The world was shocked and saddened by the news that David Bowie passed away on January 10th, 2016. Bowie leaves behind a legacy of rock and roll with a career that spanned 5 decades. Throughout his life, he not only influenced musicians of varied genres, but fashion and pop culture as a whole. Beyond that, he was also a devoted husband and father. If you’re not familiar with the man and his music, what are you waiting for? Check out the 10 definitive Bowie tracks you should have on your playlist.
1) Let’s Dance
David Bowie used his music to present his thoughts in a creative way and this song, while shrouded in a catchy beat – was really a protest against racism and oppression, specifically concerning the indigenous people of Australia, which is fairly obvious when one watches the accompanying music video.
Following the news of his passing, it was this song that topped the charts on streamed music lists. While it ironically was not an immediate hit at the time of its release in 1977, it has come to be appreciated as one of many definitive tracks by this trailblazing artist.
3) Space Oddity
Perhaps one of the most referenced songs, appearing in films and TV shows, this song tells the tale of an astronaut named Major Tom, who is venturing into space while trying to maintain contact with Earth. This was one of Bowie’s first songs to reach a wide audience, and remains iconic today.
4) The Man Who Sold The World
Some may be more familiar with Nirvana’s version, which was in fact a cover of Bowie’s original song. Both versions are haunting and distinctive in their own right, but Bowie’s poetic lyrics solidify this track as a memorable anthem.
This one is an instant ear-worm, and you’ll probably be humming it to yourself for a while (forget Hotline Bling!). Changes is not only catchy but is often touted as a lyrical tribute to Bowie’s changing image and persona throughout his journey as a rockstar – even though it was written fairly early on in his career.
6) Life On Mars
Though he was known for his varied personas, there seemed to be an overarching theme of space travel/aliens in his music, and Life On Mars certainly sounds like that if you look at the title, but Bowie himself said time and again that it’s actually a love song.
7) Ziggy Stardust
Part of Bowie’s mystique was related to the personas he developed for his performances, and Ziggy Stardust was just one of many, although arguably one of the most well-known. The song is a riveting one, which details the fictional story of a flamboyant alien rockstar.
8) Moonage Daydream
Most recently featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, this song proves that Bowie’s sound is timeless, and seamlessly fits into current pop culture, even though it was first recorded in 1971.
Bowie was lucky enough to meet John Lennon and subsequently write this song with him, which details the dark side of fame – something both were well-versed about.
10) Under Pressure
Bowie features on this song with another powerhouse band, Queen, fronted by Freddie Mercury, and this song is iconic in every sense. You’ve probably heard it, that opening riff is instantly recognizable, and often sampled by other artists. Yet there’s nothing quite like the original that brought two legendary artists together for an epic number.
Thank you David Bowie, for sharing your gifts with us. Rest in peace.