Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Morrissey, Ricky Gervais and more choose their favourites…
28 Moonage Daydream
From The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust… (June 1972)
Originally written for Bowie’s 1971 Arnold Corns side-project, subsequently dusted down to herald the arrival of the space-invading alligator and “rock’n’rolling bitch” Ziggy Stardust
DAVE GAHAN (Depeche Mode): Bowie represented a way for me to get out of myself, and also to escape from where I was. Basildon was a factory, working-class town. Bowie gave me a hope that there was something else. This world that he seemed to be a part of – where was it? I wanted to find it. I just thought he wasn’t of this earth. And that was really attractive to me, to live in a different persona.
“Moonage Daydream” still gives me the goosebumps. I couldn’t really tell you what the hell he’s singing about. It’s about feeling and emotion first, it doesn’t really have to make any sense. It makes more sense melodically, it’s abstract musically. That’s with me now, every time I’m trying to write. It inspired me. Without it, I would have been resolved to a life of petty crime. Over the years, it’s the one staple I’ve stayed with. When it comes down to it, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars… or David Live goes on.
I had the wonderful experience of actually meeting him, a couple of years back. I felt like he was just as much out of sorts as I imagined he would be. Even though he seemed to have it really together, and was very healthy. But I think that stuff doesn’t go away: that longing to belong, somehow.
27 Station To Station
From Station To Station (January 1976)
Twisting, coldly funky, 10-minute epic that namechecked the “Thin White Duke/throwing darts in lovers’ eyes ”. The only track from its eponymous album not to be released on a single
STEPHEN MORRIS (New Order): I got into Bowie early on, when Hunky Dory came out. I remember going to see him at the [Manchester] Free Trade Hall with Ian [Curtis] in 1972. Bowie apparently asked Ian if there was a club he could go to, where he could hear some Northern soul. This was the same day that “Starman” came out, and Bowie bore a startling resemblance to my best friend’s mother. She had red hair and the same boots. I sort of fell out with Bowie when he jacked Ziggy in, but thanks to the Britannia Music Club, I got Station To Station. It was bloody weird, with The Thin White Duke and the cabbalistic lyrics.
The title track itself gave strong hints as to where Bowie was going, with various Kraftwerk-isms in there. At the same time, it has soulfulness too, but it’s mutating into something else. Listening to it now, it reminds me of something by Van Der Graaf Generator. There’s prog-ness about it, but it has a real energy and drive. Christ knows what he’s singing about, but it was a stepping stone to Joy Division for me, in that it moves from funk towards the experimentalism of Low and “Heroes”. It completely restored my faith in Bowie.