David Bowie Songs Ranked

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (/ˈboʊi/ BOH-ee),was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold, and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Rolling Stone placed him among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and following his death in 2016, Bowie was dubbed “The Greatest Rock Star Ever” by the magazine. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance; the album’s title track topped both UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He also continued acting; his roles included Major Jack Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer at his home in New York City, two days after his 69th birthday, and the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016). Here are all David Bowie songs ranked.

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20. China Girl ( Let’s Dance, 1983)

“Best David Bowie song besides Under Pressure, (yes, I am a Queen fan.) I love the line “When I get excited, my little China girl says, oh baby, why don’t you just shut your mouth.”

19. Lazarus (Blackstar, 2016)

“I still don’t know where he has taken the power to write, play and record this song. Great sax. It still brings me to tears when I see the video. I saw the musical in London, so this song has a special meaning to me.”

18. Blackstar (Blackstar, 2016)

“Such an amazing, timeless song – the best thing he’s written for decades! Lots of people don’t like it because it’s so different to anything else… well ever.”

17. Five Years (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972)

“I’m not one for songs like this; sad ones, I mean. However, “Five Years” is raw emotion thrown right at you. It’s chaotic. It’s saddening. And, hell, it’s a masterpiece. Lyrics and Bowie’s classic voice make this a song I’ll never forget. Very underrated.”

16. Suffragette City (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972)

“Now don’t lean on me man Cause you can’t afford the ticket, I’m back from Suffragette City! Now don’t lean on me man. Cause you ain’t got time to check it You know my Suffragette City Is out of sight… She’s alright”

15. Fame (Young Americans, 1975)

“Just because he wrote it with John Lennon and it’s one of his most popular doesn’t mean it’s one of his top 10 best. Really all this song is is a funky best with some lyrics.”

14. Modern Love (Let’s Dance, 1983)

“Mid-80’s upbeat pop song, his most mainstream sounding “generic” pop style, song which is why Bowie said it was one of his least favourite songs, as it was one of his least creative. Yet it’s still good! Genius”

13. Rebel Rebel (Diamond Dogs, 1974)

“Playfully braiding themes of sexual freedom, the generation gap and androgyny with his ‘is he or isn’t he’ lyrics, Bowie postures like a young Roger Daltrey and rocks like Joan Jett (both compliments) in his guitar-driven rock anthem that has given courage to many to dress – and act -how they please.”

12. Moonage Daydream (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972)

“He looks so gorgeous in the white jeans and no top and his moves voice are mesmerizing love that song. The music is like barbed wire wrapped around a bouquet of lyrical flowers.”

11. Let’s Dance (Let’s Dance, 1983)

“A true masterpiece of the 80s, created by a guy from the seventies. He just wanted to prove a point to all of the hollow disco electro scene that he can do it better and deeper, and he did!”

10. Rock n’ Roll Suicide (What We Do Is Secret, 1972)

“This has got to be Bowie at his best. You can feel his heart and soul going into it from the first word to the last. Even though he has a long list of incredible songs, this is one of the few that manages to give me goosebumps every time I hear it, and I love it! The raw power and emotion of his voice is given off here more than any other song of his, so the fact that this is not even in the top 10 and it’s my favourite of his, it has to have my vote. I’d also like to mention ‘Fascination’ from the ‘Young Americans’ album which is also amazing, yet not even on this list full stop.”

9. The Man Who Sold the World (The Man Who Sold the World, 1970)

“This song is so… haunting. The lyrics are crazy and the way they change the vocals are incredible. The instrumentals truly are something they must have thought about before doing, and the plot of the song is just so… haunting. It’s all haunting. Listen to this by yourself. You won’t regret it!”

8. Ashes to Ashes (Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), 1980)

“Song to be remembered from the first listening. Unique and atmospheric. And the way Bowie crushed the legend he did create – no one ever did that, at least not in such painful way.”

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7. Ziggy Stardust (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972)

“I like pretty much every Bowie song, but ultimately this one stands out in my mind. Not only that, but thanks to this song and its correlating album, Ziggy Stardust is a household name.”

6. Under Pressure (Greatest Hits, 1981)

“Even just the bassline from this song was enough to give Vanilla Ice a hit when he stole it, and that was Vanilla Ice’s only hit song. The epicness of Freddie and David’s improvisations (those “um dum the de” etc started in a jam session) creates enough power for the buildings in the music video to rise up again.”

5. Starman (Music Based by the Film & Book Soundtrack: The Martian, 2015)

“One of those rare songs, along with the Gravity Falls theme, that I don’t believe I will ever get sick of. It’s so hopeful and comforting and groovy.”

4. Changes (Hunky Dory, 1971)

“I would label this as Bowie’s signature tune because the lyrics describe everything that Bowie was all about.The words and the way he sings this song makes it my favorite.”

3. Heroes (“Heroes”, 1977)

“Such a haunting, chilling song. I knew from first listen that it was about the Berlin Wall, but I later realized it was much deeper than that, it was raw emotion, it was his heart and soul poured out onto a paper with lyrics.”

2. Life on Mars? (Hunky Dory, 1971)

“This song…it’s so beautiful! It’s got so much power in it, so much emotion, so much…it’s so amazing. How can you not just have a child inside that doesn’t soften like butter upon hearing the chorus of this masterpiece? Rest in peace, David Bowie, you were so awesome!”

1. Space Oddity (David Bowie, 1969)

“I refer to the studio version of 1969: this is his first success, and although I have a deep knowledge of his whole production, I can hardly find other Bowie’s songs with such a wonderful melody and perfect vocal performance. Differently from all of the songs contained in the next albums until the Berlin trilogy, in my opinion this is the only Bowie’s song which does not feel the weight of time.”