We’ve made it to the last part of this Bowie extravaganza – I’ll only be looking at “Amazing” and “All-Time Great” tracks from now. I was surprised by how many top tier songs there were in the end!
If you missed it, here are Parts One and Two:
And here are a few of my related blog posts:
70 – Quicksand
At first I shrugged “Quicksand” off as a slow, filler song, but the lyrics and musical composition are divine.
69 – Seven Years in Tibet
A slept-on track from “Earthling” that perfectly encapsulates the electronic style Bowie was going for.
68 – Always Crashing in the Same Car
A great metaphor to base a song off of, and the Eno production is top-notch.
67 – Sunday
Although Bowie claims “Sunday” has nothing to do with the events of 9/11, that post-tragedy depression is prevalent throughout this sombre track.
66 – Valentine’s Day
Some of the best guitar riffs and melodies of Bowie’s later work.
65 – Kooks
Delightful and sentimental.
64 – Little Wonder
The best bed-time story ever.
63 – New Killer Star
A heavy, rocking way to kick off “Reality”.
62 – I’m Afraid of Americans
The V1 remix is better, but the original is still Bowie at his most chaotic.
61 – The Jean Genie
An iconic chorus that’s easy to sing along to.
60 – I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
One of the best grooves Bowie ever made.
59 – Fantastic Voyage
A personal favourite of the man himself, and in recent months I too have fallen in love with “Fantastic Voyage”. The lyrics and vocals are some of the best he ever did.
58 – Fashion
Off-beat and weird, and yet still catchy and memorable enough to be a hit in its own right.
57 – Jump They Say
A song with a tragic backstory, but “Jump They Say” channels that trauma into something so beautiful and danceable.
56 – Thursday’s Child
This song gets better with each listen. Bowie at his most melancholic and mellow.
55 – Black Tie White Noise
A groovy, underrated banger from the album of the same name.
54 – The Hearts Filthy Lesson
Visceral and revolting. I love it.
53 – Oh! You Pretty Things
A delightful, rousing anthem from “Hunky Dory”.
52 – Five Years
One of the best opening tracks to any concept album. Bowie puts his heart and soul into the vocals.
51 – Be My Wife
“Low” on the whole is so good at proving complex yet understandable tunes, and “Be My Wife” is no exception.
50 – Days
Sometimes Bowie and an acoustic guitar are all you need to make magic happen.
49 – Soul Love
One of the more underrated songs from “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust”. Soulful and groovy.
48 – The Width of a Circle
An 8-minute epic, if Bowie had made more songs like “The Width of a Circle” I might have liked “The Man Who Sold the World” a lot more.
47 – The Bewley Brothers
This used to be up in my top 20, but “The Bewley Brothers” isn’t the craziest song he did. Still, it’s a fantastic, dark way to close out “Hunky Dory” with some of my favourite storytelling lyrics.
46 – No Plan
A recent discovery on my part, “No Plan” is a non-album track that’s both entrancing and utterly brilliant.
45 – Diamond Dogs
Bowie never really did stadium / anthemic rock, but he knocks “Diamond Dogs” out of the park.
44 – Where Are We Now?
The aged vocals on “Where Are We Now?” are what make it so wonderful.
43 – Sorrow
One of the best covers ever, “Sorrow” has always been one of my personal favourites to sing along to.
42 – Modern Love
Some Bowie fans don’t appreciate the direction that he took on “Let’s Dance”, but I don’t mind it – tracks like “Modern Love” are too fun for me to put down!
41 – The Man Who Sold the World
More well-known nowadays for the excellent Nirvana cover, but the Bowie original is still the best as far as I’m concerned. The mysterious and exotic instrumentation always gives me goosebumps.
40 – Loving the Alien
“Tonight” isn’t Bowie’s best work, but the opening song “Loving the Alien” certainly is. The production and choice of instruments give it its charm.
39 – Starman
I’ve always thought Starman was ever so slightly overrated, but I can’t deny the cultural impact it has. One of Bowie’s catchiest songs, by far.
38 – Rebel Rebel
A guitar riff to die for, and a chorus so anthemic it hurts.
37 – China Girl
Yet another banger from “Let’s Dance” – those opening three songs are unbelievably strong.
36 – Dollar Days
The second-last song on “Blackstar”, “Dollar Days” almost feels like a finale with its drama and melancholy.
35 – Absolute Beginners
A gorgeous 80’s love ballad. Worth a listen if you’ve never heard it.
34 – Heathen (The Rays)
“Heathen (The Rays)” always elicits an immense emotional response from me – this is Bowie at his most vulnerable, and the lyrics alluding to death and loss are gut-wrenching.
33 – Ziggy Stardust
It doesn’t get much more iconic than this.
32 – Red Money
I absolutely adore the closer from “Lodger” – the bassline is amazing, and Bowie’s vocals are so off-beat and unique.
31 – I Can’t Give Everything Away
The final ever song, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is a beautiful way to close out the Bowie saga.
30 – The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
A show-stopping tune from “The Next Day”, with some fantastic woodwind and brass arrangements.
29 – Breaking Glass
Probably my favourite Bowie bassline, with a fun set of lyrics as well.
28 – TVC15
Catchy and danceable, with a rousing chorus. This is the lowest ranked song on “Station to Station”, and it still made my top 30!
27 – Strangers When We Meet
It’s only in recent months that I’ve truly fallen in love with “Strangers When We Meet”. Up there with Bowie’s greatest love songs.
Just to clarify, this is the “1.Outside” (Brian Eno produced) version I’m talking about. The “Buddha of Suburbia” track is similar, but nowhere near as impactful.
26 – Bring Me The Disco King
A song Bowie had cooking since the 70’s, and thirty years later he perfected this jazz epic. One of his best album closers.
25 – Memory of a Free Festival
Another phenomenal closer! It doesn’t get more anthemic than this.
24 – Suffragette City
An amazing rocker of a track, with some insanely quotable lyrics.
23 – Lazarus
It’s rare for an artist to prophesise their own death, but to do it in such style is nothing short of sensational.
22 – Subterraneans
Bowie’s best instrumental, and quite possibly the greatest instrumental track of all time. The saxophone and vocalisations are spine-tingling.
21 – Moonage Daydream
I’ve always loved “Moonage Daydream”, but the documentary of the same name has made it jump up a dozen places in my ranking.
20 – Stay
An amazing rocker that’s 6 minutes and yet never gets stale.
19 – Wild Is The Wind
Easily one of Bowie’s best vocal performances. The tenderness and vulnerability he pours into the words is masterful.
18 – Sweet Thing Medley
I’ve grouped the medley (“Sweet Thing”, “Candidate”, “Sweet Thing Reprise”) together, as that’s how I always listen to them.
Bowie originally intended “Diamond Dogs” to be a stage musical, and I can totally see that. The storytelling is off the charts, and the melodies are unbelievably catchy.
17 – Lady Grinning Soul
Bowie has made seventeen songs that I’d consider to be among the best of all time – not a bad showing at all!
“Lady Grinning Soul” is a slept-on track from “Aladdin Sane” that closes the album brilliantly. His lyrics are so tender and real, and the gorgeous piano work is up there with some of the best in his discography.
16 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
Speaking of closers, I don’t think we’ll ever see a better end to a concept album than “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”.
Bowie puts his heart and soul into screaming the vocals, and the frantic orchestral arrangement is melodramatic and spine-tingling. My favourite song off the album, which is saying something.
15 – Teenage Wildlife
The more I listen to “Teenage Wildlife”, the better it gets. As of today, I’d rank it among his all-time greats!
It’s almost seven minutes long, and yet every section of it takes you on a musical journey like no other. Yet another blistering vocal performance.
14 – Let’s Dance
One of his most famous songs, and that’s fully deserved.
It’s an ingenious pop tune, and it never relies on clichés or overdone ideas to get its point across. Nile Rodgers’s production bleeds through this chic track.
13 – Changes
“And these children that you spit on, while you try to change their world, are immune to your consultation – they’re quite aware what they’re going through“
That single line alone is enough to put “Changes” in the top tier, but the rest of the lyrics are also my favourite of his.
12 – Fame
This Bowie-Lennon collaboration is exactly as cool as you think it’d be.
Not only does Bowie’s suave vocal performance shine, but the Lennon-isms are prevalent throughout. His best closer.
11 – Young Americans
I always struggle to pick my favourite between “Young Americans” and “Fame”, but for today I’ll go for the title track.
Bowie labelled this kind of sound as “plastic soul”, but I think he’s underselling it massively – those soulful influences are on full display, but he makes it into his own. It’s no wonder crowds kept requesting this one at gigs.
10 – Sound and Vision
When Bowie and Eno collaborated on “Low”, they tried to craft an album of musical experiences that anyone from any background can relate to. No other track pulls this off as seamlessly as “Sound and Vision”.
The instrumental is already iconic, but the non-sequitur lyrics do a wonderful job of bridging the language barrier. This is both of my parents’ favourite Bowie song, so that has to count for something!
9 – Word on a Wing
The most underrated Bowie song of all, “Word on a Wing” is one of the greatest love ballads I’ve ever heard.
The raw emotion bleeds through every word and syllable, and Bowie wears his heart on his sleeve throughout. Probably his most underrated vocal performance, too.
8 – Under Pressure
I wasn’t sure whether to include “Under Pressure”, as it’s officially a Queen song – since it was a 50/50 collaboration, I decided to rank it with the others.
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, I bloody love this track. Not only is it catchy and memorable, but the bridge sections are so left-field and the lyrics are so poignant. Best collaboration in music history?
7 – Space Oddity
The song that sent Bowie’s career into the stratosphere, and it still holds up more than fifty years later.
The lyrics rival even some of his later work, and the production so perfectly mirrors the vastness of space that I’m not surprised people initially thought Bowie came from another planet.
6 – Blackstar
Bowie could have easily settled down in his old age, or even cranked out a few bland glam rock tunes to keep the checks coming in, but he decided to go out with a bang.
“Blackstar” is an eerie, unsettling title track that delves into nightmares and dark jazz so masterfully that I still hear new, creepy things on repeat listens. It’s rare for an artist to make such profound music fifty years into their careers.
5 – Station to Station
“Station to Station” is my favourite Bowie album, and that’s partly down to this monster of an opening track.
It chugs along at a methodical pace, before suddenly erupting into break-neck, frantic speed. It’s like a shot of adrenaline straight to the veins, and I’d consider it to be Bowie’s strongest opener.
4 – Life on Mars?
Bowie himself has labelled “Life on Mars?” as his favourite song, and it’s not hard to see why.
The chord progressions and piano work are second-to-none, and the lyrics toe the line between anthemic and artsy perfectly. As a complete work, this may just be his most masterful showing.
3 – Golden Years
Following up from the title track, “Golden Years” is a hell of a one-two punch to kickstart an album.
It carries on that “plastic soul” approach that “Young Americans” introduced, and yet he perfected and refined the sound into something he could call his own. This has easily one of my favourite guitar grooves of all time.
2 – Ashes to Ashes
I don’t really have a reason as to why “Ashes to Ashes” is my second-favourite Bowie song. It doesn’t have the slick charm of “Golden Years”, or the chord progressions of “Life on Mars?” – it’s just a song that I’ve always adored.
Bowie’s lyrical return to Major Tom brings up some interesting developments in the lore, and I love how he doesn’t hold back when talking about his past addictions. Above all else, that bassline is so funky!
1 – Heroes
My favourite Bowie song, and on a good day it’s even my favourite song of all time.
The raw passion that he brings to the vocals never fails to get me emotional, and that chorus hook of “We can be heroes!” makes me want to stand up and cheer. I can’t see any other Bowie song ever topping this masterpiece.
Aaand we’re finally done! Blimey, I need to stop putting myself through these types of lists … While I physically and mentally recover, you can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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