Top 10 Favorite David Bowie Songs

I got to see David Bowie open for Nine Inch Nails on their tour opener in Hartford, CT. It was fall of 1995. Bowie had his comeback record with Brian Eno called Outside. The funny think about this show was that I recorded it. On my cheap Sony Walkman I used in college to tape classes in college. The funny part was that it was eventually professionally packaged on a bootleg CD. I don’t know why, as the quality was crap. The bootleggers even used my title. Amazing. Emily and I saw Bowie again on the Area Two Festival in 2002. It was then that I truly saw the power in his performance. Hearing Bowie do Heros live will change your life. I also have to note that it’s still amazing to me how far he came with what little of a voice he had. Hearing those live records he put out in the 70s could sometimes kill dogs with the notes he’d hit. But on the other hand, he’s quite possibly, one of the best performers of our time. I can hear you Major Tom.

  1. Kooks (Hunky Dory) – Think song really started having meaning to me after hearing The Smashing Pumpkins cover this with James on lead vox on this one French radio broadcast from summer of 1993.
  2. Look Back In Anger (Lodger) – The drums are fantasmic. [promo video]
  3. TVC15 (Station to Station)
  4. Space Oddity (Space Oddity) – The whispered countdowns are classic. And the mellotron is devine. The sax at 4:15 sounds like a dog. And the handclaps, perfection.
  5. Black Country Rock (The Man Who Sold The World)
  6. Moonage Daydream (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust)
  7. Watch That Man (Aladdin Sane)
  8. Sound and Vision (Low) [live from A&E looking fine]
  9. Heros (“Heros”) – If you ever watched the History of Rock and Roll that PBS put out in the early 90s, you’ll see how incredible the vocal production was with the three mics in the hallway set up with different noise gates depending on how low he was singing. Revolutionary. [sexy yet mad alien-looking promo video]
  10. Modern Love (Let’s Dance) – My Linn Drum (drum machine) came with chips you could use to replace certain drum sounds. I had one called “Modern Love” – It’s the wonderfully gated snare from this song. Perhaps why this song always has a special place in my hear. [music video]

Runners up are Fame, Blue Jean and Ziggy Stardust. Despite John Lennon only really titling Fame, it’s unmistakably Bowie’s most funky song form his catalog. Blue Jean is just one of those songs. And Ziggy Stardust is like currency. Also notable is Bowie’s mega-quick collaboration with Mick Jagger on Martha and the Vandellas’ Dancing In the Street. Perhaps the worst collaboration cover of all time. And yes, I bought the 7″ when I was 10 and still hold it with pride.

8 Responses to “Top 10 Favorite David Bowie Songs”

  • I can’t listen to Heros without thinking about the butcher job the Wallflowers did to that song.

    Suffragette City would have made my list. It might be an obvious pick, but I don’t think there is a person on this planet who doesn’t yell out each “Hey, Man” in the verses. And he even manages to throw in a “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am” towards the end. Really, that’s pure balls.

  • Suffragette City is definitely in my Top 20. “Pure Balls” is also my new jam. Thanks Ely!

  • This is a difficult list to make. I definitely would also have included Modern Love. Great tune. I think mine would maybe have included Five Years and All you pretty things. What about Bewlay Brothers from Hunky Dory? Or Somebody Up There Likes Me from Young Americans. Hehe, I might need to go per album. In any case, I could definitely have fun listening to Bowie with you.

  • A very difficult list to make, and my opinion would change each time you asked but here’s my top 20 for today…

    1. Station To Station
    2. Star
    3. Candidate
    4. Letter To Hermione
    5. Moonage Daydream
    6. Changes
    7. We Are The Dead
    8. Sweet Thing
    9. Andy Warhol
    10. Miracle Goodnight

    Sorry, I looked through his albums and came up with 20 odd contenders, so it’s a top 20 for me!

    11. Ashes To Ashes
    12. Always Crashing In The Same Car
    13. Five Years
    14. Dead Man Walking
    15. Modern Love
    16. 1984
    17. Jump They Say
    18. Queen Bitch
    19. Sound And Vision
    20. Ziggy Stardust

  • Wonder why Modern Love ain’t that popular, it’s by far the best Bowie song. Ever.

  • Nice that you were able to tape it and enjoy the show over again whenever you wished 🙂

    BTW…. Nine Inch Nails opened for Bowie, not the other way around… but the show was set up with the intention of doing away with an opening act and headlining act, by having NIN’s set give way gradually to Bowie’s set…. they shared a few songs in the middle, gradually swapping out band members.. starting with just bowie and all NIN members, eventually ending up with bowie and only bowie’s band.. then bowie’s set continued…

    Also, that wasn’t Bowie’s ‘comeback’ record.. he released “black tie, white noise” in 1993, his first solo record since 1987’s Glass Spider.

    Keep on rocking in the Bowie world 🙂

  • For some reason, ‘A Conversation Piece’ has always been one of my top ten Bowie songs. The original, not the newer version (although that’s good too). I actually got into Bowie around 1995, and my first two albums were ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Outside’ (the only two my local library had!).

  • It’s hard but I tried. Here we go:

    1. Outside
    2. Conversation Piece
    3. Ashes to Ashes
    4. Fashion
    5. Kooks
    6. Suffragette City
    7. Sorrow
    8. I Wish You Would
    9. See Emily Play
    10. Were Have All The Good Times Gone

    Some other ones:

    11. Lady Grinning Soul
    12. Seven Years In Tibet
    13. Telling Lies
    14. Pablo Picasso
    15. New Killer Star

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