10 Bowie Hidden Gems that are too Good to Ignore

Here is my list of Bowie’s hidden gems.  The tracks that shouldn’t be skipped or dismissed because they are just too good to ignore. The songs that were not released as singles. These songs are from the earlier part of his career spanning from 1967 to 1975. Most Bowie fans will be familiar with these tracks but for the casual Bowie listener or those new to the genius of Bowie should give these tracks a listen.

“Karma Man”

A continuity of the Tibetan theme explored in “Silly Boy Blue” released in 1967 as a possible B-side to “Let Me Sleep Beside You” it’s definitely worth a listen. Bowie had studied Tibetan Buddhism since 1965 the song explores these themes. The version available on Bowie at the Beeb is so much better than the original recorded version.

Stand out lyrics

“I see my times and who I’ve been
I only live now and I don’t know why”

“Letter to Hermoine”

This song was released on the 1969 David Bowie/Space Oddity album with the famous title track being the major hit.  This sad but beautiful lament to his then ex-girlfriend Hermoine Farthingale is a special song.  She must have meant a lot to him because they kept in touch most of his life.  They broke up in early 1969 when she went to Norway to take part in a film, Song of NorwayHe wore a T-Shirt with the words “m/s Song of Norway” in the video for “Where are we now?”

Stand out lyrics

“They say your life is going very well
They say you sparkle like a different girl
But something tells me that you hide
When all the world is warm and tired
You cry a little in the dark
Well so do I”

“After All”

From the 1970 album “The Man Who Sold the World”, it has been described by biographer David Buckley as “the album’s hidden gem”, and by Nicholas Pegg as “one of Bowie’s most underrated recordings”. It’s a strange waltz/circus style tune with Nietzschian influenced lyrics. “Man is an obstacle, sad as the clown.” I always thought that the song might have been influenced by his half-brother Terry’s mental illness.

Stand out lyrics

“Please trip them gently, they don’t like to fall, oh by jingo
There’s no room for anger, we’re all very small, oh by jingo
We’re painting our faces and dressing in thoughts from the skies, from paradise”

 

“Quicksand”

From the fantastic album “Hunky Dory”.  It’s difficult to pick a hidden gem from Hunky Dory because if you skip any of the songs then you cannot call yourself a Bowie fan.  “Changes” and “Life on Mars.”, being the best-known songs. This song holds its own.  Its influenced by Buddhism and Occultism.   It refers to the magical society Golden Dawn and name-checks its most famous members, Aleister Crowley, as well as Heinrich HimmlerWinston Churchill and Juan Pujol (codename: Garbo). It’s a heavy song that finishes Side 1 of this outstanding album

Stand out lyrics

“I’m the twisted name on Garbo’s eyes
Living proof of Churchill’s lies, I’m destiny
I’m torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets, divine symmetry”

 

“Lady Stardust”

Released in 1972 as part of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust album.  The talented Mick Ronson plays the laid-back piano introduction.  The song is considered to be a homage to fellow Glam-rock star Marc Bolan.

Stand out lyrics

“Femme fatales emerged from shadows 
To watch this creature fair 
Boys stood upon their chairs 
To make their point of view 
I smiled sadly for a love 
I could not obey” 

 

“Lady Grinning Soul”

The second lady to grace this list and what grace.  The song finishes the 1973 album, Alladin Sane. The beautiful and romantic piano played by pianist Mike Garson is fantastic.  The song has to be up there topping the list of most underrated Bowie songs.

Stand out lyrics

“And when the clothes are strewn
Don’t be afraid of the room
Touch the fullness of her breast
Feel the love of her caress
She will be your living end”

 

“Where have all the good times gone?”

Released in 1973 as part of Bowie’s tribute album Pin Up’s album which introduced me to early Pink Floyd and The Who.  Bowie’s taste in music is impeccable and the cover of The Kinks song is fabulous.

 

“We are the dead”

Released in 1974 as part of the George Orwell “1984” influenced LP.  The soft keyboard that introduces this fabulous and visual word-play of doomed love.  It’s not the happiest of Bowie tunes but it definitely takes us on a journey. The lyrics constructed using the William Burroughs cut-up technique of random sequences of words. It’s EPIC.

Stand out lyrics

“For you’re dancing where the dog’s decay, defecating ecstasy
You’re just an ally of the leecher
Locator for the virgin King, but I love you in your fuck-me pumps
And your nimble dress that trails”

“Can you hear me”

Released in 1975, as part of The Young American’s album.  Bowie moved away from rock and glam to “plastic soul” and the results are solid gold.  Bowie the smoothy, crooning this laid back tune. The album and this song highlighted the talents of his newly recruited guitar player Carlos Alomar and an unknown backing singer called Luther Vandross.

Stand out lyrics

“Once we were lovers, can they understand? 
Closer than others I was your, I was your man
Don’t talk of heartaches, oh, I remember them all
When I’m checking you out one day, to see if I’m
Faking it all”

“Word on a Wing”

I struggled to pick a song from the 1976 album “Station to Station” due to there being only 6 songs to choose each of which was released on single but if you bypass this song you are missing a treat.  I fell in love with this tune when he played it live on the VH1 storyteller session.  It’s a prayer theme to the song with Bowie imploring to God to listen to him.  The soft introduction with the sweeping strings and piano that lead to the guitar riff are majestic.

Stand out lyrics

“In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
I don’t need another change
Still, you forced your way
Into my scheme of things”

 

 

0

32 thoughts to “10 Bowie Hidden Gems that are too Good to Ignore”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *