When Bowie passed in 2016, it was tempting to see his death – two days after the release of his final album – as the completion of a circle; the perfection of a life characterised by a profusion not only of incredible music but of innovative ideas, eccentric pre-occupations and tantalising self-reference. In a career which had seen many high-profile resignations and comebacks, it was fitting that Bowie’s first posthumous release should have been the soundtrack album to his Lazarus musical – a work which revisited themes which Bowie had explored in life and served as a kind curtain call, his final comeback.
- BUY NOW: The Complete David Bowie… Ranked
It’s in this world of ideas, high concepts and pleasant surprises that The Complete David Bowie…Ranked makes camp. Inside we’ve reviewed and rated Bowie’s work in the kind of respectful but sideways fashion that we think he might have appreciated. We’ve reviewed and voted on all the studio albums – think you know the number 1? You may be surprised…– the best singles, box sets, screen appearances, live albums and compilations.
There’s more, of course. In the hope of giving you the background to why Bowie’s career took the course it did, we’ve also dug into his important influences, whether they’re people – Iggy, Angie, Kenneth Pitt – religious affiliations, concepts and paradigms – say, “Advertising” or “The internet”. We’ve ranked his managers, not forgetting his key collaborators, alternative single sleeves and rarities. Books? In case you want more, we’ve done the books, too.
We’ve also dived into our archive of Bowie-related interviews to bring you the top 20 Bowie anecdotes. As with the rest of the magazine, we hope these will bring you closer to the music and the Bowie you already know. For sure, you’ll read about the zealous nightclubber of early 70s London, and the occult practitioner of the of Station To Station era. But you’ll also read about the young mod tryer, the generous collaborator, the New York commuter and the artist who didn’t only know how to make a meaningful exit – he also knew all about a spectacular entrance.
As you’ll learn on these pages, Bowie had been impressed by the work of Lou Reed’s touring guitarist Chuck Hammer, and asked him to attend a tracking session for what became “Ashes To Ashes”. Bowie was running late for the studio. When he bowled in, however, he more than made up for it.
“He comes walking in wearing a full-length leather jacket with open-toed Japanese sandals, with a big wooden cross round his neck,” Chuck tells us. “He had a moustache, and was carrying a clipboard in one hand and a quart of milk in the other. He said, “Chuck, how nice to see you again. Your tape is all I listen to.”
Enjoy the magazine.
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