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.
- 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.
- Look Back In Anger (Lodger) – The drums are fantasmic. [promo video]
- TVC15 (Station to Station)
- 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.
- Black Country Rock (The Man Who Sold The World)
- Moonage Daydream (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust)
- Watch That Man (Aladdin Sane)
- Sound and Vision (Low) [live from A&E looking fine]
- 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]
- 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.