November 13, 2014

What are David Bowie's finest moments?
by James
James

by James Forryan

hmv London; 13/11/2014

Bio

"Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

It's typical, isn't it? You wait ten years for a new David Bowie album and then two come along on the space of twelve months.

Ok, next week's release isn't a new album proper, but when Nothing Has Changed hits the shelves in hmv stores next week (Monday November 17th), it will include a new track in the from of 'Sue (or A Season in Crime)'. The new 'Best Of' collection arrives next week and also features a choice of three different sleeves, one for each format.

The 2CD set features a photograph by Steve Schapiro, taken in 1975, while the 3CD deluxe version will feature a more recent shot by Jimmy King, taken in 2013. Those opting for the double-gatefold vinyl will instead be treated to a photo by Mick Rock, captured at Bowie's home in 1972.

As you'd expect, the new collection features all of Bowie's biggest hits, so to celebrate we've picked through his vast back catalogue and selected ten of our favourite tunes from this unique artist.

Space Oddity [Space Oddity 40th Anniversary Edition]

Space Oddity

(taken from Space Oddity)

The track that launched Bowie's career into the stratosphere and brought him his first UK No. 1 single, 'Space Oddity', taken from the album of the same name, still stands up as one of his finest moments. Bowie was beginning to show signs of the singular artist he would become, and this spooky ballad was one of the most unique things to hit the top of the charts in the late 1960s. Even if you're not a Bowie fan, you probably know half of its lyrics. If that's not an indicator of a hit record, we don't know what is.

The Man Who Sold the World

The Man Who Sold the World

(taken from The Man Who Sold the World)

Famously covered by Nirvana for their 1994 Nirvana: Unplugged album, recorded as part of MTV's acoustic live series, the title track from Bowie's 1970 album came during a relatively barren spell in terms of hits, but this track is the album's highlight and includes some of Bowie's best and most beguiling lyrics. Featuring a minimal but very cool guitar riff along with some excellent bass guitar work, it's the best thing on the album by some distance.

Hunky Dory

Changes

(taken from Hunky Dory)

Taken from Hunky Dory and featuring the dual talents of Mick Ronson on guitar and Rick Wakeman on keyboards, 'Changes' didn't even make the Top 40 when it was initially released, but it soon became a live favourite during the Ziggy Stardust era and has become one of Bowie's best-known songs. Complete with its iconic stuttering hook line, it's still one of our favourites too.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Suffragette City

(taken from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)

Taken from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 'Suffragette City' is a slice of pure, sleazy rock & roll. Sandwiched in between 'Ziggy Stardust' and 'Rock & Roll Suicide' as part of the album's closing three tracks, it's a grinding, pulsating track with a great hook line and even though it wasn't among the singles from the album at the time, it was eventually release as a 7” four years later in 1976. It was originally offered to Mott The Hoople, but the band opted to record 'All The Young Dudes' instead. Their loss...

Diamond Dogs

Rebel Rebel

(taken from Diamond Dogs)

Bowie has worked with some incredible guitarists over the course of his career, but one of the best guitar riffs he ever produced was all his own work. Originally intended to be included in a planned Ziggy Stardust musical that was later canned, 'Rebel Rebel' was eventually included on his 1974 album Diamond Dogs. One of the last things he did that you could describe as “glam rock”, it features the killer opening line: “You got your mother in a whirl / She's not sure of you're a boy or a girl”, and it soon became a glam rock anthem.

Young Americans

Fame

(taken from Young Americans)

Representing one of the early fruits of his partnership with King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, 'Fame' was Bowie's first single to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. Taken from Young Americans, 'Fame ' is slice of sleazy, Americana-inspired funk that signalled another milestone in the growth of David Bowie's chameleon-like career path and features some brilliant guitar work from Fripp.

Heroes

"Heroes"

(taken from Heroes)

Bowie's 1977 album Heroes was the final instalment in what is now commonly referred to as the 'Berlin Trilogy', three albums recorded while Bowie was living in the West German capital and hanging out with the likes of Kraftwerk. Whereas the other Berlin albums - Station to Station and Low - both have a distinctly austere, krautrock feel to them, by 1977 Bowie's musical identity was once again beginning to shift and mutate into something new. The album's title track is a case in point, underpinned by Robert Fripp's soaring guitar riff. The fact that the guitar part was improvised on the spot has become the stuff of rock folklore, but it shouldn't come as as a surprise; by this point, Fripp and Bowie has developed an almost telepathic understanding and this track showcases their partnership at it's absolute pinnacle.

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Ashes to Ashes

(taken from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps))

Slipknot's Corey Taylor once described 'Ashes to Ashes' as “the heaviest song ever recorded.” While there are probably more than a few bands who might have something to say about that, there's no getting away from the fact that this cut from Scary Monsters and Super Creeps was one of Bowie's biggest hits of the early 80s. It's been sampled and covered too many times to mention, but the original is pretty hard to beat.

Let's Dance

Let's Dance

(taken from Let's Dance)

It seems odd now, but back in the early 1980s when Bowie signed one of the biggest record deals in history at that time, some in the music industry thought it may prove to be an expensive mistake. However, they needn't have worried because thanks to another successful partnership with a different and equally legendary guitarist, Bowie was about to unleash one of his biggest records yet. The title track from Let's Dance features some trademark, shimmering guitar work from the album's producer, Nile Rodgers, and even though it was a pretty radical departure from any of his previous work, history has shown that nobody has the ability to pull off a change of musical direction quite like David Bowie.

The Next Day

Valentine's Day

(taken from The Next Day)

Bowie surprised everyone last year when, after a long absence and amid rumours of ill-health, he suddenly released his first album in a decade, The Next Day. After his experimentation in the 1990s – not all of which was well-received by fans – this was a barnstorming return to form and although there are several great tracks on the album, 'Valentine's Day' has to rank as one of our favourites. Complete with a video from Indrani and Markus Klinko, it proved one of the most popular cuts from the new album in terms of radio airplay along with the album's lead single 'Where Are We Now?'.