(Ground Control to Major Tom) 10 Best David Bowie Songs

This week…
Some good old-fashioned mix-tape fun. No thrills (on my part, at least) – just a simple, daily celebration of especially excellent music-making.

Shits and giggles. And because “nothing better fills up the time between birth and death than listening to music” (p. 2, The Idiots Guide to Avoiding Existential Angst).

10 songs each, that’s all.

[ Honestly, I don’t really only listen to old/dead white guys… ]


If you were inventing a male pop star from scratch, you’d basically end up with Bowie, wouldn’t you? The breathless inventiveness. The virtuoso oddness. The wicked sense of fun… Boy, I wish I’d been around during his 70s heyday – every new record must have seemed like the end of a boring world before, and the start of countless exciting ones to come. Then again, thinking about it, they pretty much still sound that way, don’t they?

Here’s my Bowie 10 (and – naturally! – your substantial upgrades are extravagantly welcome).

Side A:

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) – goes about its business like a rabid dog trying to bite your leg off.

Suffragette City – starts in a wild sort of hurry then hurtles along even quicker.

Heroes – for some vintage Bowie-singing-over-synths.

Drive-In Saturday – for more of the same, plus yet another instant-classic chorus.

Life On Mars? – “It’s a god-awful small affair to the girl with the mousey hair…” and, well, you know the rest.

Side B:

Rebel Rebel – the A to Z of how to write a perfect pop song (featuring ‘K’ for ‘killer riff’).

Look Back In Anger – another song that gets where it’s going with maximum efficiency, and, in a good way, one that seems utterly terrified of itself.

Sorrow – for its sax break, and for how uncannily the bass, piano, tremulous singing, and those staccato strings all work so unselfishly together.

Ashes To Ashes – (of course!) because it’s four minutes and 24 seconds of unimprovable genius.

Sound And Vision – which somehow packs even more thrills into an even shorter space of time. (If this is what the future sounds like, what the hell are we all waiting for?!)


And finally… Here’s a precious peak at the man as he was in 1974 – very possibly not pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

(Tomorrow, a pop combo still played on the radio every now and then…)

About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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4 Responses to (Ground Control to Major Tom) 10 Best David Bowie Songs

  1. Baggypance says:

    I’d have to have…
    Young American (classic soul), Life On Mars, Rebel Rebel, Sorrow (agree with you about the sax-quality), Song For Bob Dylan, Kooks, Ziggy Stardust, Changes, Modern Love, Drive-In Saturday (oh and Under Pressure as the 11th just because it is a killer song and has Queen on it)

    • Kooks – yes! Love that song… ‘I’m no good at punching other people’s dads…’ Under Pressure, too – another great shout. (Even though you’re cheating with a cheeky 11th song.)

      Anyhow, cheers for joining in the fun, Rob! Expect you’ll disagree some more with my choices later in the week, too (some Boss time included, of course!)

  2. Baggypance says:

    I think you will be hearing from me a lot this week (in between work of course!) Very sad news about Clarence, I’m actually pretty choked up at the mo. I hope he recovers soon… Oh, and having listened to a bit of Bowie yesterday I would probably have to throw Ashes to Ashes back in there, I forgot just how good that song was!

    • Shit, didn’t know about Clarence prior to reading your comment. Very sad, indeed – hope he gets well again… Show a little faith for the big man, huh? Latest news sounds encouraging, at least…

      And yeah, Ashes to Ashes is quite something, ain’t it! Amazing.

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