Hello. My name is Jian. I am a David Bowie addict.
People who know me know that I have been obsessed with David Bowie since I was a little kid. The word “obsessed” sounds particularly unhealthy or deviant and I assure you that in this case it absolutely is.
I have every Bowie album and many rarities. I know all kinds of Bowie trivia that is mostly useless but satiates the appetite of my own Bowie brain. I can tell you what Bowie wore on stage on many of his tours, including those from the 1970s, when I was barely a conscious little boy. But I am not alarmed. I allow myself this behaviour because I believe in heroes. And Bowie is my hero. And Bowie is my hero because in many ways he invented modern music.
It is almost impossible to imagine what contemporary pop would sound like had Bowie never existed. But even more than that, his commitment to being utterly unique, theatrical, both genderless and sexual, and profound has provided inspiration for anyone who wondered if it’s possible to be different in this world. May the “little monsters” worship at the altar of their true creator: David Bowie.
I’ve been writing a book called 1982. It will be released in the fall. It is ostensibly about a year but it’s really about being 14 and wanting to be Bowie. It may or may not be based on me. (In other words, it is.)
Recently, to celebrate David Bowie’s 65th birthday, I performed a 10-hour countdown on Twitter of Bowie’s Top 10 albums (of all time). The arbiter of this countdown was me. I’m quite confident about my choices, given that I visit my Bowie list each day. I also believe such exercises are a good opportunity for musical discovery and debate. And for some of you to get angry and lash out and say things you will regret because you ultimately know I'm right about my Bowie list. But feel free to react. Just be nice. Ish.
What follows are the Top 10 Bowie albums of all time, with one song from each. The single song designation is ridiculously limiting but that was the only choice I was given and hopefully you will get the idea. Play these songs often. You will not be disappointed.
Jian Ghomeshi's Top 10 Bowie albums of all time
10. Young Americans (1975). Bowie’s mid-1970s “obsession” with soul and R&B is realized in the creation of a classic. The title track here makes sense as a fine specimen from this record. Here is "Young Americans" being performed fully live on The Dick Cavett Show (1974).
9. Heathen (2002). Legendary producer Tony Visconti returns. Some say there’s no great Bowie album after 1980. They’re wrong. This is the song "Took a Trip on a Gemini Spacecraft," performed live on Top of the Pops, 2002.
8. Aladdin Sane (1973). Strong followup to Ziggy Stardust record spawns “Jean Genie,” “Time” and a new Bowie persona. "Jean Genie" music video:
7. Lodger (1979). Last of the Berlin Trilogy. Bowie’s explorations and critiques of Western civilization. Features “Fantastic Voyage” (one of his best songs ever).
6. Station to Station (1976). True document of drug-induced genius. Bowie claims to remember nothing about this recording. This is Bowie's heartbreaking version of the song "Wild is the Wind," popularized by Nina Simone.
5. Scary Monsters (1980). Brilliant. Political. Punk. Powerful. Features “Ashes to Ashes.” Went No. 1 on U.K. charts. "Ashes to Ashes," made before videos were commonplace, remains one of the best music videos of all time.
4. Hunky Dory (1971). Bowie gives the world “Changes” and “Life on Mars?” Watch "Life On Mars?":
3. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1973). A landmark concept album. Glam rock is invented here and never gets better. Check out "Five Years."
2. Heroes (1978). A masterpiece with a largely instrumental Side 2. Title track becomes one of the greatest pop songs of all time.
1. Low (1977). Bowie moves to Berlin and creates the pop sound of the future. A true example of music as art. This is the first album of the 1980s — in 1977. "What in the World" exemplifies the heavy use of synths and the big Eno influence. And that's a guy named Iggy Pop on backing vocals.
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on Mar 06, 2012