Top Ten Unknown (or at Least Lesser-Known) David Bowie Songs

[Another list by resident obsessive list-maker, Brent Chittenden. – AC]

Okay, unknown might be stretching it a little but here’s the deal. David Bowie released a new song this week and we thought it might be a good idea to shed some light on the other Bowie tracks. Bowie has such a rich back catalogue that Bowie Bonds were issued in 1997.

Basically it was a bond investment based on royalties on his back catalogue with the idea that they would always sell x amount of copies (now granted this bond is now a little lower on the scale due to the digital revolution but still…), that’s how strong his back catalogue is!

So let’s take a look at the songs that aren’t “Space Oddity” or “Rebel Rebel.” Here are the Top Ten Unknown David Bowie Songs!

10) I’m Afraid of Americans

I hesitated putting this one on the list just because it’s a song all of my friends and I like which kind of says that it was “known” or a hit but I imagine there’s a huge number of people that never heard this song or saw the awesome video above.

9) Magic Dance

I know, a bunch of Bowie fans out there groaned just a little but for me this song is two things. 1) Proof at how versatile Bowie is where he essentially did a song for a kids film. 2) This is how extensive his catalogue goes. He’s in a movie with a bunch of muppets! And really, watch the video above, how can 8) you not like David Bowie chucking a baby and goblins?

8) Seven Years in Tibet

From, 1997’s Earthling album, Seven Years in Tibet was a great song that never got the respect that it deserved from the public. This is a song that really looks at the kids and says “Yeah, I might be older than you but I can still kick your teeth in.”

7) Queen Bitch

Hunky Dory isn’t one of the albums I name when talking about the best of Bowie but upon deeper review (and as you will see here), it had a lot of really solid tracks that I love on it. In terms of kind of a “pop” Bowie, this is a really great example.

6) Black Tie, White Noise

Bowie’s first solo outing of the 90’s, I’ve found that it’s be sort of forgotten which is a shame especially for it’s title cut. “Black Tie, White Noise” is a great little song that for me, really brings Bowie’s “plastic soul” efforts to a very fitting and solid conclusion while also hinting at the musical paths he will take on his future recordings.

5) TVC 15

One of the odder songs in Bowie’s career, there is just something about the piano and pace of this song that I just love despite the fact that you can hear the cocain running through Bowie’s system on this tune.

4) Halo Space Boy

Coming from the Outside album, Halo Space Boy is a great track that shows the circle of music life. Bowie influences  Trent Reznor, Reznor influences Bowie. It was also with the Outside album that Bowie toured with Nine Inch Nails.

3) Scary Monsters

I was introduced to this song from reading interview with Trent Reznor during the Downward Spiral era. An obvious influence on Reznor and many other acts, it’s unfortunate that this songs doesn’t get more love than it does.

2) Quicksand

Another track from Hunk Dory, I fell in love with this song after I saw the above performance with Robert Smith. Why aren’t there dozens of covers of this song out there?

1) Moonage Daydream

Ziggy Stardust might be the song everyone remembers from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust but this is a song that everyone should hear. A combination of Bowie’s ability of exploring different sounds and musical combinations along with his ability to write a great musical hook leads this song to our number one spot.

These are just my choices of course. I imagine you might have some favorites that didn’t make my list. Please, share them with us in the comment section below and let the discussion begin!

Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a freelance writer with a gift for the geek. Currently a writer with A Journal Of Musical Things and a podcaster with True North Nerds, he's also written for Comic Book Daily, Explore Music and a dozen other places. Currently, he is the co-host of the True North Nerds podcast. You can find out more at www.facebook.com/bcchittenden

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Unknown (or at Least Lesser-Known) David Bowie Songs

  • January 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm
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    5. Broken Glass – Low
    4. Win – Young Americans
    3. It's No Game (No. 1)
    2. Aladdin Sane – Aladdin Sane
    1. Right – Young Americans

    Definitely my non-famous Bowie tracks top 5!

    Reply
  • January 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm
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    What about…

    Blackout (from "Heroes." very catchy.)
    A New Career in A New Town (sounds like Postal Service, but much earlier. probably mostly an Eno thing, but.)
    Alabama Song (Cover from Stage live album, kind of gives me the creeps)
    Pallas Athena (Live version with Dao Jones Index. Powerful drum-n-bass-meets-marching-cadence vibe to it.)

    Reply
  • January 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm
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    Moonage Daydream is a huge tune. Shocked to see that on the list.

    It Ain't Easy…

    Reply
  • January 12, 2013 at 1:34 am
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    The Bewlay Brothers", The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, Panic In Detroit, Rock and Roll Suicide, Up the Hill Backwards….David Bowie is by far my favourite artist of all time.

    Reply

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