10 Essential David Bowie Songs

Only days after releasing his twenty-fifth studio last album, Blackstar, legendary musician David Bowie has passed away after an 18-month battle with liver cancer.  His decades long career was packed full of reinvention and innovation, and he was an inspiration to many artists from Madonna, to Lady Gaga, to Kanye West. Throughout his career, he sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

According to Bowie’s longtime friend and producer, Tony Visconti, Blackstar was meant to be “a parting gift” to the world. In addition, here are 10 more songs that guarantee David Bowie will never be forgotten.

“Space Oddity”
Released: 1969
Album: David Bowie
The song about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, became Bowie’s first UK Top 5 hit.

“Changes”
Released: 1971
Album: Hunky Dory
While “Changes” got good reviews and became a regular on Bowie’s setlist during live performances, it didn’t do very well on the charts. But it’s still one of his most well known songs, and was included on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Ziggy Stardust”
Released: 1972
Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
“Ziggy Stardust” introduced Bowie’s alter ego of the same name. It’s included on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and has been covered by many musicians, including Guns N’ Roses and AFI.

“Starman”
Released: 1972
Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
From Bowies fifth studio album, “Stardust” was his first hit single since “Space Oddity” three years earlier. In it, Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, brings a message of hope to Earth’s youth through the radio.

“Life on Mars”
Released: 1973
Album: Hunky Dory
Released as a single in 1973, “Life of Mars” was called “a cross between a Broadway musical and a Salvador Dali painting”. It peaked at Number 3 on the UK charts, where it stayed for 13 weeks.

“Rebel Rebel”
Released: 1974
Album: Diamond Dogs
Considered the most covered of all of Bowie’s songs, “Rebel Rebel” was also his farewell to the glam rock movement that he helped pioneer in the 1970’s. The song is especially notable for it’s gender-bending lyrics

“Fame”
Released: 1975
Album: Young Americans
The inspiration for “Fame” came from a jam session between Bowie and John Lennon. It ended up becoming his first hit in the U.S, reaching Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

“Heroes”
Released: 1977
Album: Heroes
Although “Heroes” wasn’t a huge hit when it was first released, it has gone on be known as one of Bowie’s signature songs and the second most-covered.

“Under Pressure”
Album: Hot Space (released by Queen)
“Under Pressure” was a collaboration between Queen and David Bowie which became Queen’s second hit single after “Bohemian Rhapsody” six years earlier. The song’s bassline has been called one of the best of all time.

“China Girl”
Released: 1983
Album: Let’s Dance
“China Girl” was co-written by Bowie and Iggy Pop and first appeared on Pop’s album, The Idiot, in 1977. Bowie’s 1983 version reached Number 2 on the UK charts, and Number 10 on the US charts.

RELATED:
David Bowie Dies Of Cancer Aged 69

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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