The David Bowie Top 5

I have a few David Bowie pages I follow on Facebook and one linked to an article in which Noel Gallagher had chosen his Top 5 David Bowie songs (link below). I was rather surprised to see In The Heat Of The Morning as the first track on the list. I was thinking, “really, Noel? Above a LOOOAD of other tracks that I would have expected to see in its place, you chose THAT?”

In my head, as much as I could think of early Bowie tracks I really enjoyed, none before 1969 would EVER make the Top 5 for me.

So then I pondered. What WOULD make my Top 5? There were two certainties for a start! But I had to think about the rest. And I needed my memory jogged a bit. I had made a list of my Top 50 a few years back and turned it into a similar piece of typography than I had done for my SM Top 50.

With memory jogged, this was my list. The first two were there before needing the memory jog.

Teenage Wildlife:

It has been an absolute favourite and my “go to” track when I really want something very all-encompassing emotive and passionate to sing along to. I have all these little hand movements and gestures I do with it. I sing along FULL karaoke style “blue skies above, sun on your arms, strength in your stride and hope in those squeaky clean eyes”, “so you train by shadow boxing”, “same old thing in brand new drag comes sweeping into view”, “‘David! What shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway!’ I say, ‘Don’t ask me! I don’t know any hallways’. ‘But they move in numbers and they’ve got me in a corner. I feel like a group of one. No, no, they can’t do this to me! I’m not some piece of teenage wildlife!”
And then there is one of the best lines he’s ever written “those midwives to history put on their bloody robes”. It’s just…impassioned. I just love it. And Fripp’s guitar wailing all over it just sounding like its screaming in pain. It’s just epic. And as I say, it really is the most recent love I have gained for it. Obviously always really liked it as a track on Scary Monsters but it has gained a real depth of meaning and appreciation for me in recent years.

A New Career In A New Town:

The very first instrumental piece of music I felt truly affected by. Like…just crying tears and having goosebumps…the whole shebang. It was just like nothing I had heard before and affected me in a way that I wasn’t quite prepared for.

Sons Of The Silent Age:

I just love the way he uses words and rhyming couplets in this. It’s just so clever. And I get really stark imagery from it. It feels very…dystopian…but in a kind of Russian author dystopia. Its rather Chekov or Dostoyevsky in its visualisation for me. “Sons of the silent age stand on platforms, blank looks and notebooks”….”pace their rooms like a cell’s dimension, rise for a year or two then make war, search through their one inch thoughts then decide it couldn’t be done”….”make love only once but dream and dream / don’t walk, they just glide in and out of life / they never die they just go to sleep one day”. The chorus. THE CHORUS! And the way he sings it and delivers it. Just…awesome.

I Would Be Your Slave:

The most amazing song about obsession and obsession for one person and how they take over every thought you have and just…that endless pondering you have about someone when they are the absolute object of your desire. When they are your everything, and you want more than anything to be theirs. “I bet you laugh out loud at me, a chance to strike me down / give me peace of mind at last, show me all you are / open up your heart to me and I would be your slave” – the thing is…the heart remains closed, and yet you still find yourself a slave. You were a slave from the get go. From that first stumble and fall.

The Bewlay Brothers:

The most wondrous example of David Bowie at his mind-bending, Burroughs-borrowing, Crowley-plundering, warped majesty. “Oh I was stone and he was wax so he could scream and still relax, unbelievable / and we frightened the small children away”….”and now the dress is hung, the ticket pawned, the factor Max that proved the fact is melted down, woven on the edging of my pillow / and my brother lays upon the rocks, he could be dead, he could be not, he could be you / he’s chameleon, comedian, corinthian and caricature” – WHO WRITES LIKE THIS?! It’s just fucking mental! And it’s…mastery. And masterful. And…awesome – in the true sense of the word.

So…that’s it. That’s my David Bowie Top 5 – for today anyway…and maybe the rest of this week, or winter…or until the until the end of 2021. The songs I love the most can sometimes be in flux, but my love for David Bowie as the most awe-inspiring of songwriters remains constant and undying.

Noel Gallagher’s Top 5 Bowie article HERE

The Case Was Made – And A Gracious Reply Was Given

Oh, I could reach into the Internet and kiss him! (Yuck! Says Sir! Lol.)
It really is just…amazing when he responds. He doesn’t have to. He could tell me to bugger off. He could ignore me outright…but he rarely does.

And of course he replies with aspects I did not consider (the timing of the release, and where one is in one’s life at the time to appreciate it or it to have an impact upon you).

The year of Heathen’s release was 2002. I’m not sure what was happening for Jim then…Cry was released, the Minds were touring, perhaps aside from that, there were personal issues he was going through? 

I can’t say that 2002 was a great year for me. We had it tough that year (no real change from any other year in retrospect…but 2002 was, perhaps…the catalyst)…so maybe Heathen was a solace for me? It certainly did have aspects of that. The album just…takes me on a journey. There are all the emotive and visceral elements I enjoy from an album. Joyous songs, sexy songs!, tender songs, yearning songs, melancholic songs.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll have him take another listen…and he’ll hear something else? But perhaps not. What he likes is his prerogative after all…

(As you can see from the bit I left in from screengrabbing his reply, my post to him was rather more “long-winded” than it was here on the blog! Patience of a saint, this man, I tell you!)

Noel on David

Just touching upon January and sharing Jim’s review of Blackstar reminded me to share this. I was listening to BBC Radio 6 Music most of the day yesterday and caught Noel Gallagher in conversation with Steve Lamacq. Noel had chosen a Bowie track to play (well, not actually a Bowie track, per se, but a cover of a Pixies song that Bowie did called Cactus). They spoke about David’s death, and how Noel first got into him.

Towards the end of the excerpt I recorded, Noel spoke about Heathen, giving it due praise, and going on to heap even more praise upon The Next Day.

The impression I got from Jim’s review of Blackstar all those months ago was…he didn’t really much like Bowie’s newer stuff. One of them “it’s all crap after Scary Monsters” types. So to hear Noel discuss Heathen and have a track played from it (albeit a cover) was great…and just the impetus I needed to get the conversation going with Sir about this. I have wanted to for MONTHS!

Thank you Noel!