David Bowie: The Starman’s notable fans reveal their favourite songs – what’s yours?

The world is weeping to ‘Sorrow’ and kicks off its shoes to ‘Let’s Dance’ following the singer’s death

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David Bowie on stage at Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 1996 Mark Allans

Julian Baggini

“Ashes to Ashes”

“Ashes to Ashes” captures the genius of Bowie to be both avant-garde and completely accessible at the same time. It’s a deeply strange song, with a jerky rhythm and a complex structure with its labyrinth of bridges between verse and chorus. And yet it was a No 1 single, bought by fans of Spandau Ballet and The Human League. Of course, the new romantic influence was evident in the aesthetic of the Scary Monsters album, reflected in the video which was both eerie and psychedelic. Bowie always borrowed, but he returned everything transformed.

Julian Baggini is an author and philosopher

Phil Campbell

“Moonage Daydream”

I have two favourite songs: “The London Boys” from his early career. So lonely, but when I had moved there I felt exactly like that song. Later, when he finds his feet it’s got to be “Moonage Daydream” – the epitome of “sleaze rock”. The sweet sounds of his 12-string and Mick Ronson’s boxy electric defy any of his attempts to distance himself from the genre afterwards. The man was a rocker. He invented the 1970s.

Phil Campbell is the vocalist for The Temperance Movement

Sarah Churchwell

“Changes”

We discovered Changesonebowie in the early 1980s, as Bowie was bursting (back, but we didn’t know that) on to the pop scene with “Modern Love”. It’s a cliché (but we didn’t know that either, and if we had we wouldn’t have cared) but our anthem was “Changes”. “Turn and face the strange”: is there a better piece of advice for an adolescent – or anyone? We were the children immune to their consultations, and felt quite aware of what we were going through, but we weren’t. Bowie was helping us see in the dark with his stardust.

Sarah Churchwell is Chair of Public Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London

Chris Difford

“Letter to Hermione”

When my wife woke me up yesterday to tell me he had died, I recalled the wonderful opening lines of “Letter to Hermione”: “The hand that wrote this letter sweeps the pillow clean, so rest your head and read a treasured dream, I care for no one else but you, I tear my soul to cease the pain, I think maybe you feel the same, what can we do? I’m not quite sure what we’re supposed to do so I’ve been writing just for you. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do either so I will write some words of love to you.” Thank you and God rest your soul in heaven.

Chris Difford is a singer, musician, songwriter, record producer and founding member of Squeeze

Joyce DiDonato

“Dancing in the Street”

No, please, not David Bowie. I naively always thought of him as immortal and timeless. It’s pointless to try and pin descriptives to him like “iconic”, “legendary”, or “titan”, and yet we try rather impotently in an effort to pay adequate tribute. What I do know is that he gave us all the example of how to live life without boundaries, without limitation, with colour, integrity and imagination, and perhaps above all, fearlessness. I can’t pick only one song, but the first I needed to put on was “Dancing in the Street” for its infectious capture of the joy of music and living: “All we need is music, sweet music… Laughing and singing and music swinging.”

Joyce Di Donato is a leading mezzo-soprano

Read more at the Independent

Okay, narrowing Bowie’s huge catalogue down to one song is no easy task, so today I’m going to go for this little beauty from the Station To Station LP…..what would you choose?

 

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