Listening to BBC’s Inspirational David Bowie made me think back to my own feelings regarding David Bowie’s albums and career. In all the blog posts I’ve written, I’ve mentioned my favorite Bowie songs, but never really looked at his works album by album. As a mental exercise, I considered several albums and which song I considered the “best” song of said album and which would be the runner up for the best…again, in my opinion.
Given Mr. Bowie’s long career and many albums, this is a task that will require more than one post. A couple of rules, first: I’m focusing on the actual albums released under his name and ignoring the voluminous singles (including those released before his first “official” album release), live albums, duets, movie scores, and side projects. I may get to them eventually as there is plenty of good stuff there, but for now, the albums and two best songs (IMHO!) themselves.
First up, the three albums from his early years that lead up to the glam era…
Mr. Bowie’s first album is Space Oddity. Originally released in 1969, this album, in my opinion, isn’t one of Mr. Bowie’s stronger efforts. Nonetheless, far and away the best song on this album and a terrific piece is the song the album was named after, Space Oddity.
Runner up: The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.
David Bowie’s follow up album, The Man Who Sold The World, remains one of my favorite works of his. The best song on that album, far and away, is The Man Who Sold The World.
Choosing a second great song from that album is a little harder, but I’d go with the very psychedelic/early metal Width of a Circle.
Which brings us to the last of the “early” albums, 1971’s Hunky Dory. Many consider this the first “real” David Bowie album (I tend to think The Man Who Sold The World is). There is little doubt, however, that between this album and the last David Bowie was building up his skills. While The Man Who Sold The World sounded like early metal, Hunky Dory was far lighter in tone and featured the hit single Changes. My favorite song on that album, however, has to be Life On Mars?.
The runner up is a tough one. There are several really great songs on this album. If I were pressed to note one above the others, I might just go for the Lou Reed-esq Queen Bitch.
Next: The Glam Era