235. soul love

Soul Love is the second of two in a row from 1972’s Ziggy Stardust + The Spiders From Mars, making the list if only because Five Years doesn’t sound quite right without it following immediately afterward. And it’s proof in advertising, a groovy nugget of soul and love, and a solid hint of where the alien Bowie might be headed once he shed his Ziggy skin.

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236. five years

“At first I wasn’t even going to include anything from Ziggy Stardust on this list. It just seemed inconceivable that there was anybody who hadn’t already heard it all perhaps way too many times. But then Five Years popped up on an old mix tape and young Tracy (who isn’t even that young) said, is this John Lennon? Five Years being the 1972 song in which David Bowie accurately predicted the end of the world in 1977. Which I realize is a confusing fact to lay down, particularly to those born since 1977. Just trust me, it’s true. This is not the same world as before. Something very odd happened in 1977 and we’ve all been spinning in weird gravity ever since.” (Philip Random)

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299. nuclear war

“There’s no point in trying to do justice to the universe expanding alien immensity that is the Sun Ra story with a few words. So I won’t bother trying. Just urge you to look into it, please, explore at least some of those extra-stellar regions. As for Nuclear War, I think it speaks well enough for itself. We’re f***ed if we allow for even its possibility in our stratagems. True in 1945, true in 1982, true forever to the ends of the time and space.” (Philip Random)

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396. St. Elmo’s Fire

If nothing else, Brian Eno’s Another Green World has a perfect title. Put it on and you get transported to a very agreeable yet very different place. Alien even. Yet oh so green and achingly beautiful, like a dream, vaguely remembered via odd, mostly pleasant, always strange fragments, with St. Elmo’s Fire an actual pop song easing from the mists halfway through side one, deepening the mystery, because what the hell is St. Emo’s Fire but a mystery?  And there’s a superlative Robert Fripp guitar solo.

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416. cracked actor

David Bowie at his rawest, glammest, most rockingest. The time I him do Cracked Actor live, he sang it to a skull, a cracked actor indeed. Or was he an alien? Aladdin Sane being the last of Ziggy albums that wasn’t all cover tunes. Either way, it was a harder rock than pretty much anyone was delivering at the time, except maybe Iggy and Stooges at the … and almost nobody knew they even existed.” (Philip Random)

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711. Panic in Detroit

“As I remember it, David Bowie hit the suburbs of the Americas in comparatively slow motion. First came Space Oddity (a big deal AM radio hit in early 1973, some three years after it had hit big in the UK), then Ziggy Stardust (various album tracks popping up in the fringes of FM radio), by which point you were starting to see pictures of the guy. Beyond freakish. Which were backed up by the inevitable rumours (that he actually was an alien, that he and Elton John were secretly married). But by the end of the year, all that stuff was settling, and it was the music you couldn’t ignore. So Much Great And Strange Music. Entire albums overflowing with it. So much so that a track like Panic in Detroit didn’t get near the attention it deserved. If only for the riff. You could base a whole genre on that riff. Which, it’s arguable, the Rolling Stones already had. But where the hell were they in 1973?” (Philip Random)

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810. hey baby (the new rising sun)

 

“The rumour I heard when I was maybe fifteen was that Jimi Hendrix was assassinated because of the movie Rainbow Bridge, the song Hey Baby in particular. Because in it, it was revealed that he was in fact an alien intelligence connecting with humanity via invisible currents of feedback, black magic and music, attempting to steer us all in the direction of the New Rising Sun. So Richard Nixon (no friend of outer space) issued an executive order to the CIA. Stop this entity, and with extreme prejudice. Use your best agents. Make it look like a typical rock star overdose.  And while you’re at it, get Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison as well.” (Philip Random)

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