1. Time for some upgrades in server hardware and software to enhance security and take AK to the next level. Please contribute what you can to sales@audiokarma.org at PayPal.com - Thanks from the AK Team
    Dismiss Notice

The Unusual Evolution of David Bowie's Music

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Natasha Bell, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Natasha Bell

    Natasha Bell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    Vicksburg, MS
    I was having a discussion with a friend here on AK, and David Bowie came up. I have always been a bit puzzled by the radical shifts, followed by long stretches of tranquility, in his music. What do you think? Have you noticed similar?

    First era (1966 to 1971):
    Starting with his self-titled: David Bowie (recorded in late 1966 I believe), and hitting its stride with Space Oddity (1969). Then "the long tranquility" Man Who Sold the World (1970), Hunky Dory (1971)

    Transitional CD/album:
    Ziggy Stardust (1972). This combines elements of the "first era" and "second era", which is rather different in my view.

    Second era (1973 to 1979):
    Aladdin Sane (early 1973), Pin-ups (late 1973), Diamond Dogs (early 1974), Young Americans (1975), Station to Station (1976. This CD/Album strayed a bit into the style of the "first era"), Low (early 1977), Heroes (late 1977, this CD/Album is musically similar to Aladdin Sane of four years earlier and a good bit different than "Low" released earlier that year), and Lodger (mid 1979, and stylishly more consistent with Young Americans of 1976)

    Transitional CD/album:
    Scary Monsters (1980). This I find some aspects very similar in style to Station to Station (1976) and Heroes (1977), but also to the later "Lets Dance" of 1983

    Third era (and my absolute favorite): 1983
    Lets Dance (1983) is the only CD/album in this era. Which is a shame as I really love the sound. Perhaps it was a reflection of the times, events, and an evolution of the recording technology than had existed prior. China Girl, Lets Dance, and Putting out Fire, really speak to me (and have for a long time). Criminal World is also a great track.

    ---------
    No transitional CD/album

    I think this ended the 1st epoch on David Bowie's career (1966-1983). The CD's that were released later, sounded very much like the upcoming "Tin Machine" era, and not really that much like the "Bowie" sound.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2018
    Wildcat, restorer-john and GChief like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,724
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    How could he go wrong with SRV laying down the licks in your favorite era. Concerning the radical shifts IMHO they are artists and I like the change even if it’s not my thing.

    :beerchug:
     
    stish, satellite and Natasha Bell like this.
  3. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,836
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Props on your analysis. I think I preferred the first era.
    Maybe because of the later radio saturation and MTV and VH1 play.
    Very talented artist in any event. Cheers
     
    stish and Natasha Bell like this.
  4. OfficeMax

    OfficeMax Member

    Messages:
    80
    There was a decent documentary on Mick Ronson that really chronicled his impact on Bowies music. It is worth checking out.
     
    stish and Natasha Bell like this.
  5. Natasha Bell

    Natasha Bell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    Vicksburg, MS
    Thank you!! :biggrin: I did not know that. I will look for it.
     
    OfficeMax likes this.
  6. Lumpy Waters

    Lumpy Waters Member

    Messages:
    56
    Every time I listen to Bowie, regardless of the era, I find myself marveling at his genius. Even his most crappy output is really quite good taken in context with the work of his contemporaneous peers. I have never thought of his music in terms of a first and second epoch. One of my most favorite Bowie albums is the industrial and electronica flavored Earthling from '97. I didn't like it at first, it didn't sound like "classic Bowie", so I put it away after first listen and then rediscovered it a few years later when it dovetailed more readily with the other music I was listening to at the time. Bowie was one of the the few artists whose work spanned decades, constantly evolved and never stagnated
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. Natasha Bell

    Natasha Bell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    Vicksburg, MS
    I so agree that he never stagnated and evolved. I think the term "re-invented" himself is actually more fitting. As a long time Bowie fan, I only came to the realization of the "epoch" about 2 years or so ago, right after his untimely passing. The further subdivision into "eras", came after a listening binge of like 8 hours earlier this summer. :)
     
    Lumpy Waters likes this.
  8. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8642 Subscriber

    Happens to a lot of artists though. The more accepted he becomes, the more experimental. Beatles is another example of the era ... compare their early work to where they ended up.

    IMHO ... Bowie saved his best for his last. Interesting story behind Black Star. Short version, he had the material and asked a local jazz band he liked ... hey, you wanna make an album? ... rest is history.
     
    stish, Grenadeslio and Natasha Bell like this.
  9. No Money

    No Money AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,211
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Plus one on the Mick Robson documentary. The contribution he made to Bowie's sound was immense.
     
    stish and Natasha Bell like this.
  10. elcoholic

    elcoholic Jet Fuel Genius Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,931
    Location:
    Fountain Valley, CA
    Bowie didn’t change styles or go through phases so much as he developed a new and unique persona capable of doing what he nor anyone else had done before. Much deeper than most.
     
    Grenadeslio and Natasha Bell like this.
  11. theophile

    theophile Pheasant Plucker. Subscriber

    I would put David Bowie's musical evolution down to the fact that he had a deep appreciation of other people's musical vision. He wasn't scared to collaborate with others and take their input and incorporate it within whatever project he was currently working on. This essentially was the evolution of 'Bowie's' music. It also shows that he was not a tyranical musical dictator. He was prefered Musical Democracy(not refering to politics here). I would put his collaboration with Brian Eno in a separate category.

    When I first started buying my own albums I bought three: Osibisa Woyaya, Carlos Santana/John Mc Laughlin Love, Devotion, Surrender and Lou Reed Transformer. Bowie and Ronson took Reed's raw material( which was basically Reed playing the songs on acoustic guitar with no arrangements) and 'transformed' it (pun intended) into the polished gem that it is.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. spicer

    spicer Super Member

    Messages:
    1,050
    I liked the Pin-ups album. My favorite song on it is Sorrow... thought he handled it masterfully.
     
    elcoholic likes this.
  13. tubed

    tubed Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,209
    Location:
    Aztlan
    Bowie was my favorite.
    He went through changes like no other.
    That said, I'll always prefer rocker David over pop star David.

     
    gmc and Natasha Bell like this.
  14. jazzmans

    jazzmans Super Member

    Messages:
    2,264
    Location:
    devils playground, NV
    Black Star is amazing. It's a stuning finale to an amazing body of Sound/Vision

    I grew up on Bowie, when I first started listening to pop music at 13, Let's Dance was his latest album.

    It's funny, Bowie's album Low was what got me into Brian Eno.
     
    Natasha Bell likes this.
  15. theophile

    theophile Pheasant Plucker. Subscriber

    Low probably introduced hundreds of millions to Eno's music. Such was Bowie's fame and Eno's relative obscurity. Actually it was Bowie's collaboration with Eno on Low which convinced me of Bowie's greatness. As I said, I already knew of Bowie's hits and loved his contribution to Reed's Transformer, but the fact that Bowie allowed Eno to take his music in another direction convinced me that Bowie had an ability to recognise greatness in even unconventional musical ideas.
     
  16. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,336
    Location:
    SE Alaska
    Kind of new to David Bowie, don't know why now and not 40 years ago like everyone else. A couple favorite LPs (yes my DB are on vinyl thus far) are Tonight, and Never Let Me Down. What else is good? Looking to expand my DB collection!
     
    tubed likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. tubed

    tubed Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,209
    Location:
    Aztlan
    Cover Bowie

     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
    Alobar likes this.
  18. tubed

    tubed Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,209
    Location:
    Aztlan
    Ziggy
     
    WillVT and Alobar like this.
  19. theophile

    theophile Pheasant Plucker. Subscriber

    Given that Bowie's music went through so many Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, what appeals to one person who likes one period of Bowie's music, may not appeal to that same person when they listen to a different Bowie period.
     
    Natasha Bell and elcoholic like this.
  20. tubed

    tubed Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    15,209
    Location:
    Aztlan
    Eno's work with Roxy Music turned me on to Eno.
     
    gmc, sfox52 and xrayspex77 like this.

Share This Page