David Bowie – My Top 100 Favorite Songs: 99

99 World’s Biggest David Bowie Fan’s Top 100 Songs Buddha Suburbia Vinyl Junkies

Over a 3 month period, I 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 cool happened over those 100 days.

I’d like to share that countdown with you. Read along, embark upon Niall’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.

Down on my knees in suburbia, Down on myself in every way….

Number 99 – The Buddha Of Suburbia

Number 99 features a track from Buddha Of Suburbia, a relatively unknown soundtrack album to a British TV series. Originally only released in the UK, the title track was the only song to actually ever appeared in the series. David called it his finest record upon its release although, ironically, he also stated that he’d only ever read one positive review during its entire press cycle. Although it’s a much lesser known release in the Bowie catalog it is one that begs to be discovered, especially for fans of Low or Heroes. Bowie’s skills as a multi-instrumentalist are on full display here. With the exception of two other musicians and a guess spot by Lenny Kravitz, Bowie played almost every instrument, on top of his normal vocal duties.

April 1993 coincided with the release of Black Tie White Noise, an album which suited my tastes despite the change in musical direction. I spent the year completely immersed in his new sound; I loved the fact that Bowie was taking his music in a bold new direction. Despite always being fanatical in my love for his art, I couldn’t hide my disappointment in Tonight or Never Let Me Down. Conversely, the subsequent release of Black Tie White Noise was like a personal gift.  It sounded sophisticated, plush and warm and my appreciation for it has only increased over the years. When Buddha Of Suburbia was released, it mostly flew over my radar. As a vinyl junkie, I was also pissed off that it was a CD only issue. The record label didn’t really do much to promote the album, giving it a U.S release only 2 years later and mostly as an afterthought. By that time his label had already begun focusing most of their attention to the upcoming worldwide release of Outside. Perhaps this contributed to the fact that I only developed a passion for this album after its initial release; it’s a Bowie release which for me, fell through the cracks. Boy was I in for a treat, Buddha Of Suburbia is simply stunning!! The ebbs and flows which characterize all great Bowie albums is in full evidence on this album, despite being miscast as an almost throwaway soundtrack release.

Was this the album that finally freed him of the creative pressure to produce ‘hits’? Was it the catalyst which restored the confidence he needed to embark upon a project like Outside? I think so! Buddha Of Suburbia sounded more like the Bowie we knew and loved, a gradual return to his artistic peak. There are elements of Low and Heroes throughout this album as well as some direct musical nods to the spirit captured on The Man Who Sold The World and Space Oddity too. The perceived betrayal of his true self, during his ‘pop’ phase, was finally being put to rest. Our creative genius was finally back to satisfying his own personal need to deliver art, on his own terms. Bowie was back to stretching boundaries with his music, cementing his cult status, freeing himself of the normalcy of albums like Tonight and Never Let Me Down.  He began to realize that succumbing to record company pressure was just something that wasn’t part of his make up, his vision or his legacy! He began showing the sort of creativity that brought us together as Bowie fans in the first place, and he was just getting started! The super stardom that followed the mega-success of Let’s Dance represented everything he actually despised. The creative shackles which came with achieving widespread fame were soon to be shattered, and what better way to do it? Buddha Of Suburbia represented a resurrection of sorts, the phoenix rising from the flames. He must have delighted in the fact that it was done with no fuss whatsoever, either from himself or the record label!


Buddha Of Suburbia

Living in lies by the railway line
Pushing the hair from my eyes
Elvis is English and climbs the hills
Can’t tell the bullshit from the lies

Screaming along in South London
Vicious but ready to learn
Sometimes I fear that the whole world is queer
Sometimes but always in vain

So I’ll wait until we’re sane
Wait until we’re blessed and all the same
Full of blood, loving life and all it’s got to give
Englishmen going insane

Down on my knees in Suburbia
Down on myself in every way

With great expectations I change all my clothes
Mustn’t grumble at silver and gold
Screaming above Central London
Never bored, so I’ll never get old

So I’ll wait until we’re sane
Wait until we’re blessed and all the same
Full of blood, loving life and all it’s got to give
Englishmen going insane