David Bowie passed away on the 10th of January, 2016 at the age of 69. He was an ageless musical icon and an innovator during much of the 1970s. His songs during this era, including the much beloved “Heroes” and his career spanned 5 decades. In fact, his last album was released just 2 days before his passing.
But for many of us who grew up in the 1980s, he was a cool Brit who produced some of the most compelling songs of the decade. Here are some essential David Bowie hits of the 1980s:
- Under Pressure. This is Bowie’s one-off duet with Queen, and it became the third UK #1 hit single of his career. You can’t go wrong when legends collaborate, and the song’s bass line is unforgettable. Released in 1981, it would later become notorious as the foundation for “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Still, this is one of the iconic Queen songs, and Bowie was credited with much of lyrics. Queen member Brian May also credits the bass line to Bowie.
- Let’s Dance. This song brought Bowie to new heights of popularity in 1983, especially in the US. Its video was memorable as it featured a young Aborigine couple, but even just hearing the song over the radio imbedded it in your memory. It was a danceable tune, and Bowie’s voice and phrasing is truly impeccable. And legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn even did a guest solo.
- Modern Love. It’s another dance tune that’s hard to ignore. Underneath, it’s a dig at the hollow charm so ubiquitous during much of the era. Still, that guitar in the beginning followed by the thumping drums really got your feet up on the dance floor.
- Ashes to Ashes. This was another UK #1 hit for Bowie back in 1980, and it was a return to Major Tom of Space Oddity of the previous decade.
- Dancing in the Street. This is another collaborative song, as this funky dance number was made with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. In case you didn’t hear, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie alleged that she caught him in bed with Mick Jagger when they were married (they divorced in 1980).
- China Girl. This was part of the Let’s Dance album, and it came with a provocative video that made it very popular on MTV.
- Blue Jean. This was part of the 1984 album Tonight. It also spawned a short film for which Bowie won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video. It was a Top Ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Absolute Beginners. The movie may have been a bust, but this song ruled in 1986.
- This Is Not America. This was written for the movie “The Falcon and the Snowman” and it was also a Top 40 hit in both the US and the UK. Bowie worked with the Pat Metheny Group to create this song.
- Cat People (Putting Out Fire). This song promoted the movie, and it achieved fame in its own right.
Download these songs now, and get a chance to see why David Bowie is remembered fondly by many of us who were teens during the 1980s.