In honor of the one year anniversary to Bowie's death and would-be 70th birthday, here is a list of his most memorable songs.
This Tuesday marks one year since the passing of the music icon David Bowie. As our school’s population is now overrun with millennials, the effect this star had on pop culture may seem minimal or far removed from the lives of many students in GHS. Perhaps you only know of Bowie through the songs your parents would occasionally play, or maybe you don’t know of him at all. Regardless, David Bowie deserves to be recognized by all. This was a man at the forefront of fashion and entertainment evolution for over fifty years. Bowie made a statement with everything he created, from his self-titled debut album in 1967, all the way to his final album Black Star which was released on the singer’s birthday, January 8th of last year, two days before his death.
To honor the tragic passing of the icon, and his would-be 70th birthday of this year, I’ve created a list of some of Bowie’s most memorable songs (though no one list could truly do his history or his discography justice). This is also in hopes to reconnect our generation with one of the most influential aspects of music history that is David Bowie. May his memory live on for years to come.
“Heroes” – 1977
If there is one Bowie song our generation is sure to know, it’s “Heroes.” Its appearance in the 2012 movie Perks of Being a Wallflower gives the song a renewed relevance (for fans of the movie, it’s the tunnel song). It is also the most popular song on the late singer’s Spotify page. All the more reason to give the energetic, shower-belting worthy song a listen.
“Changes” – 1971
As the introductory song off Bowie’s fourth album Hunky Dory, “Changes” is another classic and a personal favorite of the singer’s. In the months following the star’s death, my friends and I held a number of jam sessions and dance parties in his honor with this song as the main event. The upbeat nature of “Changes” is hard not to get wrapped up into. Another notable, lively song off the same album is “Life On Mars?” This tune tops out as the fourth most popular Bowie song on Spotify, so don’t miss it when you delve into Hunky Dory.
“Suffragette City” – 1972
The energy David bowie brings to his music is again evident in this hit of his. It is off of the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders. Wordy, yes, however the album marks a major project in Bowie’s career. It corresponds with a motion picture bearing the same title in which Bowie adopts the persona of Ziggy Stardust. The stage show he developed with the project was a huge success, creating the unique fandom and immense popularity now known to Bowie. If you want to get a better taste of the project and the singer’s style from this time, also check out the hit “Starman” off the same album.
“Under Pressure” – 1982
Whether you think you know this song or not, as soon as you hear the opening bassline “Under Pressure” will instantly sound familiar. It’s the same as the one that starts Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” Not a surprise, since David Bowie inspired endless artists with his music. However, the next time you listen to your throwback 90’s rap, be sure to credit the rhythm to Bowie.
“All the Young Dudes” – 1973
This song, composed by Bowie, was originally released in 1972 by the English rock band Mott the Hoople. However, in 1973, Bowie reclaimed the song by performing it on his own tours in 1973. Although the song’s intended storyline is about an apocalyptic Earth, it means many different things for many different listeners. Some view it as an anthem for the glam rock movement, while others care to view it as a song for gay pride. This proves the mark Bowie left on his fans, as he brought all different kinds of inspiration to his music, even by accident.
“Lazarus” – 2016
This is arguably the most popular song off Bowie’s final album Black Star. As it was released so closely to his death, the song adopts an almost eerie mood. The opening lyrics are Bowie singing proudly, “Look up here I’m in heaven.” This creates a cruel irony in relation to his fate those two days after the album’s release. I like to think of it as Bowie’s way of saying goodbye.
There’s a small taste of what we all have been greatly missing since January 10th, 2016. Rest in peace, David Bowie.