David Bowie – My Top 100 Favorite Songs: 89

89 david bowie the loneliest guy top 100 songs vj vinyl junkies

I recently witnessed the biggest David Bowie fan I know count down his top 100 favorite songs. These were private posts, meant solely for his Facebook family and friends. Something really cool happened over those 100 days.

I’d like to share that countdown with you. Read along, embark upon Niall Colgan’s personal journey while he narrates some of the most intimate aspects of his life with his undying passion for the art of David Bowie. The vid below is a short intro, scroll directly beneath to read the countdown.

Number 89: The Loneliest Guy

Taken from Reality (2003)

All the pages that have turned
All the errors left unlearned…

Loneliness is hard. Living in a constant state of despair is something I’ve battled with my entire life! My inability to spend a single minute comfortably in my own company ultimately led me straight to alcohol, drugs, and anything else that shielded me from myself. From the very beginning, Bowie always dealt with these same themes of loneliness and isolation, he sang what I felt. How could this rock God so closely relate to the despair that occupied my every thought? David saw right through my own facade, he understood exactly what I was trying to hide. I looked to his songs to provide me with answers to my own questions. If Bowie’s various alter egos couldn’t get him past the pain of being David Jones, what chance did I have?

Does a song like The Loneliest Guy give a person hope? Certainly not. Although David proclaims himself the luckiest guy instead of affirming the sentiment of the song title, there is an unmistakable pain in his voice. There was something about his tone on Reality that struck a chord with me.  I had a bad childhood, really bad. I still often wonder whether it was my own fault and whether I was alone in my pain. Teenage years just made everything get worse. While I watched others at my high school create these friendships I longed for, they were busy publicly humiliating me while others laughed. Why me????  What did I do to deserve this? The victim persona is one I tried to drown out with alcohol, with nearly fatal results. Sobriety has changed everything for me but self doubt sometimes brings back the victim when you least expect it. Listening to David’s songs led me to understand that he could never shake off his own demons, no matter how comfortable or happy he was.  Accepting it as a disease that sometimes takes hold of you is really the only answer.

The verses in The Loneliest Guy are about nothing and everything. They sum up Loneliness perfectly because in loneliness almost nothing exists.

Streets damp and warm
Empty smell metal
Weeds between buildings
Pictures on my hard drive
But I’m the luckiest guy
Not the loneliest guy

Here, he likens pictures on saved on his hard drive to unwanted weeds, then tries to convince himself that he’s the opposite of what he’s feeling.

Steam under floor
Shards by the mirrors frame
Clouds green and low
No sign, no nothing now
But I’m the luckiest guy
Not the loneliest guy

More broken images and clouds, but he’s still telling himself otherwise. These lyrics, and the manner in which he delivered them, comforted me greatly.  No matter how painful it all sounded, they served as a constant signpost which reminded me that I did not suffer alone, my idol understood me.

During an interview in 2003, Bowie described The Loneliest Guy as

“…a very despairing piece of work… a guy qualifying his entirely hermetic, isolated existence by saying ‘actually I’m a lucky guy. I’m not really alone—I just have myself to look after.’”

This “guy” is a constant in Bowie’s writing, he will appear often in this countdown, under different guises. Bowie was a deep man. Were his feelings of isolation exacerbated by the fact that he could only communicate them through a host of made up characters?  My own difficulties in expressing myself to those who love me makes me understand Bowie and his need to create characters. That character socializes and communicates perfectly within certain situations, especially while I’m at work.  It’s an affliction that I work on improving, every day. Since I started writing and sharing my Bowie list, I find myself better able to communicate parts of me that would otherwise be very difficult. Funny that. Music truly heals.

READ 100, 99, 98, 9796, 95, 9493, 92, 91, 90


The Loneliest Guy

Streets damp and warm
Empty smell metal
Weeds between buildings
Pictures on my hard drive
But I’m the luckiest guy
Not the loneliest guy

Steam under floor
Shards by the mirrors frame
Clouds green and low
No sign, no nothing now
But I’m the luckiest guy
Not the loneliest guy

All the pages that have turned
All the errors left unlearned, oh
Well I’m the luckiest guy
Not the loneliest guy
In the world
Not me
Not me