Six Bowie songs that you didn’t know you had to know

Six Bowie songs that you didn’t know you had to know

There have been so many words written about the legend who was David Bowie in the last few days that I’m sure you could now choose him as your specialist subject if you ever found yourself on Mastermind.

We’d all score quite highly on songs like Starman, Let’s Dance, and even Lazarus now. But to really know Bowie, I reckon you have to know some of his lesser known songs from the time when Ziggy first picked up his guitar. Like what? Like these…


From Hunky Dory, this beautifully crafted song begins quietly and builds to include piano and strings. In it he questions whether he should believe in a supreme being. He ends with the line that “knowledge comes with death’s release.” Let’s hope he knows now. 

Width of a Circle

At a time when Bowie was being deliberately ambiguous about his sexuality (times were different, and to do that had shock value back then), this barely disguised story of a gay encounter would never have been played on Radio 1 when it was released. But thanks to the introduction of liberalism and common sense, you can sit back and enjoy it now. From the album “The Man Who Sold The World.”

Five Years

Ah, Ziggy. The reason he came to Earth was to save us all was because the planet was dying. And in this, the first track on the Ziggy Stardust album, Bowie describes the scenes as the news is received with such imagery that you can picture the panic as it unfolds. The song builds and builds until the desperation is so dramatically vocalised at the end. If you want to know what happens, I suggest you listen to the whole album…

Cygnet Committee

A nine minute masterpiece from the album Space Oddity. Nine minutes will seem like a lifetime to today’s One Direction generation, who like their songs to last no longer than it takes to make a Pot Noodle, but believe me this is well worth investing time in. So give it more than one listen. This is a rousing call to revolution and once you know the song well enough, it’ll stick with you for ever.

Lady Grinning Soul

From Aladdin Sane, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was lifted from a classical work by one of the 19th Century composers. A romantic piece which always makes me think of Chopin. Except for the vocals. And maybe the electric guitar. Bowie combines all those to create a thing of beauty. 

Cracked Actor

The excesses of Hollywood and the film industry, all set to heavy rock chords. Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll, as only Bowie can do. Play loud. 

Written By Steve Mobbs


Credit to Josh Aitken for his David Bowie image!

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