Top Ten David Bowie guitar riffs

This post is a pretty much knee-jerk reaction to a post I saw on Facebook referencing an article about David Bowie’s Ten Best riffs.  It’s a pretty good list, but for a true Bowie fan, has two GLARING omissions.  So, here’s my list with no GLARING omissions.

How many of these songs can you identify in less the five seconds? That’ a classic guitar riff all by itself and what I’ve tried to focus on here.

This song has several classic riffs in it. The one I’m thinking of starts at about :45 into the song although the intro itself stands alone.

Check back with me tomorrow and I’ll have a completely different top ten. Seriously. David Bowie peaked during the classic guitar era of rock. He featured some of the most incredible guitar players of our generation. Mick Ronson I have always claimed belongs right up there with the Jimi Hendrix’s and Eric Claptons. Toss in some help from other players like John Lennon and you’ve just got too much to handle for one short list like this. Two of my favorites, Time and Heroes, would definitely make any other band’s list. Both great songs, but just not for this list. I’m not really dissing the list I referred to, it just relies more on rhythm whereas I like the tone and melody aspects more.

So, tell me:

What's your favorite David Bowie guitar riff?

Elastic Heart

Nah, I’m not TOTALLY stuck on music from decades ago.

Creepy video, but the song is fantastic!

And the lyrics are pretty fun as well:

And another one bites the dust
Oh why can I not conquer love?
And I might have thought that we were one
Wanted to fight this war without weapons

And I wanted it, I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
Yeah, let’s be clear, I’ll trust no one

You did not break me
I’m still fighting for peace

Well, I’ve got thick skin and an Elastic Heart,
But your blade – it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cause I’ve got an Elastic Heart

I’ve got an Elastic Heart
Yeah, I’ve got an Elastic Heart

And I will stay up through the night
And let’s be clear, won’t close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I’ll walk through fire to save my life

And I want it, I want my life so bad
I’m doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It’s hard to lose a chosen one

You did not break me
(You did not break me, no)
I’m still fighting for peace

Well, I’ve got thick skin and an Elastic Heart,
But your blade – it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cause I’ve got an Elastic Heart

Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh

Well, I’ve got thick skin and an Elastic Heart,
But your blade – it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cause I’ve got an Elastic Heart

I’ve got an Elastic Heart

We are the Dead

The reason I lit on David Bowie at a young age was the music.  The reason I’ve hung on to David Bowie through adulthood are the lyrics + music.  Early Bowie threw out the best lyrics rock ever experienced.  And there were tons of them.  Although not the most popular, not the most meaningful, and not the best musically, We Are The Dead offered the most incredible lyrics of any song Bowie ever wrote.  Fire up the video and follow these lyrics:

Something kind of hit me today
I looked at you and wondered if you saw things my way
People will hold us to blame
It hit me today, it hit me today

We’re taking it hard all the time, why don’t we pass it by?
Just reply, you’ve changed your mind?
We’re fighting with the eyes of the blind
Taking it hard, taking it hard,

Yet now…..
We feel that we are paper,
choking on you nightly
They tell me,
“Son, we want you, be elusive, but don’t walk far”.
For we’re breaking in the new boys,
deceive your next of kin
For your dancing where the dogs decay,
defecating ecstasy
You’re just an ally of the leecher,
procreator for the virgin king
But I love you, in your fuck-me pumps,
and your nimble dress that trails.
Oh, dress yourself, my urchin one,
for I hear them on the rails
Because of all we’ve seen,
because of all we’ve said,
we are the dead

One thing kind of touched me today
I looked at you and counted all the times we’d laid
Pressing our love through the night
Knowing it’s right, knowing it’s right

Now I’m hoping some one will care
Living on the breath of a hope to be shared
Trusting on the sons of our love,
That some one will care, some one will care,

but now…
We’re today’s scrambled creatures,
locked in tomorrow’s double feature
Heavens on the pillow,
it’s silence competes with hell
It’s a twenty-four hour service,
guaranteed to make you tell
And the streets are full of press men,
bent on getting hung and buried
And the legendary curtains,
are drawn ’round baby bankrupt
Who sucks you while you’re sleeping
It’s the theater of financiers,
count them, fifty, ’round the table
White men dressed to kill

Oh, caress yourself, my juicy,
for my hands have all but withered
Oh, dress yourself my urchin one,
for I hear them on the stairs
Because of all we’ve seen, because of all we’ve said
We are the dead…..
we are dead…..
we are the dead

Compare THAT to Kanye West.

Rhiannon


I love this song. I REALLY love this live version of it. This is from 1976. Unfortunately I saw them probably around 1980. They had lost their edge and basically re-hashed the studio versions. I barely remember even being there. That had a lot to do with the bourbon. And, a lot to do with the show. Christine McVie retired for a decade or two. Now, they are back together and touring again. If they’re doing Rhiannon like this again, I’m there.

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me

One of the greatest song endings of all time


Love the climax at the end.

For a good part of my life, before song lyrics were easily accessed on the internet, I sang the one line as “I can’t find, oh, the rock of my life” instead of “the right romantic line”. It sounded so good I had a whole bunch of my friends singing it that way too. To this day, I think I still prefer it.

Ace of Spades

This is only one of two songs I’m aware of I have performed publicly.  It takes the death of a very close friend to get me on stage.  He had been a drummer for several bands I had hung out with since high school.  Every show he did that I was at, for over 30 years, I’d yell for this song.  He didn’t particularly like doing it. So, he always promised me he’d do it shortly after his funeral.  So, for his funeral, I did it for him.  I’m not going to post me doing it, as we just winged it.

Many years before, I was watching Black Oak Arkansas at my favorite dive in Richmond, KY.  I was a regular there, they knew me.  I was front row in a very small, very tight, pit.  Their entire show I kept yelling “Ace of Spades“.  Finally, for their final encore, Jim “Dandy” Mangrum announced “this one’s for the asshole up front”. That was ME!  They absolutely tore it up.

Here’s the original.  Pretty much the first original thrash metal song ever recorded.

Things Tom Petty don’t want you to do

Saw this, loved it, stole it:

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/five-things-tom-petty-dont-want-you-to-do/question-4677458/" title="Five Things Tom Petty don't want you to do">Five Things Tom Petty don&#8217;t want you to do</a>

Definitely my favorite Tom Petty video, and possibly song:

Honestly, I never enjoyed the stoner Tom. That stuff is remarkably boring musically. The edgier Tom was musically a LOT more fun.