ByDamien Draxler, writer at
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Damien Draxler

Top David Bowie songs

Playlist Part 1:

1. Let's Dance
2. Jump They Say
3. The Hearts Filthy Lesson
4. Lazarus
5. Hallo Spaceboy
6. Rebel Rebel
7. Diamond Dogs
8. Ashes To Ashes
9. Ziggy Stardust
10. Fame
11. Space Oddity
12. Drive-In /Saturday

Let's Dance 1983, Let's Dance


Wow, straight in with the goodies. Let's Dance is a funky mid 80's number, with sharp electronic drums, synths, trumpets, topped with some funky guitar licks on top. For better or worse it's classic 80's. But it does have sinister undertones, with Bowie's deep, anguished croon showing hints of a desperation and obsession, maybe beyond just simple dancing. Despite its relative simplicity, its a great start to the star's work.

Jump They Say - 1993, Black Tie White Noise


A surprisingly groovy pop song, in the vein of early era George Michael and Janet Jackson. It's very electronic and funky, but with some harsh drums and abrasive texture that give the song a hint of edge. With its bouncy chorus and female backing vocals, its a bridge between Bowie's 80's pop and his alternative music of the 90's.

The Hearts Filthy Lesson - 1995, Outside


The Thin White Duke goes goth. This song could either fit into an S&M club, or on the soundtrack of a threatening, dark, horror film - and did, being used in the credits of the film Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Its a dark, moody, song for viewers who like goth.

Lazarus - 2013, Blackstar


A cryptic, doomy song - with an industrial dark vibe. Lyrics like 'I'm in heaven look at me now', serve as a jerking start to the Bowie ride in this doomy monster. Highly reminiscent of the song 'Lullaby' by The Cure.

Hallo Spaceboy - 1995, Outside


David Bowie goes disco? A full on outrageous dance song that's far more polished and smooth than the last clubber Jump They Say, this song is full on new disco. Not a favourite of the author, but essential for showcasing the The Thin White Duke's diversity.

Rebel Rebel - Diamond Dogs, 1974


This hard rocking track is a jump back in time and genre, to the 70's. It's opening riff is fantastically sleazy, a throwback to a time when T.Rex, Slade, and Kiss ruled the airwaves. A great track for house party.

Diamond Dogs - Diamond Dogs 1974


Yet another hard rocker. This song is even more harder edged than Rebel Rebel, being aimed for the headbanging crowd. The single cover featured Bowie drawn as an androgynous half-dog half-man creature and has become one of the most iconic images in rock.

Ashes to Ashes - Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, 1981


Changing genres again back to electronic - but far from being pop, Ashes to Ashes is a quirky new wave song, released 1981, so despite the electronic instruments and synths, there's a rebellious, almost offbeat sensibility to the tune. David Bowie 's look in this time was inspired by contemporary post-punk stars, like Siouxsie & the Banshees and The Cure.

Ziggy Stardust - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1973


A classic rock ballad, Ziggy Stardust features slow majestic licks and thick, mountainous guitar riffs. It's a great song to chill to, and maybe, just maybe smoke up to.

Fame - Young Americans, 1976


Stevie Wonder, Prince-esque funk jam. It's only minimally produced - spindly funk guitar, brass, and a slinky drum and groove. The song is also one of the few in which Bowie sings in a deeper, soul-inspired croon. It was the singer's first No. 1 n the US - even with doomy lyrics about the corruption and rot of fame on the soul. But the melody's so catchy you don't care.

Space Oddity Space Oddity, 1969


Narratively this song is quite complex - an astronaut's feelings while flying into space, from lift-off to floating above the earth. Musically, though its incredibly direct and beautiful. Its a lush piano ballad with some of the most poetic lyrics and delightful melodies in pop. A grand orchestra and some sound effects give a magical gleam to the chorus. A modern day classic.

Drive In Saturday - Aladdin Sane, 1973


A gorgeous doo-wop song. Very slow and relaxed, with Four Seasons-esque backing vocals, its a tribute to early 1950's ballads like 'Rhythm of the Rain' or 'Please Mr. Postman'.


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