5 Songs You Didn’t Know David Bowie Wrote For Other Artists


Although David Bowie has had quite the assemblage of collaborations throughout his career – producing Lou Reed’s jaw-dropping Transformer with his Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, writing “Fame” with Lennon, his bohemian rhapsodey duet with Freddie Mercury on “Under Pressure” by Queen, his syndicate Tin Machine, and the production of Trent Reznor on “I’m Afraid of Americans” written by Bowie and Brian Eno – the star man also wrote a number of songs specifically for other artists.

In the early 1970s, Bowie produced Mott the Hoople’s fifth album. All the young guys, also writing the title track, went on to write songs for Ronson’s solo debut, but most of his writing and production work centered around his friend and collaborator Iggy Pop. After the duo’s brief stay in Berlin in 1976, Bowie produced and wrote his own musical trifecta (including Low and Hero) with Pop’s 1977 debut and follow-up thirst for lifeboth released the same year.

Although the amount of songs Bowie has written with and for pop exceeds the number of other collaborations throughout his career, here’s a look at five songs you might not know Bowie wrote for. other artists.

“All the Young Guys”, Mott the Hoople (1972)
Written by David Bowie

While producing Mott the Hoople‘s fifth album All the young guys, Bowie also wrote the title track. Bowie ended up writing “All the Young Dudes” in Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter’s apartment after the band turned down the first song he offered them – “Suffragette City”. The song, considered a glam rock anthem, went to No. 3 in the UK, made its wave internationally and hit the Top 40 in the US. In 1972 Bowie also recorded his own version of the song during the sane aladdin sessions but did not release it until its 1995 compilation Rare Stone Bowie.

“I’m Growing Up and I’m Fine”, Mick Ronson (1974)
Written by David Bowie

Then guitarist for David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars, when Mick Ronson released his debut in 1974 Massacre on 10th Avenue Bowie wrote three songs on the album, including “Growing Up and I’m Fine”, as well as “Pleasure Man / Hey Ma Get Papa”, co-written with Ronson and Scott Richardson, and English lyrics to “Music is Lethal”. by Lucio Battisti.

“The Golden Years”, David Bowie (1976)
Written by David Bowie

Even though Bowie recorded “Golden Years” for his 1976 album From station to station, the song was never intended for him. He originally wrote it for Elvis Presley. “There were discussions between our offices about me being introduced to Elvis and maybe starting to work with him as a production scriptwriter, but that never materialized,” Bowie said. “I would have loved to work with him. God, I would have loved him. Presley sent a note to Bowie. ‘All the best,’ he said, ‘and happy touring.’

“Nightclub”, Iggy Pop (1977)
Written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop

In 1976, Bowie and Pop decided to move to Berlin for the sake of sobriety. Pop had just parted ways with the Stooges two years earlier and Bowie had released his 10th album From station to station. In Germany, Bowie was writing his own “Berlin Trilogy” – releases from 1977 Low and Hero, and Tenantreleased in 1979 – and around this time he also wrote songs for Pop’s debut, The idiotAnd subsequent thirst for lifeboth released in 1977. Produced by Bowie, The idiot boasted of a new pop with the heady ‘Funtime’ and ‘China Girl’, which would later achieve hit status when Bowie recorded it for his 1983 album let’s dance.

Although “China Girl” eventually peaked on Bowie’s charts, “Nightclubbing” was a standout track for Pop and covered by multiple artists. Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” cutlery and also used it as the title of his fifth album in 1981, and the song has also been covered by bands like The Human League, sampled on Oasis’ “Force of Nature”, and has even been performed by Peter Murphy and Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jeordie White. “Nightclubbing” was also featured along with “Lust for Life” in the 1996 film’s soundtrack Trainspotting.

“Want to Live”, Iggy Pop (1977)
Written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop

Writing all but Ricky Gardiner-penned “The Passenger” and Pop’s “Sixteen,” Bowie wrote and co-wrote seven of Pop’s 1977’s nine tracks. thirst for lifeincluding “Tonight”, which Bowie later recorded with Tina Turner, and one of Pop’s biggest hits “Lust for Life”. Originally written on the ukulele with Pop, the recorded version of “Lust for Life” erupts to the beat of Hunt Sales’ drums.

The title taken from the 1956 film of the same name directed by Vincent Minnelli covering the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh and starring Kirk Douglas, “Lust for Life” refers to William S. Burroughs’ 1962 novel “The Ticket That Exploded”—Here comes Johnny Yen again… Yeah, something called love / Well, that’s like hypnotizing chickens. While upbeat, “Lust for Life” also captures the proclivity and chaos of addiction.

I’m worth a million in prizes
With my torture movie, drive a GTO
Wear a uniform with a government loan
I’m worth a million in prizes
Yeah, I’m done sleeping on the sidewalk
No more breaking my head
No more breaking my head
With alcohol and drugs
With alcohol and drugs

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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