Access To Rock

Access To Rock

David Bowie made a lasting impact on the world of music as one of the best Rock & Roll artists in history. He also revolutionized the importance of stage presence with his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. He had a less-celebrated skill as well, however. David Bowie created some of the best song lyrics of his era.

Throughout his career, Bowie became a worldwide icon. While it isn’t always necessarily the focus of his achievements, his talent as a lyricist is obvious when looking at his impressive body of work.

The Career and Legacy of Bowie

Bowie made a name for himself in the late 1960s, most memorably through his self-titled debut album in 1967. He took the next step after the release of The Man Who Sold the World in 1970 and Hunky Dory in 1971 featuring “Changes” as his hit single.

The Thin White Duke also developed a special connection with the city of Philadelphia throughout his career. He recorded David Live at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby in 1972, and he recorded the majority of Young Americans (1975) at Sigma Sound Studios on 12th Street in Center City.

He passed away at his home in New York City on January 10, 2016. It was just two days after his 69th birthday. However, his legacy as one of the most influential musicians of the past half-century lives on.

Powerful David Bowie Lyrics

Bowie also wrote lyrics that his curious listeners couldn’t help but cling to. He developed a fascination with outer space, which is obvious in “Space Oddity,” “Life On Mars, and “Starman.” These lyrics also indicate an interrelated fascination with abstract thinking. The outward ideas deal with outer space, but there are plenty of inferences about thinking beyond what you see in front of you.

He shared ideas about the corruption and hollow attitude of the world around him in “Fame” and “The Man Who Sold the World.” These are now two of his best-known songs from the 1970s.

Bowie also sang with incredible authenticity in ‘Changes” and “Heroes,” two of his biggest hits. His lyrics always seemed to hint at a greater idea because of his incredible artistic expression.

  • Fame (1975)

     

    Fame makes a man take things over
    Fame lets him lose hard to swallow
    Fame puts you there where things are hollow

    Fame can go to people’s heads. Who would know that better than a famous musician? The criticism of fame is a surprisingly and ironically common theme in the lyrics of high-profile songs.

  • The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

     

    For years and years I roamed
    I gazed a gazeless stare
    At all the millions here
    We must have died alone
    A long long time ago

    Bowie sings with a powerful sense of remorse in “The Man Who Sold The World,” a song that became much more popular after a Nirvana cover in 1994. The speaker seems to be speaking to a past version of himself and thinking about what he used to be. The corruption of fame also seems to play into the longing for the past.

  • Changes (1972)

     

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
    Turn and face the strange
    Ch-ch-changes
    Just gonna have to be a different man
    Time may change me
    But I can’t trace time

    “Changes” communicates an encouraging message about showing bravery with a bold approach to change.

  • Heroes (1977)

     

    Though nothing will drive them away
    We can be heroes, just for one day
    We can be us, just for one day

    The speaker in “Heroes” seems to be against all odds in the relationship he sings about. The repetition of “just for one day” adds a sense of simplicity and sincerity to the song.

  • Ziggy Stardust (1972)

     

    He played it left hand
    But made it too far
    Became the special man
    Then we were Ziggy’s band

    Ziggy Stardust had a dual meaning. He was the star in the sky, and he was a superstar. The song tells the story of a star musician who made it too far and allowed fame to go to his head.

  • 1984 (1974)

     

    Someday they won’t let you, now you must agree
    The times they are a-telling, and the changing isn’t free
    You’ve read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV
    Beware the savage jaw of 1984

    The world before 1984 feared the looming danger of a totalitarian government ruling the world. David Bowie noticed the sinking sense of freedom in the world.

  • Modern Love (1983)

     

    It’s not really work
    It’s just the power to charm
    I’m still standing in the wind
    But I never wave bye-bye

    Was Bowie singing about Rock & Roll? Considering the lyrics of “Fame” and “Ziggy Stardust,” the sentiment would fit.

  • Aladdin Sane (1983)

     

    Who’ll love Aladdin Sane
    Battle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise
    Who’ll love Aladdin Sane

    Aladdin could be a first name. Sane could be a last name. Wouldn’t “a lad insane” fit into the chorus and make a little more sense?

  • Rebel, Rebel (1974)

     

    You’ve got your mother in a whirl
    She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl

    David Bowie released “Rebel, Rebel” in 1974 when labels on sexuality weren’t defined nearly as obviously as they are in modern times.

  • Space Oddity (1969)

     

    For here
    Am I sitting in my tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue
    And there’s nothing I can do

    His fascination with outer space wasn’t as apparent in 1969 when “Space Oddity” came out. However, the same otherworldly themes in “Life On Mars” and “Ziggy Stardust” were already present.

  • Starman (1969)

     

    There’s a Starman waiting in the sky
    He’d like to come and meet us
    But he thinks he’d blow our minds

    Some people think it’s ridiculous to believe that aliens exist, but Bowie didn’t seem to think so. If aliens did have a way to come to earth, would they want to? Bowie wondered aloud in “Starman.”

  • Under Pressure (1981)

     

    That’s the terror of knowing
    What this world is about
    Watching some good friends screaming
    “Let me out!”

    The pressures of the world can sometimes seem overwhelming. David Bowie sang with Queen 1981 in one of the best unions in Rock & Roll history with another excellent lyrical performance.

  • Young Americans (1975)

     

    We live for just these twenty years
    Do we have to die for the fifty more?

    “Young Americans” has the same sense of authenticity as “Changes” in the sense of time passing us by with no control.

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