Playlist: 35 Essential David Bowie Tracks
David Bowie passed away on Sunday (January 10) after an 18 months-long battle with cancer. News of his death saddened fans, but many were shocked as well— and not just because he’d released his 25th studio album, Blackstar, this past Friday on his 69th birthday. It was equally jarring because he’d embodied larger-than-life characters for most of his richly varied career, and we may have thought him invincible.
As he rose to fame with “Space Oddity” in 1969, Bowie cast himself as an otherworldly being in several incarnations lasting well into the ’70s: He was a rock star with a message from the cosmos, a “Starman,” The Man Who Fell To Earth. He gave voice to Major Tom, a junkie astronaut adrift in space. In the mid-70’s he reinvented himself at the Thin White Duke, a white-clad specter who, as Bowie himself famously said, lived on “red peppers, cocaine, and milk.” A few years later in 1986, he’d become the spooky-if-more-kid-friendly Jareth the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. These were but a few of his many metamorphoses, as illustrated above in a viral GIF by artist Helen Green that she created last year for his 68th birthday.
Every Bowie fan may be partial to a certain era. But there’s gems to be found in every corner of his massive catalog, from the dandy-ish “I Dig Everything,” recorded as a demo in 1966, to the gothic, Giorgio Moroder-produced “Cat People [Putting Out Fire]” from the horror film of the same name. Hear 35 of his standout tracks in the Apple Music playlist below — and if you’ve got any memories of Bowie’s musical impact on your life, share them in the comments.
David Bowie’s Albums, Ranked