that Christmas just got me a whole load of Bowie merch (t shirt; book; glittery make up to apply yet more lightening bolts to my face).

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Lightening bolts

Lightening bolt

Those photos are a necessary evil. 

As time wore on, lightening bolts became stars. On this particular night out, I was listening to Starman while doing my make up and, well, this is what happened. Notice no one else is wearing face paint. 18 year old me is so cringe.

Star

As I’d moved away from home, my mother painted over the walls, and Moonage Daydream disappeared. So, too, did the words “Bowie, come here, I loooove you,” which were scrawled on the ceiling. They allude to a voice recording of my friend Ciaran saying exactly that, which I used as my text tone for a year in 2005 (not to the great amusement of my teachers who couldn’t work out where this weird voice was coming from). That bedroom is now a (warm, lovely, hospitable) spare room with one major hark back to my 18 year occupation: a giant poster of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. I bought it because it shows him in exactly the kind of gear I wanted to deck myself out in at the age of 17.

David Bowie

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust

Image credits to David Bowie – I’m sorry, I don’t know who else to credit this to.

The popularity of some artists is ubiquitous. David Bowie was an indisputable genius. If the legacy of his various colourful incarnations could get one sullen 2003 teen out of black t-shirts and into something a little more sartorially jubilant, I have no doubt that his tragic passing will prevent that from happening again and again. He’s timeless.

David Bowie

Image credits to David Bowie – I’m sorry, I don’t know who else to credit this to.

Most played Bowie tracks

Using its airplay data, music licensing company PPL issued a list of the 20 Bowie tracks that were used most frequently on TV and radio:

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1. Let’s Dance

2. Under Pressure

3. Starman

4. Ashes to Ashes

5. Rebel Rebel

6. Space Oddity

7. Life on Mars?

8. Changes

9. The Jean Genie

10. China Girl

11. Heroes

12. Modern Love

13. Young Americans

14. Golden Years

15. Sound and Vision

16. Fashion

17. Sorrow

18. Dancing in the Street

19. Absolute Beginners

20. Ziggy Stardust

 

My favourite David Bowie tunes

Right now, I don’t have time to fix the bug that’s preventing me from embedding videos; but these are my very favourite David Bowie songs. Enjoy. Let me know your favourites in the comments below. The great thing about an artist with such an extensive back catalogue is that there’s always a new B-side to discover. Hit me with it.

  • Moonage Daydream – of course. The lyrics that sent me to sleep countless times throughout my teens. Listen to it here.
  • Drive in Saturday – I found this one a little later on and it resparked my love for this amazing man. Listen to it here.
  • London, Bye, Ta-Ta – This came on my shuffle as I was leaving London to go travelling last year. One of those weird moments. Listen to it here.
  • Modern Love – I was obsessed with this song when I was 17. I remember my modern love interest du jour put it on and I mouthed the lyrics with some serious sass. He laughed his head off. It was one of the few light-hearted moments I got out of this rather nutty (if very passionate) soul. If I get married, I’m listening to this on repeat all morning (and chucking mimosas down my gullet as I mourn the sorry demise of my bachelorette lifestyle). Listen to it here.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide – His most beautiful song, in my humble opinion. This is university hangovers all over. Listen to it here.

RIP Bowie, you’re wonderful.

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One response to “In homage to the incomparable David Bowie”

  1. […] a monkeys’ about (only David Bowie was enough to get me excited about a star on the floor. You can read more about my love for Ziggy Stardust here). The latter was a big […]

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