Thursday, May 20, 2010

David Bowie - The Best Of David Bowie 1969 - 1974


Mr Bowie.  The Thin White Duke.  All hail... to the man who's been a part of my musical life for almost as long as I've been buying music.  So what's this blog entry going to be about?  The first song of his I ever heard?  Hang your head in shame, Mr Jones, because I clearly remember hearing The Laughing Gnome on the BBC World Service as a child.

How about my favourite album?  Although I spent a large part of my teenage years with Ziggy on the turntable, it's gotta be Diamond Dogs.  Love the cover, love Rebel Rebel and 1984, love the whole concept/not a concept album mystique.

My favourite Bowie song?  Oh, that's too hard.   I love Heroes and China Girl and Fame and Blue Jean and Young Americans and.... gotta stop now.  Oh no, wait!  My all-time favourite Bowie song is... a cover.  I love his version of Sorrow.

How about, have I seen him perform?  Yes I have.  Only on one tour, Serious Moonlight, but I did go on two consecutive nights.  When he came here on the Glass Spider tour I was oh-so-broke and couldn't afford a ticket.  Should have tried harder.

This CD is one of two best of Bowie collections we own.  But our albums are only on vinyl and I'm voting we look at this for a box-set purchase, pretty please?  (YourZ sez: I'll go one futher - my vote is we get Bowie's box-set before we get any other).

VERDICT: TURN IT UP and hear the savage roar...


I've made a number of false starts trying to write this blog and have found it increasingly difficult.  Bowie should need no introduction to any of you reading this.  He is, without a doubt, one of the greats.  Personally, I would put him in the number one spot on my list.  His influence on music, fashion, art and culture is indelible and undeniable.  Bowie didn't follow trends, he invented and set them.  He might just be the most relevant solo artist to have ever come out of the UK (big call, I know) but given his career spans over 40 years, I don't think it is unreasonable to say this.

When I was 17, I left home to travel Australia.  One of the few things I bought along the way was a cassette copy of an Australia/New Zealand only release of Bowie's greatest hits to date called Chameleon.  It was the only cassette I had (apart from Adam & The Ants that I'd bought it as a gift for someone).  This cassette was played many times.  Consequently, whenever I hear a lot of the tracks from this album, I'm reminded of the wonderful sense of freedom but also the slight sense of fear I felt having finally completed school and taking on the mantle of 'adult' responsibility.  Changes was the key song but was also supplemented by Golden Years, Aladdin Sane and a few other tracks. 

Fast forward a few years to when I saw Bowie live during his Serious Moonlight tour.  Unlike Mine, I only saw him the once but what a show!  I've never seen anything like it since.  It was a greatest hits set list and covered just about every album he'd released up until then.  Hearing him sing Heroes, Ashes To Ashes, Soul Love and, particularly, Golden Years, blew me away.  I'm not ashamed to say I teared up a number of times throughout the long performance (according to sources, he played 32 songs - a huge set by any standards).

I've not been as profoundly affected by his later work but this is more due to my being distracted by so much other music.  But the 70s and early 80s Bowie has always remained a defining influence and consistent favourite.  As Mine proved, to choose a single favourite track is just too hard so I'm not even going to try.  I'm just gonna quote the following:

Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie


For more information:

In our collection we also have David Bowie: The Singles Collection and Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars Live


  1. I saw Bowie around five years ago. He may have had one of the longest sets I've ever seen. He played around 35 songs. Only if everyone could be like Bowie...

  2. Jeff, I'd love to see him again (I missed his Reality tour, unfortunately). 35 songs is a massive set - hope he does something similar if he tours here again.


  3. Yeah, 1969-1974 is just about right for me. My brother owned 'Hunky Dory' and I played it to death back in the day. But curiously, I fell out of love after that and never bought another thing despite all my friends going on about 'Ziggy' and 'Diamond Dogs'. Strange how these things happen, but for a short time at the beginning of the seventies I could see what all the fuss was about.

  4. Hunky Dory is the Bowie favourite of a friend (and Mine's too, I think) but I don't really have a favourite - I love everything he did up to the early 90s. And the only reason I don't love anything newer is I haven't really listened to any of his recent material. But this is something I'm willing to remedy as I'm sure there are gems to be had there as well.

    Having said all this, I am very partial to Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps) - I had it on cassette when it first came out and played it until the tape broke.