What are David Bowie's 3 signature songs?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MadamAdam, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    The 3 Bowie songs played most frequently on radio over the years in the USA are "Space Oddity," "Suffragette City," and "Modern Love." At least in my experience.
     
  2. razerx

    razerx Who me?

    Location:
    The East
    This poll makes no sense in omitting the most obvious choice. I hope it was an oversight.
     
  3. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone away.
    I agree - Life On Mars is miles better than Changes, but people associate Bowie with "changes" (image/sound) so it always gets played over film of him in TV features - it's a lazy way to encapsulate Bowie in one song. Life On Mars gets associated with him for the 'alien' spacey image.
    In my opinion, Life On Mars was The Big Bowie Song of the 70s as I remember them, much more so than Changes. Was Changes even a hit?
     
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  4. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

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    Gone away.
    This sounds great. Can't wait.
     
  5. tagomago

    tagomago Original Wrapper

    Let's Dance, Modern Love and China Girl
     
  6. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone away.
    May I say you've got very good taste.
    (However I don't think the last two are signature songs).
     
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  7. BurtThomasWard

    BurtThomasWard Guided by Loke In Memoriam

    Location:
    Norge
    Well, thank you, Sir.

    (If you're refering to "DIS" and "TW" I do not consider them signature songs either, just personal faves. Bad phrasing before my morning tea, I'm afraid)
     
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  8. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Now Jelly Rolls in the Street

    Location:
    London
    I got into Bowie through Starman and Ziggles. Once I heard Hunky I knew that i already was familiar with Changes so it must have been played on the radio before I knew who Bowie was.

    I think the subject of Mars is wider than any alien-spacey image. It was about modern life - American modern life and how it gripped us. The question asked - 'Is there life on Mars?' is just a reflection of the kind of spectacle that concerned us (the West) at that time not a scifi theme. And I think that broadens its appeal over the later Ziggy scifi teen stuff.
     
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  9. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    Changes
    Heroes
    Ashes to Ashes
     
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  10. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone away.
    You're totally right, but aren't we talking here about how the general public identifies Bowie? I don't think the public listens to impressionist lyrics, just hears "Mars" and thinks "Space Oddity". Bowie = Space "I'm the Space Cadet - he's the Commander"
     
  11. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Now Jelly Rolls in the Street

    Location:
    London
    You might be right, but how anyone ignore those lyrics? They are amongst the clearest Bowie has ever delivered

    It's a godawful affair to the girl with the mousey hair
    But her mummy is yelling no and her daddy has told her to go...
    etc.
    Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow

    etc.

    Can that be understood to be about aliens?

    I do hope you are underestimating the listener :)

    Plus does the general listener, the mum, the daughter, the office worker, the gran, the whoever really care about the alien image? It actually only lasted for a few seconds.
     
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  12. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone away.
    Don't get me wrong - they are fantastic lyrics, and as you say they are perhaps a commentary on American society in the 20th century. Perhaps I'm underestimating the listener, but this thread I understood to be about the three songs that represent Bowie in the minds of people in general, which I would say were Space Oddity, Heroes and Let's Dance. I don't like either Space Oddity or Let's Dance and never play them (except the Scary Monsters version of S.O. which I really like), but if you say to the man in the street "Name a David Bowie song" I would guess that it would be one of those three.

    Space Oddity in particular is his signature song IMO, and I think people thought of him as a futuristic guy who sang about Space and Mars. Maybe I'm talking a crock of utter BS, but that has been my impression over the years. I don't associate him with space myself (although he did do Hello Spaceboy and Loving the Alien) but maybe the people who sent Agadoo and Kylie Minogue to the top of the charts do.

    Don't forget, most people think that Born In the USA is a pro-American patriotic anthem.

    What is the Mars reference about anyway? Does it mean the girl in the song is so bored with life that she wonders to herself "Is there life on Mars"?
     
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  13. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    In the USA at least, "Life On Mars" was unknown really until recently, while "Changes" has always been omni-present.
     
  14. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gone away.
    Oh - I didn't know that. That explains it.
     
  15. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    In the U.S., "Changes" was a #41 single while "Life on Mars?" didn't chart.
     
  16. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    The Nassau '76 audience did recognise it...

     
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  17. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    changes was bigger but life on mars was known by some....people played albums back then so even the deepest cuts were known
    and besides, Barbra Streisand had covered it! (ok that was a bad example)
     
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  18. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    And just spotted Nacho's brand new 78 version of Hang On To Yourself, my favourite energetic Stage track. Complete with the 'absolute Ruhe bitte' bit, over to Dennis @ Planet of the Apes, kick it !

     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
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  19. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Florida
    I'm sure yesstiles meant "Life on Mars?" was unknown to the general U.S. public, not to Bowie fans. I certainly didn't know it until I picked up Hunky Dory circa 1990, while I already was quite familiar with "Changes." (And I have to say I was totally blown away by "Mars?" the first time I heard it.)
     
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  20. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

    Same here!

    :wave:
     
  21. lobo

    lobo Music has always been a matter of Energy to me...

    Location:
    Germany
    Heroes, Space Oddity and Changes - I agree with the majority (for once). :)
     
  22. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Now Jelly Rolls in the Street

    Location:
    London
    A lot of what has just been said explains why Changes is leading Life On Mars? I had no idea Changes had made any impression in the USA. Thanks to all those who pointed it out.

    I think in the UK Life On Mars was a hit because it came at the right time - as Bowie was already breaking big here before he went on to wow the States.
     
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  23. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Now Jelly Rolls in the Street

    Location:
    London

    The space race - I remember being gripped by it. everything about it. It was the dream of young boys. Hence Space Oddity really had resonance but for everyone. And then why Life on Mars? It was just one of those BIG questions. Was there life on other planets? The search was on and the song lyric reflected that.
     
  24. MadamAdam

    MadamAdam Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    He is. And Tony Hadley is making a documentary about Hilda Ogden, Steve Norman's making one on Bet Lynch, and the drummer is making one on Ena Sharples' cat.
     
  25. Jimmy B.

    Jimmy B. Forum Resident

    Space Oddity, Rebel Rebel and Suffragette City.
     

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