David Robert Jones (8 January 1947-10 January 2016)
My introduction to David Bowie was “Modern Love” in 1983, a song which captivated me for reasons I couldn’t understand. When my mom spied me watching the video on a Saturday morning television show she made some remark about Bowie’s appearance and that he changed colors more than a chameleon. I was intrigued and began to dig deeper — perplexed when I realized that this was the same man responsible for “Changes,” a song which I was by-then sick of from having heard it every day on the school bus’s radio. A week ago I told confirmed with myself that I’d be absolutely OK with never hearing “Suffragette City” or “Rebel Rebel” again for as long as I live and breathe. At the same time, I looked forward to the release of Blackstar and still routinely put on “The Laughing Gnome,” which I like without any irony; how can I, a massive fan of both Anthony Newley and Syd Barrett, not? Everything Bowie did has its fans but no one likes it all.
Bowie’s death has already brought out the reductive listicles of his five best songs, seven songs, ten best songs, eleven best songs (number 8 will shock you!), and even 40 best songs (thank NME) but Bowie was too big for that, you might as well just list all of his songs. No two people will agree on which are the best and that’s fine. I don’t love the Berlin trilogy as much as (former) record store employees are expected to and I enjoy, guilt-free, songs like “When I’m Five” and “Absolute Beginners” that you’re not.
I pretty much love everything Bowie did from 1966-1972 and a great deal of what he did after. However, rather than try to sum up his life with his best songs. Bowie’s influence extended far beyond music to theater, fashion, film and even his own subculture, Bowie Boys. It’s impossible to to imagine Glam Rockers, Post-Punks, Soul Boys, Synth Poppers, New Romantics, Sophisti-Poppers, and Romos without his influence.
So here, instead of a list of my favorite Bowie songs, are my favorite Bowie-indebted musical moments by the Children of the Dame:
Joy Division — Transmission
Kate Bush — Babooshka
The Church – It’s No Reason
The Psychedelic Furs — Sister Europe
Morrissey — I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday
Pulp — Party Hard
Brian Eno — Baby’s On Fire
Cockney Rebel — Mr. Raffles
Peter Murphy — Strange Kind of Love
David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto — Forbidden Colours
Cuddly Toys — Mad Men
Suede – Sam
Grant Lee Buffalo — The Whole Shebang
Shudder to Think — Hot Love
Hedwig & the Angry Inch — Wig in a Box
Seona Dancing — Bitter Heart
The Sisters Of Mercy — This Corrosion
Jobriath — I’m a Man
Brett Smiley — Space Ace
Blur — Strange News From Another Star
McAlmont & Butler — What’s the Excuse this Time?
Spacehog — Mungo City
Space Waltz — Out on the Street
Jacno — Rectangle
Honorable mention to Another Pretty Face, Arcadia, Crime & The City Solution, The Cure, David Werner, Doctors of Madness, Duran Duran, Echo & the Bunnymen, Falco, Fancy, Iggy Pop, Antony & The Johnsons, John Miles, Klaus Nomi, Laurie Anderson, Max Lazer, Metro, Modern English, Naked Eyes, Orange Juice, Paul Williams (Phantom of the Paradise), Pet Shop Boys, Phantom of the Paradise, The Poptones, Real Life, Richard O’Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Roderick Falconer, Roxy Music, Sailor, Skyhooks, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sparks, Supernaut, The Mission, Talk Talk, The Tears, Tiger Lily, When In Rome, and Zolar X and all the rest.