David Bowie is one of the most important names in musical history, and on January 8 he would be 75 years old.
With a career marked by reinvention and prodigious visual performances – the aesthetics of which would influence names like Lady Gaga and Lorde – Bowie remains one of the most critically and commercially successful musicians of all time and wears a endless legacy, even being credited as the best rock star of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in the year he died.
More than that, Bowie has never hidden his sexuality and has become a symbol of LGBTQ + representation from the moment he embraced glam rock and abandoned phonographic traditionalism, giving way to an avant-garde that continues to reflect. more than ever on the contemporary scene (even more given the need to reinvent traditional artists).
To celebrate his legacy, we’ve put together a short (and difficult) list with ten of his best solo songs. This means that songs like “Under Pressure”, which he performed alongside the band Queen, will not appear in our picks.
Keep in mind that we don’t rank any of the iterations, but organize them chronologically.
Check it out below and tell us which one is your favorite:
“SPACE ODDITY”, 1969
The title of “Space Oddity” was not chosen for any reason, but to pay homage to the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, by Stanley Kubrick. Psychedelic folk begins with one of the music industry’s most iconic lines, “Ground Control to Major Tom,” and was released during an era marked by the space race and interest in the universe. In 2004, the track was included in the Hall of Fame as one of the songs that shaped rock and roll.
“LIFE ON MARS?” », 1971
“Life on Mars?” is a song everyone has probably heard at least once in their life, whether it’s in Bowie’s voice or in various covers and celebrations over time. The mix of glam rock and art rock, produced by the capable hands of Ken Scott, is the backdrop for a sensory and bizarre interpretation that criticizes not only the media, but the human being as well.
“Ziggy Stardust” is one of the main tracks on the concept album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and brings out Bowie’s eponymous alter ego. Here, the character serves as a messenger to beings from other planets and, like other songs by the artist, is part of the select group that has shaped the music industry.
“Changes” is another David Bowie iteration that everyone has heard at least once. Also featured on Rolling Stone’s best songs of all time list, the track is the epitome of pop art and serves as a chameleon manifesto to the one constant in his life: his personality is changing. More than that, the roster also proves that the charts mean nothing in terms of quality and importance, as they were below the Top 50 of the Hot 100.
“THE JEAN GENIE”, 1972
Produced by Bowie and his longtime collaborator Ken Scott, “The Jean Genie” was the first single from the beloved album “Aladdin Sane”. The song was released in November 1972 and became one of the artist’s biggest commercial hits, in addition to bringing elements of blues rock and hard rock to a narrative hinting at icons such as Iggy Pop and Jean Genet.
“REBELLE REBELLE”, 1974
“Rebel Rebel” is cited by music experts as one of the most re-recorded songs of all time and serves as Bowie’s farewell to the glam rock movement he helped start in the early 1970s. Upbeat Anthem was critically acclaimed and, in fact, it couldn’t be left off our list – not with those amazing guitar solos.
“YOUNG AMERICANS”, 1975
After “Rebel Rebel”, David Bowie would say goodbye to the genre that had put him in the spotlight and would cultivate a phase fueled by soul and R&B. One of the big tracks representing this extremely successful era was “Young Americans”, co-produced by Tony Visconti and Harry Maslin. Releasing an optimistic and sometimes irresponsible energy, the track is also among the top of the best songs in history.
Inspired by the romantic scene between producer Visconti and his girlfriend in front of the Berlin Wall, “Heroes” may not have been very successful when it was released, but it has grown in importance as we let’s get to know Bowie’s career. Telling the story of two lovers separated by war, the iteration has received numerous awards and is still considered one of the best of all time today.
“ASHES TO ASHES”, 1980
The lead single from “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” was released in August 1980 and revisited Major Tom, one of the great characters created by the psychedelic, living mind of David Bowie. Reaching the top of the UK charts, the lyrics save late 19th century children’s songs fueled by the involvement of art rock and new wave.
“Let’s Dance” marked a strong break with glam rock in David Bowie’s career, primarily incorporating elements of nu-disco, funk, and new wave – something to be expected given that band founder Nile Rodgers CHIC, will be responsible for production. Its upbeat atmosphere has turned the iteration into a club anthem and the flagship of several soundtracks.
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