Poll, Day 1: Somebody Up There Likes Us


To begin, I thought we should honor the songs that, of the 351 songs that placed, only got one single vote.

It’s a motley of: a) Iggy Pop songs, b) Bowie bonus tracks, oddments and rarities, c) Tin Machine stuff, and d) songs sometimes mocked by Bowie fandom and critics (cough). But they all got a vote! Someone thinks enough of each one of these songs to have included them in a list of their top 30 favorite Bowie songs ever.

So, raise a glass to the single-vote songs. Have cheer, lonelyhearts: somebody up there likes you.

Amazing. Amlapura. Atomica. Baby Can Dance. Beat of Your Drum. A Better Future. Betty Wrong. Bleed Like a Craze, Dad. Chilly Down. Ching-a-Ling. Crack City. The Cynic. Dancing Out in Space. Day-In, Day-Out. Did You Ever Have a Dream. Do Anything You Say. Dodo. Don’t Bring Me Down. Don’t Look Down. Fall In Love With Me. Fill Your Heart. Future Legend.

Get Real. God Only Knows. Gunman. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. If I’m Dreaming My Life. Isn’t It Evening (The Revolutionary). I’ve Been Waiting For You. Law (Earthling’s On Fire). Leon Takes Us Outside. Lightning Frightening. The Loneliest Guy. Love Song.

Maid of Bond Street. Man In the Middle. Mass Production. New York Telephone Conversation.* New York’s In Love. Real Cool World. Reflektor.** Running Gun Blues. (She Can) Do That.*** Shining Star (Makin’ My Love). Silver Treetop School for Boys. Success. Tiny Girls. Tired of My Life. Uncle Arthur. Waterloo Sunset. Where Have All the Good Times Gone? Wishful Beginnings. Without You I’m Nothing. Working Class Hero. You Can’t Talk. Zion.

And “Dancing in the Street” got two votes.

*Doesn’t qualify, but meant as a ‘protest’ vote against the cruelty of having to decide which Bowie song should get the #30 slot on a ballot. Hey, I understand.
** Doesn’t technically qualify, but if you love “Reflektor” enough for it to make your top Bowie 30, I’ll record it.
*** Regular readers will likely guess who this voter was.

Next: the almost-theres. Songs 100-51.

Top: a semi-retired gentleman salutes your picks. (“Crack City”? Nice!”)

98 Responses to Poll, Day 1: Somebody Up There Likes Us

  1. Deanna says:

    Though I didn’t vote for it, I’m sad that “The Loneliest Guy” only got one vote. It’s a *good* song from a good album.

    Super pleased to see that “Comversation Piece” got at least two votes.

    Whoever voted for “Wishful Befinninngs” is a person to be feared and respected.

  2. EW says:

    All I can see here is that there might be multiple people out there who voted for Across The Universe.

  3. roobin101 says:

    Future Legend got one vote? I love that song… Why the eff didn’t I vote for it?!?

  4. Galdo says:

    It’s a beautiful homage. Even the direst tracks can move someone in someway. I smiled at (She Can) Do That. A classic.

  5. King of Oblivion says:

    Though I voted for none of these, I’m surprised to realize I quite like a bunch of them!

  6. Ramzi says:

    Even though I didn’t vote for it, very pleased to see Isn’t It Evening get a vote, a great song.

    Also, not so great songs I can’t help but like: (She Can) Do That, Shining Star.

    • ragingglory says:

      I am proud to say I voted for Isn’t it evening! I also have a soft spot for Shining Star too – what can I say I was 17, first girlfriend, summertime…. sigh

  7. None of these are mine, which means (spoilers ahead) at least someone else voted for “As the world falls down”! I love many of these, and “Day-In, Day-Out” almost made it onto my list.

  8. ecsongbysong says:

    It kind of saddens me, to be honest, that I voted for none of these songs — which means I didn’t manage to come up with *even one* track obscure enough that nobody else voted for it. Note to self: next time, stick “I Pray, Ole” or something in at #30.

  9. shoop says:

    oh god, i did two of these.

  10. Abby says:

    I strongly considered “I’ve Been Waiting for You.” I’m glad it made somebody’s list.

  11. For the record, I’m the one who voted for Gunman. Those Belew collaborations don’t get nearly enough love.

  12. MC says:

    The Pinups selections are pretty ace, and would probably be within shouting distance of my top 30. Also, I’m glad somebody voted for these Tin Machine tracks just on principle.

  13. sparkeyes says:

    Either my email didn’t get through or Little Bombadier got more than one vote. How exciting.

  14. Vince says:

    If I hadn’t forgotten I’d have voted for “Bleed Like A Craze, Dad” but that’s probably because I’m obsessed with Sister Midnight. Red Money may well have made it on there too, feel free to judge me

  15. Vince says:

    Also, Wishful Beginnings? Did someone just vote for all of Outside?

    • Anonymous says:

      I included Outside in the album list!

    • Vince says:

      I like “Outside”, it’s probably in my top 5 David Bowie albums. I was just trying to get into the psychology of someone who voted for “Wishful Beginnings. The only alternative to “voting for every song on “Outside” that I can think of is “I am a serial killer and I like songs that are about me”.

      My presumption that someone voted for every song on Outside was really based on the fact that “Leon Takes Us Outside” got one vote too. It’s effectively another segue without the word “segue” in the name or a relevant monologue.

      Saying that, “A Small Plot Of Land” either got two or more votes (which is baffling, at least “WIshful Beginnings” has a mystifying psychological quality) or got no votes (understandable).

      The others on that album either have a joyous 90s quality despite their off-ness (“I Prick You”, or “The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction” which is a genuinely good song despite its off-ness) or are just good songs (Every other actual song on that album, no exceptions).

      The alternative is, of course, that some Shoreditch-based, fedora-clad, sandal-wearing pseudo-hipster voted for 30 Bowie songs he regarded as “Bowie’s least sell-out 30” which presumably accounts for the 2+ votes for “A Small Plot Of Land”, “Too Dizzy” and “Stateside” (if, God forbid, any)

      • Bruised Passivity says:

        Lol, A Small Plot of Land made it into my top 30 as did Outside in the albums section. It actually was the only instrumental that made the cut despite the tough competition. There’s just something in it that grabs my brain. 🙂 For me Wishful Beginnings was a strong contender, so I salute the (possibly twisted?) person who chose it.

      • Dude, I actually love Plot of Land! I didn’t vote for it, but was so close I had to double check before replying. I did vote for The Motel, though, which happens to be my favorite 90s Bowie track. In fact, I think Outside is a slight segue-trimming away from being a bona fide Bowie classic.

  16. fantailfan says:

    For some reason, I am glad to see none of my picks were on the singleton list. My musical taste is deranged after about 1987 (for example, I have all of Shadowfax’s output, but bands I should have been listening to, like Radiohead, are absent). Further, I didn’t start listening to Bowie until ten years ago. There are probably about 60 of his songs I’ve heard no more than three or four times. I wasn’t sure if some of my choices were based on a momentary infatuation.

    • Paul O says:

      I read that list and said: “Whew!”

      (Doesn’t preclude some of my choices–including my #1–getting only two votes, though… We shall see.)

  17. mrbelm says:

    Will there be a list of the songs that received no votes?

    • col1234 says:

      uh, no. i mean, i’ll put out the full list when it’s over & if you want to compile the songs that didn’t make it, feel free!

  18. Bowietie Daddy says:

    I’ve voted for Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)!!! I thought it would have at least 2 votes. Come on, Mickey Rourke, where are you hiding? I love that song, I wasn’t being ironic or anything like that. So sue me, assholes!!! Sorry.

    • col1234 says:

      hey, this isn’t meant to mock people’s votes by any means. more a tribute to individual tastes.

      • Bowietie Daddy says:

        I know, I Know. But it’s hard to come out of the closet and admitting you like stuff like that. I just wanted to clarify that it was a sincere vote.

      • steven says:

        It didn’t make my list but I do love it. You did God’s work pal.

  19. I wouldn’t have voted for any of these, but I’m glad Amlapura and Dodo, two tracks I really like, got votes! Also, Dancing In The Street got two votes? Is it too late to cast negative votes? (I kid, of course, but I consider that particular track the nadir of Bowie’s career)

  20. President Joan says:

    First I was surprised Fill Your Heart only received one vote. But checking out its post now I realize its a cover. I never thought of that. Always thought of It as Bowies. Anyway, great song!

    • Gozomoto says:

      I love it, too. During a rough patch last year, I played it almost daily because it brought a smile and slightly giddy feel to an otherwise unhappy soul, so had it not been a cover, it might have made my top 30 as my guilty pleasure!

    • Sylvia says:

      The lonely soul who voted for Fill Your Heart was actually my girlfriend, who, when I saw her ballot, I mocked for putting it on there. “You’ll be the only one to vote for that,” I said, and lo and behold…

  21. Maj says:

    Wow. Poor A Better Future only got one vote. Nearly two though! Only kicked it off my list at a pretty late stage.
    And thank you to whoever voted for Did You Ever Have a Dream & Ching-a-Ling. I have great affection for both, esp the former; just not enough to put em into top 30. Raising my glass high.

  22. ecsongbysong says:

    It occurs to me to wonder: did none of these receive a #1 vote, since that would mean they effectively got five votes? I guess I’m curious whether anyone named as his or her absolute favorite something that nobody else even put on the list.

  23. Does anyone have a complete list of Bowiesongs ?
    I mean including absolutely everything !
    I wonder ( sometimes ) about how many songs that would be total ?!

  24. I didnt vote, couldnt make up my mind 🙂

  25. BenJ says:

    Huh. Well I don’t see anything here that I voted for, so I guess I’m not as unique as I thought I was. 🙂 or 😦 you decide. I thought I might be the only one who really dug an oddity like “African Night Flight”, and I hadn’t even heard “The Drowned Girl” before Chris linked to it, but neither is on the list.

    I do see “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” as one of the better Pin Ups tracks, although it’s not the one I voted for.

    • ragingglory says:

      Yeah, African Night Flight was on my list too, so you are not alone my friend. Great song, particularly dig the synth wash after the chorus, it used to remind me of Pauls Theme for some reason, which was the B-side to Cat People – which also made my top 30!!! Not the Lets dance version, the good one

      • Michael says:

        I love African Night Flight, although I didn’t vote for it.

        Its manic, wild energy is absorbing. Not listened to it in a while actually, may have to dig it out.

      • Bruised Passivity says:

        African Night Flight was a difficult track to exclude but I had Lodger as a top 5 album choice, so I told myself that was close enough. If we’d gone to top 50 it definitely would have been picked.

      • ragingglory says:

        Embarassing, just realised I was thinking of Nite Flights NOT African Night Flights.

  26. Starperson says:

    This is so much fun, Chris. You’re the best. (I would have gotten lost in spreadsheets after 3 entries.)

  27. col1234 says:

    have to say of all these marvelous one-votes, the one that really amazed me was the vote for “Man in the Middle,” which I think wins the ultra-obscurity award. “Silver Tree Top” too, I guess, though I made more a case for that one in the blog/book.

    • Anonymous says:

      And there’s not a single comment on your entry for “Man in the Middle”–not even from the person who considers it one of his/her favorite top 30 songs!!

    • Steve M. says:

      Well I’ve just listened to Man in the Middle for the first time, and I have to say it’s not too bad!

  28. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    There are a number of songs on this list that I would have liked to include, notably: Betty Wrong -Dodo -Man In The Middle -Running Gun Blues- Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) and the absolutely splendid Zion.

  29. audiophd says:

    Yet another awesome reason to come to this blog. Kudos to the “Leon Takes Us Outside” and “Future Legend” voters (or is it voter?)…love those tracks despite their short length/segue status.

  30. Steve says:

    Has ‘Heat’ from The Next Day been covered in the blog? I can’t seem to find it, but every other track has. Am I being a bit dim, or has it been missed?

    Just asking as if the poll is the end of the blog (up to Blackstar) then just wondering why it was left out. Especially when Atomica (cough) was covered. 🙂

    • col1234 says:

      Heat has not been covered yet.

      Blackstar has played havoc with the closing sequence of the blog. I’m holding off on doing Sue and Tis a Pity until I hear what their new versions sound like, and Heat, which is (spoilers) the end of a trilogy involving Bowie and Scott Walker, needs to wait until, again, I hear all of the Blackstar album.

      so the remaining song entries won’t come until January. and since I had some empty weeks, i decided to move the poll results up.

      hope that’s clear enough.

    • V2David says:

      I put “Heat” in my Top 30. My favorite song off TND. Although I am not expecting to see it on the list…

  31. Steven S says:

    Nice that If I’m Dreaming My Life got a vote. It wasn’t me (I only voted for one post-Scary Monsters song), but if there were a 1981-present poll, that would definitely be on my list. I was surprised by the lukewarm response to the song here (including the comments). Though I didn’t really vote for any later songs, one part of the poll results I’m looking forward to is seeing which ones rank relatively highly.

  32. Wayne Berry says:

    Now i wish i had “Crack City” on my list!

  33. s.t. says:

    Am I really the only person who thinks that Chilly Down is a genius pop song?
    I mean…

    …What’s that over there?!


    • Simon Kaye says:

      No, it was on my list for a while too.

      That said, I’m the guy who voted for Real Cool World, so maybe not the best source of affirmation…

      • fluxkit says:

        I like “Real Cool World.” I have that whole ep of like 40 minutes of remixes of it. But it’s not in my top 30, obviously. I was the “Amlapura” guy.

  34. Anonymous says:

    That put a smile on my face, as it’s a really fascinating list. Several of those one-ers were in the running for me, and there are only two there that I think are truly the dog’s dinner. I have a feeling that I’m going to find that group of lonely songs more fun than the final top 30. It’s certainly more fun than mine. After painstaking pruning I wound up with a fairly vanilla selection.

    It really makes me wish I had included “When I’m Five”, a song that I discovered because of this blog. In the end, when I whittled it down to 31, it was either kick that off or kick “Heroes” off. Don’t get me wrong, “Heroes” is a great song, it’s just that I’ve heard it once too often. It was only after seeing it used so movingly in the finale of “Lazarus” that I realized I’d be daft to give it the boot.

    Although, I’m sure it didn’t need my help; it’s probably going to be win, place, or show.

  35. Bruised Passivity says:

    What an interesting list of single voters. My first reaction when I read them was “okay, my tastes must be more mainstream then I realised”. Now I’m thinking that I’ll compile these songs into a play list an try to hear the greatness that others must have heard. Also, makes for a great excuse to avoid all the x-mas music for the next week! Bah humbug. Lol

  36. NiggyTardust says:

    Chris, can you post which songs got 0?

    I was so close to including Gospel According to Tony Day, but it ended up #35 or so. Did it get any?

  37. gcreptile says:

    Very interesting list. I’ve actually forgotten if one of these resutls are mine (but it could only be Leon takes us outside, and I guess, it wasn’t me). Some of these songs I genuinely regard as good and could accept them in my own list. It’s a testament to Bowie’s legacy that he has more than 30 good songs and that a great song could still miss out on points because it ends up at 31st place in all submitted lists, theoretically…

  38. Bowietie Daddy says:

    By the way, I also voted for Future Legend. Every time I hear that song, it gives me chills. 2 songs in the list.

  39. I must admit, I’m a little sad for Uncle Arthur. It’s one of my favourites from the first album and it almost made my top thirty. For a while I was also determined to find a place for Silver Treetop School For Boys, but it didn’t happen. (Yes, I’ve been on a bit of a 60s Bowie kick lately.)
    Ultimately I didn’t vote for any of these tracks so I’m also looking forward to putting them into a playlist. It looks like there’s at least a few forgotten gems here.

  40. Martin Lightnin Frightenin says:

    Very nearly went for Where Have All the Good Times Gone in my list. Such a wonderful display of Ray Davies’ writing, Ronno’s guitar and I’ve always been partial to Bowie’s wearisome voice on that one. I think it rounds off Pin-ups (an under-rated album) wonderfully.
    But… I pulled it at the last minute. I decided that only one cover version should feature in my list, and so another one just edged it out.

  41. sidthecat says:

    I like ’em all…well, not really, but I can’t make these kind of judgements.

  42. With regards to Leon Takes Us Outside, is it possible the person was voting for the 21 minute ‘Leon’ track of the same name rather than the intro to to Outside? And if so is that any more or less ridiculous?

  43. A FAN in vain! says:

    I can’t believe my second favorite Bowie track Zionsville (I’ve always called it A Lad in Vein from the bootleg I got it from) garnered no other supporters! The piece is a gem of art rock!!!!

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