The Bowie You Don't Know (Probably)

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

In 1972 Bowie freaked out the planet with his bisexuality. He really did change the cultural landscape. His integrity as well as his artistry still gives him icon status with the LGBTQI community. Bowie was a Pied Piper of possibility offering a way out from the sexual confines of the time. On the fifth anniversary of his passing here are some tracks that may have passed you by.

It’s No Game (Part 1) (Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

A huge beast of a riff opens this track – it’s like King Kong on steroids swinging from a stack of Marshall amps. It’s got strangulated vocals, Bowie riffing on fascism and a Banshee wailing in Japanese, who may be saying ‘Buy a Mazda Hybrid’, but its sounds life-threateningly important.

Repetition (’97 Remix)

Covered by indie darlings the Au Pairs in the early 80s, who were also hypnotised by the economy of the song’s devastatingly impactful lyrics about wife-beating: ‘He looks right through you /when you ask him how the kids are’. Eerie, discordant noise wails in the background.

Loving The Alien (Tonight)

Bowie talks to (a) god. It’s off the utterly useless ‘Tonight ‘ album, which by Bowie’s admission was largely steered by session musicians. Nicking the ‘uh-uh-uh-uh’ inspiration from Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ ‘Loving The Alien’ flies like an eagle over a pit of the so-so.

Cat People

The Giorgio Moroder mix that soundtracks the Nastassja Kinski movie of the same name as opposed to the more bloated treatment on Bowie's best-selling ‘Let’s Dance.’ It crunches into life after about 30 seconds. Imagine having a hammer splicing your cranium. It's a bit like that. With gas-o-leeeeen!

Heart’s Filthy Lesson (Outside 1.)

The industrial avalanche of Nine Inch Nail’s dark metallic beats are all over this from Bowie’s ’95 album ‘Outside 1. - seen by many as a creative re-birth after the Rod/Elton/Phil noodlings of the 80s. Warning: massive riff ear worm.

Shopping For Girls (Tin Machine II)

Tin Machine was Bowie’s ‘I’m Just A Normal Bloke, Me’ phase and he shacked up with some ex-Iggy Pop band members, donned a suit and sounded like fledgling Nirvana. Before they did. ‘Shopping For Girls’ is about child prostitution in the Far East and again lyrically genius. ‘No-one here/Reads the paper pal.’

Buddha Of Suburbia

Hanif Kureishi - who went to the same school as Bowie - pitched him soundtrack duties on the BBC adaptation of his Buddha Of Suburbia and Bowie bit his hand off. No stranger to suburban blues/ennui the video has Bowie parked up in a close in Kent throwing all sort of shapes. Screaming along in South London... again.

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