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“Seven Years in Tibet” Updated

This song, from Bowie’s 1997 album, Earthling, appeared in two different forms during my 2016 song-a-day tribute. The first was a video identified as “the official video” featuring Bowie singing the song in Mandarin. I later came across a video of Bowie singing the song as it appears on the album, in English, and posted that video. Sadly, the video link is broken, however in updating this entry I came across another of him singing in English that self-identifies as an “official” video. I don’t recall ever seeing this before, and its production quality seems low for Bowie, but that’s him and his band singing this song, and someone added images and effects, so maybe this is an official video.

I very much like this song, and, as the imagery suggests, in Bowie’s mind it has something to do with Tibet. I never read the book or saw the movie of the same name, so maybe the song makes references to that story, but as far as I can tell, there’s nothing in the lyrics or musical style that have anything obviously to do with Tibet. As with much Bowie music, though, I just like how it sounds.

The video also captures the look of Bowie and his band at that moment in time. Bowie was cultivating a demonic look, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey is looking devilish while guitarist Reeves Gabrels is dressed kinda like an angel. Why did they present like this in the late 90s? No clue. After this period and for the rest of his days, however, Bowie seemed to take pains to present, more or less, as “normal” (outside of a few videos he did in later years).

What I wrote then:
Day 240 (September 8, 2016)

I came across this clip of Bowie singing this, one of my favorites from Earthling in English, as it appears on the album. The “official” video, which I posted weeks ago is in Manderin. Bowie occasionally would record versions of his songs in other languages- he did “Space Oddity” in Italian and “Heroes” in German.  To me, these other versions are different enough to make them distrinct songs, much like “Sister Midnight” is different than “Red Money” despite using the same music.  Album: Earthling

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