David Bowie – My Top 100 Favorite Songs: 97

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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 97: Somebody Up There Likes Me

He’s everybody’s token, on everybody’s wall

Young Americans is one of my favorite David Bowie albums so I can’t believe this song is down as far as 97.  When you’ve amassed a repertoire as deep as Bowie has, all 100 songs are necessarily going to be amazing!
Released in ’75 as the followup to Diamond Dogs, Young Americans marked a radical shift towards blue eyed soul which left most listeners unprepared.  I would have loved to have been at an age where I could have experienced the resistance it received from many of the music critics of the time. I know now they simply just didn’t get it!
For this album David assembled a murderer’s row of top talent which included saxophonist David Sanborn, percussionist Andy Newark (Sly And The Family Stone), and his very first collaboration with Carlos Alomar (James Brown, Roy Ayers, Iggy Pop, John Lennon). Alomar and Bowie would continue to work together over a 30 year span. Much thought was put behind Bowie’s left-field foray into blue eyed soul, his direction was clear from the start. Since David’s death I’ve grown to appreciate Young Americans as the largely unheralded work of a genius looking to challenge his creativity. While countless many have discarded this album as disco trash, I applaud Bowie’s willingness to step outside the box that his fans and critics wished to put him in. To me, Young Americans expressed Bowie’s wish to take on monumental challenges which lesser artists wouldn’t have dared try themselves.  Young Americans is unapologetic ear candy, serving almost as a musical interlude before engaging his personal demons again on the cocaine induced  Station To Station.
Who is  David alluding to when singing about “Somebody Up There”? Is it a direct reference to God, or is he referring to those people who are placed on a pedestal by the rest of society?  Is it a reflection on the existence of a higher power or a condemnation of those consumed by fame, influence and celebrity? Perhaps it was both. Bowie often cites 1974-75 as the darkest years of his life, at times referencing a personal low point in L.A which was never fully revealed during his lifetime. Was David looking for personal salvation or was he merely commenting on other people’s exaggerated perceptions of him? By 1974 he fully despised fame and its trappings and tried in vain to shun them. He was aware his prison walls were of his own making but his search for escape was only beginning…
At various points during “Somebody Up There Likes Me” the character referenced in the song alludes to archetype of the politician who backs up his bullshit through the moral posturing of religion. “I represent the will of God, vote for me and I’ll set you free!” The character personified by Bowie seeks the reverence and worship of those around him; he chases after this power by citing God as his ally. Man was apparently created in God’s likeness, meaning the closest man can get to reaching Godliness is by allying himself with the same ideals. The game of manipulating circumstances through deceit, winning over the masses by telling them what they want to hear. So was David shedding a light on these baser aspects of the human condition or was he just searching for God within himself? Listen to the song, determine for yourselves.


READ: 100, 99, 98

Somebody Up There Likes Me

He’s everybody’s token, on everybody’s wall
Blessing all the papers, thanking one and all
Hugging all the babies, kissing all the ladies
Knowing all that you think about from writing on the wall
He’s so divine, his soul shinesBreaks the night, sleep tight
His ever loving face smiles on the whole human race
He says, I’m somebody
He’s got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart
He says, don’t hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
He’s the savage son of the TV tube
Planets wrote the day was due
All the wisest men around
Predicted that a man was found
Who looked a lot like you and me, yeah
Everyone with sense could see
Nothing left his eye unmoved, he
Had the plan, he had to use (somebody)
He’s so divine, his soul shines (somebody)
Breaks the night, sleep tight (somebody out there, somebody)
His ever loving face smiles on the whole human race (somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody out there)
He’s got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart
He says, don’t hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) 
Somebody plays my song in tune
Makes me, makes me, makes me stronger for you, babe
Was a way when we were young, that
Any man was judged by what he’d done
But now you pick them on the screen (what they look like)
Where they’ve been
He’s got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart
He says, don’t hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
That given time, the leaders go
Tell me, can they hold you under their spell
Can they walk and hold you as well as a
Smile like Valentino?
Could he sell you anything?
Keep your eyes on your soul, keep your hand on your heart
He says, don’t hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) (somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) (somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody somebody)
Yeah, can’t remember (somebody) peace so well
Oh, space to ramble, (somebody, somebody) space to boogie
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh, somebody)
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh)
Somebody, somebody, somebody
Yeah, can’t remember, peace so well
Can’t remember peace so well
Can’t remember peace so well
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
Soul shine
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh, somebody)
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh)