March Artist – David Bowie (Part 1)
This post is part of my Deep Dive Music Project. This month I’m listening to some music by David Bowie. Be sure to check out the David Bowie playlist I have on Spotify. This post has all my thoughts about the music I’ve listened to this month, and is broken up into two parts including this one. Click on the link below if you’d like to read the other sections.
This month I’m diving into some of the albums of the late, great British singer-songwriter David Bowie.
Last month I listened to the music of Frank Ocean, whose work I previously didn’t know (and who I came to greatly enjoy). This month I’m featuring David Bowie, who is probably the artist that I’m most familiar with (of the artists I’m featuring on this project). This familiarity is due to a couple of factors. First, Bowie’s music (particularly his big hits like “Space Oddity” or the iconic duet with Queen “Under Pressure”) was played on the radio station my parents listened to when I was a kid. And because like artists I’ve previously featured such as Prince, Johnny Cash (or artists still to come Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye) David Bowie was a pretty iconic figure in music. His songs have been featured in movies (pretty sure I first heard “Heroes” in the movie Moulin Rouge), and on TV shows and commercials. In English speaking-countries at least, I think it would be hard to find an adult who hasn’t heard a David Bowie song.
But when I was thinking of artists to feature on this project I wanted to include David Bowie, because while I might know some of his radio singles I’ve never listened to one of his albums. I know there’s more to David Bowie than just his radio singles, and I want to get into more of his music.
The David Bowie Songs I Kind Of Know
As mentioned earlier David Bowie is the artist whose work I’m the most familiar with (for the artists chosen on this project). The David Bowie songs that I kind of know (in no particular order) are
- Life on Mars?
- Space Oddity
- Under Pressure (duet with Queen)
- Rebel Rebel
- Golden Years
- Young Americans
- China Girl
- Magic Dance (from Labyrinth – I might try to watch this movie if I have time)
- Suffragette City
- I’m Waiting For the Man (cover of a Velvet Underground song)
- Dancing in the Street (duet with Mick Jagger, also a cover of a Martha and the Vandellas song)
Before I start diving into the discography for the artists I’ve chosen I want to give a rundown of the impression I get of their music and their work. This may or may not be accurate. The point of this isn’t for me to tell you, “this is definitely what this artist’s music is/will be like” but for me to see if these impressions are correct as I go along. They may or may not be.
David Bowie had a long career spanning from the late 1960’s up until his death in 2016 (the same year fellow Deep Dive Music artist Prince passed away). Despite only knowing a dozen or so David Bowie songs I felt a sadness when I found out about his death. I remember being shocked because he was only 69 when he died on January 10 (his birthday was only 2 days prior). When I heard of Bowie’s passing my first thought was “oh no, the world is a little less weird now.”
And I use the term weird in the highest honor, because when I think of David Bowie I think of an iconic artist who was creative, innovative, and who did his own thing. Bowie seemed to be creative not only in his expression of music, but in his style and who he was as a person. I know he had albums with different stage personas. I believe he came out as bisexual in the 1970’s (which wasn’t a common occurrence at the time). Bowie was also an artist (maybe one of the first superstars) to play with traditional ideas of gender at the time. He would wear make up, dress androgynously, and while it’s more common to see this across genders today these ideas were just starting in the 70s, and I believe Bowie was a big pioneer in this.
I’m expecting David Bowie’s albums to be eclectic. I know most of Bowie’s music can probably be classified as rock and glam rock, but I always got the impression that he was willing to change and be innovative during his career. Some artists find “their sound” and “their style” and it remains pretty constant throughout their career. I don’t think this will be the case with David Bowie.
These are just my preliminary impressions of David Bowie from the limited amount of songs of his I’ve heard. We’ll see if any of these are accurate.
The David Bowie Albums I’m Listening To This Month
David Bowie had a pretty long career with 27 studio albums, as well as several live albums, and compilations. As such I felt pretty overwhelmed with where to start for this project. Luckily my friend and visual artist Brady gave me some album recommendations to listen to this month. She actually gave me more recommendations than I’ll be able to get to this month (though I’ll probably listen to more Bowie albums when this project is over). In any case I’ve narrowed it down to these albums.
- David Bowie [aka Space Oddity] (2015 Remaster – Originally Released 1969)
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (2012 Remaster – Originally Released 1972)
- Station to Station (2016 Remaster – Originally Released 1976)
- Low (2017 Remaster – Originally Released 1977)
- “Heroes” (2017 Remaster – Originally Released 1977)
- Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (2017 Remaster – Originally Released 1980)
- 1. Outside (The Nathan Adler Diaries: A Hyper Cycle) [Expanded Collection] (1995)
Originally, I was going to listen to Heathen (2002) and Bowie’s final album Blackstar (2016), but I don’t know if I will have time. If I do I’ll try to listen to those two albums, but I might not write anything about them. I may also check a few other David Bowie songs that have been recommended to me. I know he had released music under different names, and with different groups as well. However, I think that the albums I’ve chosen above will get me a general idea of some of David Bowie’s music.
Let’s travel the musical cosmos together and discover the work of David Bowie.
What’s your favourite album or song by David Bowie? Should I listen to Blackstar even though I know it’ll make me sob uncontrollably?