You know “Starman,” “Let's Dance,” “Ziggy Stardust” and all the other big hits from David Bowie’s long career. But what about the less well-known tunes? Music fans in a popular online forum discussed Bowie’s most underrated songs, and these are the tracks you must revisit.
The original forum poster started the debate with this tune. “Stay” is from the 1976 album Station to Station, and while it was released as a single, it’s largely forgotten. Bowie stated that he was aiming for a funkier version of “John, I’m Only Dancing,” and that does come across.
This song from Hunky Dory received several mentions in the discussion and it’s hailed as a fantastic track. “Kooks” was written by David Bowie for his newborn son Duncan, and the words are a lovely welcome to the world.
3. The Prettiest Star
This 1973 song from the Aladdin Sane album features a distinctive guitar solo from a special guest. Marc Bolan from the band T. Rex lends a hand to this track, which, in my view, is one of Bowie’s forgotten classics. The two men were great friends and hearing them together is nice. “The Prettiest Star” is also a poignant song for anyone who has lost someone close.
4. Thursday's Child
A more recent release, “Thursday’s Child,” appears on the Hours album from 1999. One music lover recommended it while claiming that it would have been even better if TLC had supplied the backing vocals as Bowie originally wanted.
5. Big Brother
As the name suggests, this is the artist’s take on a dystopian future for mankind. It was intended to be used in a musical based on George Orwell’s 1984, and one individual makes the bold suggestion that this is David Bowie’s best song ever.
6. Sons of the Silent Age
Respondents who mentioned this song were ironically silent and didn’t suggest why. I guess we’ll have to listen to see if we agree. For reference, “Sons of the Silent Age” appears on the 1977 release Heroes, and Bowie suggested that this track might have been used as the album title.
7. Slow Burn
This is another single release that has gone under the radar since it came out in 2002. “Slow Burn” features the brilliant Pete Townshend on guitar and it remains a hit in the forum. The Who guitarist is praised on this thread for his contribution.
8. Station to Station
The title track of the 1976 album is fondly remembered by many music fans, who are confident that “Station to Station” fits the guidelines of this discussion. One person even suggested that this is one of David Bowie’s best songs.
9. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
A song written from the perspective of murder suspect Leon Blank, “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town” is from the 1995 release Outside. A commenter suggested this is the best track on the album, but another urged us to try other tracks.
10. Drive-In Saturday
While this was a top-three release in the UK, “Drive-In Saturday” gets overlooked in favor of other Bowie hits from the early 1970s. One individual loves the track for its retro science-fiction feel and many music fans still love it.
11. Andy Warhol
While it was intended as a tribute to the great man, it’s said that Andy Warhol himself was not a fan of the track. It appears on the Hunky Dory album and is worth revisiting. One respondent said that it’s a fitting tribute and one of the best songs on the album.
12. Shadow Man
The song from the 2002 album Heathen has an interesting backstory. “Shadow Man” is based on Carl Jung’s theory that we are all shadows, and the lyrics are fascinating. As for the tune, one music lover feels that this reflects the love and peace David Bowie had found at this time.
13. Nite Flights
Cover versions are often overlooked. Bowie was such a brilliant songwriter, so why did he need to record other artists’ tracks? That’s a valid opinion, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t revisit “Nite Flights,” another underrated classic.
14. All the Young Dudes
This is my suggestion, and I would like to see it mentioned in the discussion. David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes” was a hit for Mott the Hoople, credited with saving the band’s career. I personally believe that the subtle inflections are more suited to Bowie’s voice and that his version is a lost classic.
15. Dollar Days
Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, is tough to listen to because some lyrics show he knew he was leaving us. “Dollar Days” is particularly poignant, and one music fan said this is the one that hits them hard. If you’re happy to listen, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Matt is a journalist who began his career writing for print media in the 1990s. After filing cricket reports for local newspapers, he contributed to many periodicals in the spheres of sport, collecting, and food and drink. Having attended hundreds of concerts and sporting events, he now focuses on music as well as sport, and is happy to have lasted through to the digital age.