After an 18-month battle with cancer, singer, actor and all around rock star David Bowie died Sunday. In the wake of his passing, fans everywhere now have only the works created during the singer’s nearly five decade-long career to remember him.
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” a statement posted to the singer’s official Facebook account reads.
While the statement calls for fans of the artist to respect the privacy of his family during what is likely a very difficult time for them, it also acknowledges that the death of Bowie will be shared by the countless cadre of fans he’d accumulated throughout the years. To help fans that want to share their favorite David Bowie hit, or for new listeners attempting to educate themselves on the artist, below is a rundown of just some of his best hits.
You really can’t go wrong listening to anything off of Bowie’s high-concept 1972 album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The album introduced the concept of an album telling a single story, and in this case, it was about an alien that comes to earth with news that the planet will end in five years. While it would be easy for the album to be about the worst of humanity and its deserved end, “Starman” was meant as a beacon of hope for those listening, which the artist told Rolling Stone in 1973 was all a part of the plan.
This song, which introduced the character astronaut Major Tom and his out of control journey in outer space, has proliferated pop culture since its release in 1969. While the song tells a remarkable story, it also has the good fortune of being Bowie’s first No. 5 chart hit in the U.K. He would later go on to hold many more top 10 positions throughout his career both in the U.K. and U.S.
This is one of Bowie’s first No. 1 hits in the United States. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the song was a product of the artist’s obsession with the dance and funk sounds of Philadelphia. The new sound manifested itself in the “Young Americans” album, which peaked at No. 9 thanks to “Fame, which he co-wrote with “The Beatles” star John Lennon and guitarist Carlos Alomar.
This 1983 single marked the second of Bowie’s No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The singer also made it on the cover of TIME in the same year.
“Bowie made some of the most adventurous rock of the past decade,” the magazine wrote at the time. “When it did hit, which was most of the time, it laid down rules that set new marks for others to follow.”
“Dancing In The Street”
Although the music video wasn’t exactly a fan favorite, it’s almost impossible to discuss the works of David Bowie without talking about his infamous collaboration with The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger in 1985. The two created the duet as a charitable song for Live Aid and performed it several times together after it became a smash hit and was released as a single.
The single ended up being the final presentation from the late 69-year-old artist. Released on his birthday, Jan. 8, the song is now remembered as the final bow for the artist who spent nearly 40 years innovating, creating and pushing the boundaries of what an artist can be. The song is unique and not your typical installment in the rock and roll genre, which is exactly what the artist often shot for in his work.
As previously mentioned, the above selection are just a few of Bowie’s greatest or most popular hits, but the list goes on and on. Honorable mentions of noteworthy songs include: “Ashes to Ashes,” “Changes,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” “Young Americans” and “Heroes.” To check out more of Bowie’s large body of work, you can listen to Spotify's playlist below: