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> Rating David Bowie's Top 50 Hits! - The Results
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T83:Y96
post Feb 9 2016, 02:06 PM
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Over the course of his half-century long career, David Bowie had 69 top 50 hits, from Space Oddity to Lazarus.

Following his death on January 10th 2016, we have been rating those top 50 hits in order to find the site's favourite Bowie song.

10 of you have voted, and now here are the results.

Before we begin, here are a few facts about the results:
  • All but 2 songs in the top 10 end in a fade-out.
  • The longest title in the top 10 is of three words.
  • The song in last shares its peak position with a song in the top 10.
  • 6 -1s were given. 23 11s were given. One song received both.
  • No song has received more than 1 -1s. However, one song has received 6 11s.
  • If a song received nothing but 10s, its score would be of 100. One song (the winner) has done better, with a final score of 104 and an average score of 10.4
  • All but one of the songs who received a -1 are in the bottom 10.

And as for the separate competition, with 16 points, here is your non Top 50 hit winner:
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Joe ho ho!
post Feb 9 2016, 02:19 PM
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Ohhh looking forward to this rate.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 9 2016, 04:12 PM
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#69: John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)



Year of release: 1979
UK Peak: #12
Chart Run: {23-13-13-12-12-18-43-59} (15/12/1979 - 02/02/1980)

Scores: 6 (richie), 5 (Joe.), 4 (popchartfreak, Severin, Acidburn, Taylor Jago), 3 (Colm), -1 (Dandy)
Average: 3.625
Final score: 36.25


A re-recording of John, I’m Only Dancing taken from the sessions for the Young Americans album in 1974, the single became something of a surprise hit when it reached UK#12. Surprising in part, because the UK public had become accustomed to Bowie’s experimental leanings on recent works. However, the single capitalised on the popularity of the Disco scene in the UK.
As time has passed this version has become something of a forgotten Bowie single. The 7” version is a substantial edit of the full 7 minute version that appeared on the 12”.


Well what can I say? This is a bit of a shambles, really, and it sounds a lot worse than I remember. It drags on excessively, and the original is far superior. It's the only song to not have received a score better than 6 (although five others have a best score of 7) and no one has given this a better score than the original (which is actually quite well-liked and has finished very high). An utterly pointless disco remake of a perfectly good song.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 9 2016, 05:30 PM
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#68: Dancing In The Street (with Mick Jagger)



Year of release: 1985
UK Peak: #1
Chart Run: {1-1-1-1-3-7-13-21-30-42-53-74-x3-97-x-84-86} (07/09/1985 - 11/01/1986)

Scores: 9.5 (Joe.), 8 (Taylor Jago), 6 (Severin), 4 (popchartfreak), 3 (Acidburn, Colm), 2 (AH Gold, Fgiboy2511), 1 (richie), -1 (Dandy)
Average: 3.75
Final score: 37.5


Originally conceived as a live duet for the Live Aid concerts, with Bowie performing his half in London and Mick Jagger live from Philadelphia the idea had to be scrapped when it was noted that the half-second delay would make it impossible. Neither was willing to mime their parts and so the decision was made to show it as a video simultaneously in both stadiums.
Whilst Bowie wasin London recording Absolute Beginners (and some great impressions that can be found on youtube) Jagger came by the studio and a rough mix was completed in four hours. The pair then headed out to London Docklands to film the video. The filming was completed just before dawn almost thirteen hours after work on the song began. Minor musical overdubs were completed in New York.
The video was shown twice at Live Aid and the song hit UK #1 and US #7. All proceeds went to the Live Aid charity.


Is this half as good as any of the four other Bowie number ones? No. But is it really worse than the likes of Alabama Song, The Laughing Gnome and Knock On Wood? It's not great, it's not worthy of being a four-week number one, but it's a fun track and the video is really good aswell.
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Joe ho ho!
post Feb 9 2016, 06:02 PM
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Dancing In The Street is a bit of fun! It isn't the artistic Bowie we all know, but I still enjoy it. Haters.
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Severin
post Feb 9 2016, 06:32 PM
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Dancing In The Street is better with the video, as they're obviously having fun but it's a very ordinary cover.

This post has been edited by Severin: Feb 9 2016, 06:33 PM
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Popchartfreak
post Feb 9 2016, 09:34 PM
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Dancing In The Street was a for a great cause, a bit of a laugh, but compared to the Martha & The Vandellas fabulous version it's a bit of a damp squib. I bought it of course, but I don't play it... ohmy.gif
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dandy*
post Feb 9 2016, 10:41 PM
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Two of my -1s out first, excellent taste Buzzjack!
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T83:Y96
post Feb 10 2016, 08:36 AM
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#67: The Laughing Gnome



Year of release: 1967
UK Peak: #6
Chart Run: {42-25-14-8-6-6-8-11-21-28-37-49} (15/07/1973 - 01/12/1973)

Scores: 8 (richie), 6 (Acidburn, Joe.), 5 (popchartfreak, Severin), 2 (Colm), 0 (dandy.), -1 (Taylor Jago)
Average: 3.875
Final score: 38.75


The Laughing Gnome was Bowie’s 4th solo single and hails from his so-called ‘Anthony Newley phase’. In 1966-7 the aforementioned singer was a significant influence on Bowie’s work, and this novelty pop single is the only Bowie song from that era to chart. It did so, only when re-issued in 1973 following the massive success of the Ziggy Stardust album.
Bowie had largely viewed it as an embarrassment but when he began preparations for his 1990 Sound + Vision tour he conceived the idea of fans voting by phone to decide which songs he would play. The NME ran a campaign urging readers to nominate the song and Bowie later admitted he was considering a Velvet Underground style version before he discovered the paper’s plan and scrapped the voting system.


Alright, I lied when I said you wouldn't need any -1s. But I hadn't heard this rubbish at the time, you know. Anyway, it originally (deservedly) flopped, but a re-release in 1973 saw it reach #6 in the UK chart. It was re-released again in 1982, but this time the record buying public had more sense weren't interested and it failed to chart.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 10 2016, 08:53 AM
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#66: Alabama Song



Year of release: 1980
UK Peak: #23
Chart Run: {23-26-24-33-44} (01/03/1980 - 29/03/1980)

Scores: 9 (Fgiboy2511), 8 (Joe.), 7 (Acidburn), 5 (popchartfreak), 4 (Severin), 3 (Colm), 0 (richie, dandy) -1 (Taylor Jago)
Average: 3.89
Final score: 38.89


Bowie’s cover of Bertolt Brecht’s Alabama Song is one of his more unusual single choices. The song had been a frequent appearance on his recent tours, generally being well received and so during a break in schedule the decision was made to book studio time and cut a version for single release. The decision was also made, in part to fulfil his contract with RCA, with whom Bowie was becoming increasingly disillusioned.
Surprisingly, the single achieved a respectable #23 on the UK single charts, in part due to a stripped back re-recording of Space Oddity which was listed on the front cover almost as a double A-side would be.
The single although released in 1980 is often seen as the final statement from ‘70’s Bowie’, as it was recorded in 1978 prior to the Lodger album.


Well this is rather bad I'd say. With terrible key changes, I feel as if this was only ever made and released in order for Bowie to end his contract with RCA as quickly as possible.
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Colm
post Feb 10 2016, 09:47 AM
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Wohooo at Blackstar winning the non-hit rate. It is astonishing.

This post has been edited by Colm: Feb 10 2016, 09:48 AM
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Severin
post Feb 10 2016, 10:56 AM
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Four songs down and they're all standalone singles. All deserve to be near the bottom too
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richie
post Feb 10 2016, 01:05 PM
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Man, no way does The Laughing Gnome deserve to be down there. I like Bowie's Antony Newley phase then, but I've always been a sucker for novelty records.
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Popchartfreak
post Feb 10 2016, 01:56 PM
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The Laughing Gnome was charming - it should be borne in mind that in 1972 it was a big fave on Junior's Choice - yes pre-teens had an actual radio show which was based entirely on listener requests, and it was perfect for that age group. Not exactly aimed at Ziggy fans it was aimed at getting known when he wasn't and kiddie-pop wasn't a dirty notion in those days.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 11 2016, 11:35 AM
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#65: Knock On Wood



Year of release: 1974
UK Peak: #10
Chart Run: {20-17-10-16-25-42}

Scores: 7 (Severin, Acidburn), 6 (Joe.), 4 (richie, Colm), 3.5 (Taylor Jago), 1 (popchartfreak, Dandy)
Average: 4.1875
Final score: 41.875


Recorded during the first leg of the Diamond Dogs tour and taken from his first live album, this cover of Eddie Floyd’s 60s Soul hit would give another hint to Bowie’s upcoming ‘plastic soul’ direction. Despite the singles relative success, reaction to the album was generally negative. Many of the songs had been significantly rearranged and the vocal performance was weak
Mick Jagger referred to Knock On Wood as awful, and suggested that if the Stones got reviews that bad they might never record again.
Bowie himself has criticised much of the album and particularly the cover photograph, stating ‘...it looks like I’ve just stepped out of the grave. That’s actually how I felt. That record should have been called 'David Bowie Is Alive and Well and Living Only in Theory'"


And another song which really isn't very good. How this made the top 10 when much better songs in his discography failed to do so is really annoying. This is just really uninteresting and it definitely deserves its low placing. Although I do think awful might be a bit too harsh (and who's Mick Jagger to criticise anyway? he was involved in T.H.E.)
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T83:Y96
post Feb 11 2016, 11:54 AM
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#64: Arnold Layne (with David Gilmour)



Year of release: 2006
UK Peak: #19
Chart Run: {19-47-74}

Scores: 7 (Acidburn), 6 (popchartfreak, Severin), 5 (Colm), 4 (Taylor Jago), 3 (Joe.), 2 (Dandy)
Average: 4.71
Final score: 47.12


In 2003 Bowie had effectively retired from recording and touring following his ill health. However, he occasionally popped up to perform guest vocals at other people’s shows. Arcade Fire’s version of Life On Mars? Is a particular highlight.
During the former Pink Floyd guitarist’s On An Island shows Bowie did just that, for a version of the old Syd Barrett era classic Arnold Layne. The song is about a transvestite who steals women’s clothes from washing lines.
It would be the 2nd time Bowie had covered a Syd Barrett era Floyd single – See Emily Play appeared on Pin Ups.


At #64 we have not one, but two Davids, on this cover on Pink Floyd's Arnold Wayne, which actually outpeaked the original by one place, before plunging down the chart. Again, I'm not really a fan of this, and I'd say this is a good placing for it.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 14 2016, 02:30 PM
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#63: Survive
(from Hours...)



Year of release: 2000
UK Peak: #28
Chart Run: {28-59} (05/02/2000 - 12/02/2000)

Scores: 8 (Taylor Jago), 6 (Severin), 5 (Joe., Colm), 4 (Acidburn), 3 (popchartfreak, Dandy)
Average: 4.85
Final score: 48.57


Survive was the 2nd single from the album and came out in remixed format. Marius De Vries was given the honour.
The song concerns the musings of a man who accidentally meets up with an old friend or colleague. The man reflects on how they could have been something more if he’d just made the effort and not lived in a dream world. They both know it but she sees him as someone incapable of living in reality. He’s nothing but deluded. He knows how she sees him but remains defiant, repeating how he’ll survive her derision but as the song goes on he becomes less and less convinced.


I quite like this, although it's definitely not the best thing Bowie has done. But it's enjoyable, and there are some tracks which I find inferior later on.


This post has been edited by Taylor Jago: Feb 17 2016, 12:04 PM
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dandy*
post Feb 14 2016, 02:34 PM
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I don't mind survive as such but I don't care for the single version anywhere near as much as the album one.
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T83:Y96
post Feb 14 2016, 02:49 PM
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#62: Baal (EP)



Year of release: 1982
UK Peak: #29
Chart Run: {49-29-33-31-46} (06/03/1982 - 03/04/1982)

Scores: 7 (Joe.), 6 (Severin, Acidburn, Taylor Jago), 5 (Colm), 4 (richie), 3 (popchartfreak), 2 (Dandy)
Average: 4.875
Final score: 48.75


In 1981 David Bowie has been involved in a BBC version of Bertolt Brecht’s play, Baal. Written in 1918 it was the story of a young German man who indulges in numerous sexual escapades and a single murder. The play includes a number of songs which were translated in English and performed for the BBC version by Bowie, who also acted in the title role.
Of the five tracks on the EP it was The Drowned Girl that was single out for promoting the release. A performance of the song was recorded at the same time as the video for previous single; Wild Is The Wind was made. The EP and play were both well received, with the single making an impressive #29 in the charts, considering the unconventional nature of the music. It was also Bowie’s final release o new material on the RCA label with which he’d been since 1971


I can't say I particularly like this, but it's decent enough.
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Severin
post Feb 14 2016, 06:07 PM
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I was really expecting Never Let Me Down or something by Tin Machine next, but these two wouldn't be all that far away.
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