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Day 166 | Beat of Your Drum

Songs

This clip from a Glass Spider Tour concert includes “Sons of the Silent Age” (featuring Peter Frampton, who was also playing guitar for Bowie on the tour) and “New York’s in Love” (remember when I was trying to find a clip of Bowie singing it?), but starts with “Beat of Your Drum.” This song sounds better to me out of…

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Day 165 | God Only Knows

Songs

Tonight isn’t exactly Pinups 2, but it is mostly an album of covers. This was probably the best known in its original form and I think falls into the maligned pile from the album written off as over-produced and uncreative. I disagree. I like Bowie’s deep-voiced version, which is different enough from the original to bear the mark of his…

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Day 164 | Danny Michel Sings Lets Dance

Songs

One day I was sitting in Spot Coffee and I heard a pretty good cover of a Bowie song by an artist whose voice I did not recognize. Then I heard another by the same guy. Then another, and another after that. I was listening to an entire album of Bowie covers, done very well by the same artist. That…

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Day 163 | It’s No Game

Songs

My very favorite Bowie album, which I guess makes it my favorite album, begins and ends with variants of this song. The initial version is one of Bowie's harshest songs, setting the stage for an intense album.  The closing version is calmed down- less resolved than spent.  This video is fake in that it is stitched together from clips that…

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Day 162 | Move On

Songs

Lodger is not typically thought of as a concept album, but there is certainly a travel theme. This song encapsulates that theme and in the meantime serves as another good demonstration of Bowie's vocal range. Unfortunately I couldn't find a video of him singing it, so here's a good cover from a band I had never heard of, followed by…

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Day 161 | The Secret Life of Arabia

Songs

I always liked this song because it demonstrates the widest range of Bowie's vocal abilities. It serves as a piece of cheese at the end of the maze of "Heroes," coming after moody, slow-paced instrumentals. I have read criticism of that sequencing, the idea being that this song kills the mood and would be better placed on Lodger (also in…

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Day 160 | Funtime

Songs

Bowie had a long history of collaborating with Iggy Pop dating back to his producing the Stooges' Raw Power. The Bowie influence is especially noticeable on Iggy's The Idiot and Lust for Life. Bowie not only produced, co-wrote and sang backup on those albums but he actually toured as Iggy's keyboard player. The exercise was linked to their mutual support…

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Day 159 | Speed of Life

Songs

I don't remember the first time I listened to Low or what I was expecting, but I'm guessing I realized I would be in for something different when it kicked off with this instrumental song. Unlike "Warsawa" and others, "Speed of Life" does not even employ Bowie's voice to make wordless sounds. Although I certainly was not aware of it…

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Day 158 | Stay

Songs

Day 158 Song: Stay I sometimes think of the albums, Low, and "Heroes" as two halves of a single great work.  Both feature several instrumentals that are innovative and interesting, but I much prefer the songs featuring Bowie singing.  But "Heroes" really isn't the right album to combine with Low--  parts of Station to Station work better.  "Stay," and to…

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Day 157 | Young Americans Medley

Songs

What can I say about this oddity? Bowie and Cher begin singing “Young Americans” before breaking into a seemingly random medley of songs that have little or nothing to do with one another, or for that matter Bowie or Cher, before wrapping up by returning to Young Americans. This may have been part of an effort to mainstream Bowie, but…

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Day 156 | 1984

Songs

This is obviously the most overt surviving remnant of Bowie’s intended rock-opera based on the George Orwell novel, 1984. Musically, it marks the transition from glam to disco, a transition Bowie pretty much completed by the time of his appearance on the Dick Cavett show in 1974. Keep in mind that disco was subversive in 1974—three years before it became…

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Day 155 | Everything’s Alright

Songs

The funny thing about this song is that it is a cover and the original band that performed it was called The Mojos. That and the funky attire of not just Bowie, but his band, all combines to create a distinct Austin Powers feel. Album: Pinups

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Day 154 | The Prettiest Star

Songs

Bowie wrote this song for his first wife, Angela, before they got married (she has also claimed that the Rolling Stones song, “Angie,” is about here, but the Stones dispute that). The original version of this was released as a follow-up to “Space Oddity.” While that version made no impact, it was significant in part because Marc Bolan of T-Rex…

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Day 153 | Hang on to Yourself

Songs

This song, which is hard to imagine divorced from Ziggy Stardust (“we’re the Spiders from Mars”) was originally performed by Bowie under the name “Arnold Corns.” I’m a little unclear on the whole Arnold Corns concept but my understanding is that the name comes from the Pink Floyd song, “Arnold Layne,” which coincidently was one of the last songs he…

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Day 152 | Madonna’s Bowie Tribute

Songs

Madonna sings a faithful rendition of Rebel Rebel. This is, in a sense, what I would have liked to have seen from Lady Gaga when she did the tribute at the Grammys (perhaps minus the excessive swearing...not sure that that's about). Over the past few months I have seen several such tributes and am struck in part that many artists…

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Day 151 | Changes

Songs

Can it be it took 151 days for me to get to "Changes?" Along with "Heroes," "Space Oddity," and "Life on Mars" this has a legitimate claim as Bowie's signature song. There's really not that much more to say about it that isn't obvious...except interestingly there is no "official" video. This clip is from Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture, and…

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Day 150 | All The Madmen

Songs

I've read that this song was inspired by Bowie's brother's experience struggling with mental illnesses. The song itself clearly influenced one of the album covers (three of Bowie's most iconic album covers are for the same album). Bowie employs the technique of speeding up his voice to sound cartoonish, or surreal, a technique he used for comical effect in his…

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Day 149 | Janine

Songs

This is an early, transitional song for Bowie. It is much prettier and more mellifluous than some of his very earliest songs. It also has weird lyrics that are somewhat characteristic of later songs. The full weirdness of the lyrics are hidden by the melody-not unlike "Let's Dance." But it still doesn't really sound like a David Bowie song. Perhaps…

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Day 148 | Can’t Help Thinking About Me

Songs

This is Bowie's first song. It is 50 years old. Especially compared to some of the hippie-dippi stuff he experimented with shortly thereafter, I actually think this sounds pretty good. The performance in the video comes many years later. Bowie did not make this song a regular part of his concert playlist, but I think he performed this around the…

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Day 147 | Girl Loves Me

Songs

Six months after the release of Black Star, I am comfortable in thinking this is one of the great songs on the album. Strangely much of it is in the language of the young hooligans from A Clockwork Orange, though I don't know why. I am pretty sure there isn't an official video for this song sitting around somewhere, or…

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Day 146 | Love is Lost.

Songs

This video, which is one of Bowie's last, is more interesting than the song itself. It features several devices Bowie employed in the past including projecting his moving face on a doll (he did something similar in the videos for "Little Wonder" and "Where Are We Now"), and the two Bowie puppets (is that the best word?) that resemble his…

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Day 144 | Slow Burn

Songs

This is another evocative, impressionistic song off of Heathen that seems vaguely ominous but for reasons that aren't exactly clear upon close inspection. Album: Heathen.

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Day 143 | What’s Really Happening

Songs

The unique thing about this song is that a few lines came about through a fan contest.  The winner contributed some of the lyrics for what Bowie would call "the first cyber song." The idea was that the Internet (in 1999) could make the process of creating music interactive.  I get the impression that Bowie wasn't especially happy with the…

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Day 142 | Arnold Layne

Songs

Bowie performed live for the last time (at least the last time in Britain, but I'm pretty sure the last time anywhere) ten years ago at a David Gilmore concert (actually ten years and two days ago). I posted one of the songs they performed together earlier-Comfortably Numb- here's the other.

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Day 141 | Battle for Britain (The Letter)

Songs

This is one of several songs from Earthling that ages very well. It didn’t make much of an impression the first several times I heard it, but for whatever reason I gained a greater appreciation from the live version on the A Reality Tour live album (on which Bowie introduces it as “the Letter” rather than “Battle for Britain”). Album:…

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Day 140 | I Have Not Been To Oxford Town

Songs

One day in the mid-1990s I was in a movie theater watching a mediocre science fiction movie called Starship Troopers. There, in the middle of the movie was a dance scene where the background music was this song, with different lyrics, sung by someone other than Bowie. No explanation or obvious connection to the plot. This video is of Bowie…

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Day 139 | Pretty Pink Rose

Songs

While maybe not one of his better known songs, I think of this as one of Bowie’s catchiest. It is instantly likable. It might not be as prominent as a Bowie song because it is also an Adrian Belew song. After hearing this for the first time I bought the album on which it appeared…and it’s pretty good! The song…

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Day 138 | Fame 1990

Songs

Bowie released this version of his mid-70’s hit as a promotion for his Sound and Vision greatest hits tour. The tour was his mainstream re-introduction after a few years in Tin Machine. I saw Bowie on this tour in Hartford during the summer I was working on my first gubernatorial campaign—Bill Cibes for Connecticut Governor (thus Hartford). Fame was not…

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137 | The Wedding

Songs

Today is Michelle’s and my 14thg anniversary. You probably thought I’d post “Be My Wife” on this day, but I’ll save that for the anniversary of my proposal to Michelle. This instrumental piece was Bowie’s wedding present to Iman. Album: Black Tie/White Noise Note from 2018: Somewhere along the way the dates got jumbled as I’ve been posting these- May…

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Day 136 | “My Way”

Songs

Below is what I originally wrote for Day 136, what I believed to be Bowie’s cover of “My Way.” I now think that the attached audio file is counterfeit. This song is not part of my regular listening; I included it because I thought it was funny that Bowie recorded this song, more usually associated with Frank Sinatra. Bowie did…

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Day 135 | A Certain Girl

Songs

You Tube has provided many pleasant surprises as I have been compiling this tribute, such as this song clip, where Bowie breaks into a couple of blues songs apparently in the middle of singing Heaven’s in Here. When I watched this for the first time, a couple of days ago I was struck that stripped down of the showmanship and…

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Day 134 | Stateside

Songs

How much does Bowie need to be part of a song for it to be a Bowie song? He produced and sang backup on Lou Reed and Iggy Pop songs. He provided the source material for Phillip Glass. This is one of two Tin Machine songs where Bowie is in the background. I still consider this a Bowie song. Album:…

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Day 132 | Glass Spider

Songs

29 years ago I traveled to Toronto to see my first Bowie concert. The show was opened by Duran Duran, who performed a full-concert length set of their own, and followed by what seemed to be an interminable intermission. Finally, when it was time for Bowie to enter, he didn’t just walk on stage—he descended from above, singing into a…

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