David Bowie, song by song, in rough chronological order, with exceptions.

“Pushing Ahead of the Dame” is written by Chris O’Leary. Contact: bowiesongs@gmail.com.

Recording and release dates mentioned are typically from Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie and/or Kevin Cann’s Chronology and Any Day Now. The Illustrated DB Discography is another essential resource.

“Pushing Ahead of the Dame” is available in expanded book form via Zero Books and Repeater Books. More on the first volume, Rebel Rebel, can be found in its section. The second and final volume, Ashes to Ashes, was published in February 2019.

179 Responses to About

  1. John Larkin says:

    An excellent site and excellent insights. This is a most enjoyable read. I look forward to new posts.

  2. Angie says:

    Just wanted you to know that I am loving “Pushing Ahead of the Dame.” Thanks so much!

  3. Scott says:

    Thanks for this one – from one kook to another..
    Your site is one of the prettiest stars in the astronet.

  4. Max says:

    Chris, thank you immensely for better aquainting me with these songs that I love. And for explaining so well all the reasons why I love them. You’re brilliant.

  5. J. says:

    Great writing and wit.

    ”Seize the Day”
    [audio src="http://www.lowartmusic.com/mp3/ultravioleteye/EthanHawk/08%20Sieze%20the%20Day.mp3" /]

  6. stefano galli says:

    Well, an excellent site I discovered my mere chance.
    In my opinion intelligent music contributes to people culture because they search, they find and they read further and listen further(at least that’s my story: I started with punk rock in 1977 and then moved and moved and moved)and watch further …
    Really a work of love and intelligence; the pictures are very interesting too.

    You might want to send an e-message to people when you update the website? Feel free to do so with me.

    ALl the best and good work.

    Stefano, Milano, Italy

  7. delila black says:

    This site thrills me! Please send me updates.

    Also, I would very much like to read your take on “Teenage Wildlife”.

    This site is wonderful!!

  8. Dorothy Morrison says:


  9. ed crane says:

    i don’t understand why you haven’t talked about tin machine yet. i want to know why their live cd didn’t have more trax from the second tin machine album, tin machine II.

  10. Iain Archie says:

    It feels like end of Empire.
    But you have shone so very very brightly.
    & You have guided me back home…

    Thank you

  11. EGNEP says:

    Only recently found site googling “Metrobolist”.
    I like it lots. Good luck with blog-to-book process!

  12. Jasper says:

    I’m so happy that I found your blog, you are doing a job, I keep pulling out records to hear wile reading.
    You have covered the first of my 3 favorite Bowie records, Station to Station, I look very much forward to you dealing with Low and Heroes

  13. Per Nilsen says:

    It was amazing to find this website. You’re doing a phenomenal job, very, very impressive. You probably already have it, but check Any Day Now for further details on recording dates, origins of songs, etc.


    • col1234 says:

      Any Day Now is excellent—it’s the gold standard of Bowie reference books (unfortunately only goes to ’74, though).

  14. Jeremy Earl says:

    Hey Pushing Ahead of the Dame big daddy, Toy has leaked (if you didn’t already know!) Do a search or go to


    and download it, ready for when you need to review it (in the 60’s or 2000/2001?)

    Also, I’ve wondered why in your past posts why you haven’t written about a lot of Bowie’s great unreleased tracks, like Rupert the Riley plus many more, whilst you have done so for others, like Tired of my life and Shadowman. Is it because you haven’t heard them? Do you want to if that’s the reason? – or is it legal reasons?

    • col1234 says:

      I did hit “Rupert the Riley,” which is one of my fave outtakes! It’s somewhere in the grab-all categories, like Early RCA Years or Philips/Merc years.

      I likely have missed a couple outtakes due to not hearing ’em (like “C’est La Vie”, from 1967, which I only heard a couple weeks ago–it’ll be in the book.)

      • Jeremy Earl says:

        That’s strange – I had a real good look and couldn’t find stuff like that, hmmm, I’m I missing something? Rupert is one of my faves too, as is Right on Mother. Did you do that? Am I missing that as well? Have to go back and look. Also what about the Arnold Corns stuff?

        I’m not hassling you BTW, just curious….

      • Brendan O'Lear says:

        Thanks for the “C’est La Vie” link. Not heard that one before. I’m sure you’ve spotted it, but there’s a lot of ‘Shadowman’ in there, isn’t there.

  15. Jeremy Earl says:

    BTW – never heard of C’est La Vie!!! Wow – thought I knew them all….

    • col1234 says:

      Yeah, it just leaked. Very sweet song. Is something up in the Bowie organization? Bit weird that this song, and Toy came out in the same month, esp. as DB’s been very good at keeping a lid on studio boots:

      Use the search box above the archives, and put titles in quotes. That should get them (“right on mother,” “miss peculiar,” “looking for a friend” etc.). Arnold Corns stuff is part of the Ziggy entries for “Moonage” and “Hang Onto Yourself”–

      • Jeremy Earl says:

        Great – thanks! Also I saw where I was going wrong. When I clicked on say 71 to 73 RCA I saw the end page of that era, not noticing the “previous post” link right at the bottom….Look forward to reading the rest.

        Congratulations this blog by the way – great idea and I’m glad I lucked on it – never get sick of reading about Bowie….

  16. Purple Jim says:

    Wow. What a brilliant site this is. It will be a pleasure to read through it all. Good job!!!

  17. Tremendous effort. Kudos.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A truly terrific blog, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve got a publishing deal lined up.

    Your criticism reminds me a bit of Ian McDonald. Was he an influence (I can think of no better)?

    • col1234 says:

      Hi, thanks! Yes, McDonald’s “Revolution in the Head” was a primary inspiration for doing this (including the chronological-by-recording scheme), and hopefully I’ve credited him enough (and Nicholas Pegg) over the course of this thing.

  19. Joe the Lion says:

    Just in case you didn’t know – you’ve been namechecked in an Uncut magazine Bowie special.

    “Best of all, though, is Queen Bitch: as Chris O’Leary of online blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame puts it, ‘Not so much an imitation of the VU as much as an utter annexation of their sound’.”

    I’ve been reading your blog since the Guardian pointed it up in their Guide, back when you were covering Diamond Dogs. It’s just a shame that the end will eventually be reached!

  20. Once more I say: great job.

    I am glad as well that you will publish in print your work (hopefully with illustrations?).

    I have a blog (in Italian, but topics are not that much Italian) and I will add your blog – more a website indeed – to my list.

    How will we know when you will publish?

    By the way, I believe Any Day Now will have a following, sometimes.
    Pity the promised bio by Tony DeFries looks almost vanished.

  21. Merav says:

    This blog is one of my faves! I’ve just finished Buckley’s “Strange Fascination” and am now starting Trynka’s “Starman”, but you know how it is… us Bowieites just can’t get enough of our man 🙂

    Looking forward to your book… and I think the name is perfect (unless you’re concerned about angering DB)

  22. J.D. says:

    “the book will have a better title”

    Nothing at all wrong with PAOTHD .. (why isn’t it dameS) … but some ideas for the eventual book title …

    “A Crash Course For The Ravers”
    “Undetected By The Stars”
    “I Am What I Play”

    …. are reasonable, but my vote is:

    “Stuck On My Eyes” …

    Anyone else ?


  23. Hello,
    I see you did not reply to me, but you checked my blog:

    So thanks anyway.

    I am not a fan of pun titles at any price (especially considering that it IS a common practice when naming a book about DB or his work), hence to me even if you decide for “The annotated and illustrated David Bowie songbook” it will be fine.

    Alternatively you might find a good title through any of the books which inspired DB.



    • col1234 says:

      hey stefano—

      no solid idea when the book will be ready yet (still trying to get it done this winter) but will let you (& everyone else obvs) know when I know more. It’s been a bit of a rough six months, financially, and I need to do other work that actually pays bills, that sort of thing.

      & again, don’t know what the title will be yet.

  24. Liz says:

    This is the most incredible site – thank you. Thought I knew everything there was to know about David Bowie but how wrong I was. I love the detail and the humour. I promise to buy it in book form. Liz

  25. Anonymous says:

    I love this blog, -navigation can be a little tiresome but fortuitous as well. I am reading the bio “The Man Who sold the…” and although enjoyable he sometimes doesn’t get to the essence, -this blog hits mostly the bullseye.

    thought: Soundwise Station2Station is (IMO) more like Young americains than “Low” & “Heroes” (but I see it often considered Berlinesque, rather than Soulesque(

    2nd Thought: don’t publish yet.

    3rd Thought: I wanted to be sick and felt betrayed on hearing “China Girl” on Tonight, -even to this day the change up to the guitar: DaaaDa DaaaDa DaDaDa DaaaDa on “the Idiot” makes me Flow My Tears……… thus “Tonight” my last Bowie record

    good job

  26. J.D. says:

    Thanks again for the site, and as if there isn’t enough here, a request for more…..
    Could you possibly include the Santa Monica 72 recording, but in full as it’s own entity, a full album ? Probably the best concert record of that DB era, finally released in all countries as a legitimate live-album, and squarely centered in the Ziggy period, which of course was pretty brief, looking back… Many would call this the closest thing to going to a Ziggy Stardust concert (and minus the drama, missed cues,and overall loopiness of the filmed DAPennebaker ‘farewell’).

    Oh, and as if you don’t have enough to do, and since the “imagine” entry kind of brought it to mind …. I’d think the major Bowie-authored tracks– “Growing Up And I’m Fine” for example— that show up on other records,eg Iggy, Ronson, others — would be fair game for individual entries … perhaps ?
    cheers, J.

    • col1234 says:


      thanks. those songs you mentioned have, for the most part, their own entries (the Ronson stuff is all one entry) already! I know the search function is not the best on this site, but if you put in a song title in quotes in the search box, you’ll likely find it quickly.

      having the santa monica show, great as it is, as a separate album just doesn’t work for the song-by-song format. Instead i reference any particularly good live versions of various songs in their own entries—


  27. J.D. says:

    Aha. Just found the ronson+ page. Nice. Great photo, too (which if I recall one of the books has captioned something like “british rail entrée & two veg”).

    Too bad the SM72 can’t have it’s own general over-arching entry; think we’d love to hear your take on the overall vibe. It always felt like DB was performing, not only to the faithful cultmembers at the other end of the world, but to the shocked children of the wild-west hippie/surfer dream. And he knew it well, and you can almost feel the glee in scandalizing them… and their acceptance.
    Along with that lobster tail … there’s some kind of reciprocated shock/fascination going on, and : the spiders are tight & light on their many feet.

    I do think it will be treated to its own place in any future discographies, though, and it’s so much better than longtime placeholder entries like “Stage”.

  28. Great website. Run into it by chance; just added it to my bookmarks. Thanks for sharing your insights and analyses.

  29. Trevor Mill says:

    Well done. Love the imagery as well.
    Insight, humour, honesty and a good ear.
    My favourite being the review of ‘Fall in love with me’.

    If you want help with the design of the book / cover, I’d like to lend a hand.

  30. Marvin G says:

    Hello Chris,

    Just discovered this website and I am ESPECIALLY happy to know you’ll be releasing this in book form. I will purchase it immediately. Do let us know when it is finally going to be released. Notice you’re reading Peter Doggett’s ‘Man Who Sold The World’ book. How is it? It’s yet to be released here in the States, I believe.. Could be wrong.
    Anyway, cheers on the blog. Love it.

  31. Marq says:


    I spent countless hours here. Thanks from Germany for taking a bit of space in my head`s hard disk …

  32. princeasbo says:

    A friend of mine was compiling a series of BowieRare Cds for his personal use and, finding your blog invaluable, recommended it to me. He was right to do so. Your style and scholarship are both solid–well done, sir. When your writing comes out in hard copy, it will do for DB what Ian McDonald (an influence?) did for the Beatles definitive critisism-wise.

    On my blog, I try to mix criticism with fiction, phoney news and humour and without wishing to sound generic and Spam-like, you may find this slightly different attempt at critique of Let’s Dance interesting: http://thriftyvinyl.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/david-bowie-lets-dance/

  33. rob thomas says:

    Thanks for such an amazing site- you’re bad for my freelancer’s productivity! One question: is there any way to see the Category list chronologically- some categories share the same year, so it’s hard to get a snapshot of the chronology. Thanks again- I’ll be buying the book.

  34. Looking forward to the book! Any word on when that will happen? There doesn’t seem to be any mention on the Zero Books site.

    • col1234 says:

      hey, thanks. Zero’s been very tolerant, as the revision process for the early entries has been far longer and more grueling than I ever thought possible, plus new stuff keeps appearing to complicate things (e.g., “April’s Tooth of Gold,” a ’60s obscurity, leaked last year, so that needed an entry, etc.). But my goal is to send in a draft by this summer at the latest, so hopefully at some point in ’13 for Bk. 1.

  35. DBMethos says:

    Just found this blog the other day, and I’ve had a blast perusing the entries from some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) tracks. I love what I’ve read so far and can’t wait for what’s yet to come.

  36. NiggyTardust says:

    Hi. First of all, thank for this amazing blog.
    Just wanted to ask if you can make an entry on Bowie’s work on Peter and the Wolf? Thank you.

    • col1234 says:

      hey. Omitting “Peter & the Wolf” was a tough call, but it didn’t seem to quite fit the formula: it’s not quite a song or a cover. That said, I might do it for this year’s Xmas post.

      • Brendan O'Lear says:

        As a Christmas post is a great idea. Peter & the Wolf deserves a mention somehow. And if we’re still going the following Christmas(!!) how about an honorable mention for my own guilty pleasure – The Snowman? I know he doesn’t sing on it but …

  37. Tim Young says:

    Absolutely wonderful site, I’m incredibly impressed. I have discovered so much more about Bowie on this extremely well written resource. I look forward to the book…

  38. Trevor Mill says:

    This is my favourite Blog by a long way.
    I thought it would be fun to add some brevity;
    so here is…

    David Bowie 
    two word
    Album reviews

    ‘David Bowie’
    Eccentric juvenile

    ‘Space Oddity’
    Earnest spaceman

    ‘The Man Who Sold The World’
    Smoke metaller

    ‘Hunky Dory’
    Flouncy genius

    ‘The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars’
    Perfect popstar

    ‘Aladdin Sane’
    Evil popstar

    ‘Pin Ups’
    Glamorous masquerador

    ‘Diamond Dogs’
    Decaying recluse

    ‘Young Americans’
    Streettalkin’ emoter

    ‘Station To Station’
    Palaced gnostic

    Bare experimenter

    Knowing giver

    Clever traveller

    ‘Scary Monsters’
    Intelligent viewer

    ‘Let’s Dance’
    Slick businessman

    Bored businessman

    ‘Never Let Me Down’
    Confused parent

    ‘Tin Machine’
    Loud neighbour

    ‘Tin Machine II’
    Detached neighbour

    ‘Black Tie White Noise’
    Sexy uncle

    ‘1: Outside’
    Creepy Storyteller

    ‘The Buddha Of Suburbia’
    Suburban reminiscer 

    Eccentric uncle

    Tired muser

    Shelved re-hasher

    Clearheaded seer

    Excited commuter

    • I love these! And I think you’ve got most of them spot on! x

    • Trevor, it took me seven years to find this post, but I enjoyed it enough to suggest you wrap it up with The Next Day and Blackstar.

      • Trevor Mill says:

        Wow. Thank you Stuart. I’d forgotten all about it this silly post. Missed seeing the author at Rough Trade last night but will buy the book. And read it all in the next few nights.

        Anyway the last two albums would be:

        ‘The Next Day’
        Belligerent Housebound

        Majestic Ghost

        As a thanks, Some bonus ones…

        ‘Live Santa Monica ’72’
        Freaky Prodigy

        ‘Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture’
        Magnificent Showgirl

        ‘David Live’
        Slinky Consumptive

        ‘Cracked Actor’
        Nervy Showman

        ‘Live Nassau Coliseum ’76’
        Perfect Apollo

        Open Artist

        ‘Welcome to the Blackout’
        Playful Artist

        ‘Serious Moonlight Live’
        Crowd-pleasing Host

        ‘Glass Spider live’
        Panicking Stage-manager

        Frenetic Grinner

        ‘Glastonbury 2000’
        Comfortable Curator

        ‘A Reality Tour’
        Consumate Entertainer


        ‘Lazarus’ stageshow
        Jumbled Re-enactor

        That was fun.

  39. princeasbo says:

    Chris, I was leafing through my Rolling Stone Stone Record Guide (1st ed.) and it notes what it calls an “inexplicable remake” of “To Know Him Is To Love Him” by Steeleye Span on the Lp Now We Are Six which features Bowie on sax. I couldn’t find any Steeleye Span in the PAOTD search engine and thought, apprised of this revelation, there was another chapter’s worth of writing in it for you. 😉

    Or maybe it’s simply a bridge to bloody far…

    Anyway hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4i82rF3qLU

  40. Best Bowie blog on the net – any word on a book release date yet Chris?

  41. stuartgardner says:

    Since discovering you a few days ago I’ve been having a fine time reading, and have learned much (and left comments on a few entries), but I’m puzzled about the order in which you’re dealing with the tracks. Just what is it? You’re dealing with the albums chronologically, I see, but what’s the order of blog entries within an album? Sorry if I’m being very dense, but the current Tin Machine entries (Heaven’s in Here, Bus Stop, Amazing, Baby Can Dance, Tin Machine, Run and I Can’t Read) aren’t in the order of the tracks on the album, and aren’t alphabetical, so I’m a little confused.
    Incidentally, I know it’s a hell of a long way off, but I can’t wait to read your thoughts on one of my great favorites, When the Boys Come Marching Home. I expect we have to wait for you to get to the great Heathen for that. Ah, well!

    • col1234 says:


      The chronology of this blog is imperfect and at times quite arbitrary. Basically, the intent is to address the DB songs in order of composition and/or recording.

      So for Tin Machine, I generally wrote about the Bowie/Gabrels songs hailing from the summer of ’88 first, and now I’m about to get into songs that, to my knowledge, came out of the actual LP recording sessions (these include all the Sales-Bowie collaborations). Given that we have no day-to-day record of what was recorded when in a typical DB album, the order of tracks is in part guesswork and in part thematic: so I’m going to (mild spoiler) group all of the TM “protest” songs together starting next week.

      hope this sheds some light into the process.

  42. stuartgardner says:

    And do understand, please, that I wasn’t criticizing in the least. I was only asking because I thought I might have been overlooking something, as not only your blog but all of WordPress is new to me and I’m still learning how to navigate.

  43. There’s a Ken Scott book coming out that may or may not have some new info on some Bowie records. Should be worth looking into. http://www.amazon.com/Abbey-Road-Ziggy-Stardust-record/dp/0739078585

  44. princeasbo says:

    Chris, there’s a PAOFTD big-up in the online Guardian Music Blog here:


    courtesy the, er, fine people at Thrifty Vinyl.

  45. EEG TV says:

    Esta es la página web más interesante que he visto en los últimos 10 años. Gracias.

    This is the most interesant web page that I’ve seen in the last 10 years. Thanks.

  46. Chris, I felt I should let you know that when posting a comment just now (on “How Lucky You Are” / “Miss Peculiar”) I was met with a Microsoft Security Alert asking whether I wanted to proceed in view of a problem with your site’s Security Certificate; either the name on it is invalid or it doesn’t match the name of the site.
    I’ve no understanding of such things but expected you’d want to pass this along to your web master.

  47. sitanbul says:

    This is a wonderful website and will be a book well worth reading and re-reading . . .

  48. Mike says:

    Hi there, as with many others I have spent way too many hours reading your analysis! As a seasoned DB fan I was most impressed with what I read. As you mention, most biographers focus on the man and not his music. This is the best thing I have seen on his music since Charles Shaar Murray did the ‘David Bowie’ extra large book analysis which stops at Scary Monsters. That was awesome and your work is in that great tradition. Please let us know when the book is coming near to production.

  49. I’ve nominated your blog for the Thought-Provoking Blog Award. What you have to do about it is here: http://mlewisredford.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/thought-provoking-blog/.

    It’s just a bit of recognition and publicity. If you don’t want to pick it up I won’t be offended.

  50. A wonderful read, I came across unexpectedly. Many thanks and I look forward to the book – love on ya!

  51. fantailfan says:

    a contribution to A Bowie Rykodiscography (US) release dates:
    (I have them all except The Singles Collection, Fame ’90 and 808 State)

    Sound + Vision : 19 Sep 1989
    Space Oddity, Hunky Dory,The Man Who Sold the World : 30 Jan 1990
    Changesbowie : 20 Mar 1990 Note 1: the vinyl release is two records, the cassette release is two cassettes. Additional songs (“Starman” after “Space Oddity,” “Life on Mars?” after “The Jean Genie,” and “Sound and Vision” after “Golden Years.” Note 2: The Au20 release (2 Jul 1996) substituted the album version of “Fame” for the egregious “Fame ’90.”
    Fame ’90 : 20 Mar 1990
    Ziggy Stardust: 6 Jun 1990
    Aladdin Sane, : Pin Ups : 13 Jul 1990
    Diamond Dogs, David Live : 16 Oct 1990
    Young Americans, Station to Station : 14 May 1991
    Low, “Heroes”, Lodger : 27 Jul 1991
    David Bowie vs. 808 State : 17 Dec 1991
    Stage : 8 May 1992
    Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture : 7 Aug 1992
    Singles Collection : 16 Nov 1993
    Ryko also did gold disc versions of several releases. As far as I know they use the original masterings, but also include the same bonus tracks of the original releases; I can pull the insert out if you care to know exactly what they say.
    Ziggy Stardust : 16 Aug 1994
    Hunky Dory, Changesbowie, Low : 2 July 1996
    The Man Who Sold the World, Station to Station, Young Americans, “Heroes” : 8 Apr 1997

  52. This is a great blog. Loving your work….

  53. I have stumbled across your blog only recently and accidentally. It is really stunning, I am amazed about the depth and plentiness of background information you provide in context of even the obscurest Bowie songs. Your observations are well researched and insightful. Sometimes I feel a bit sad when you tend not to praise a song or it’s interpretation that I love (like “My Death”). As you have “arrived” in the Nineties now, I am very much looking forward to your analysis of “1.Outside”, for example, which I adore, like most of the later Bowie stuff, as much as his great work of the Seventies and early Eighties.

  54. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the best pieces of music writing I have ever encountered–I can’t wait for the book version (even though I’ll have read it all by then)!

    Amazing work–thanks so much!


  55. Anonymous says:

    I can’t remember now how I got here but damn I’m glad I did.

    Absolutely incredible.

  56. Stolen Guitar says:

    Chris, when you do get published please keep the name; it’s absolutely right for a work of this magnitude. You are, quite literally, pushing ahead of the others, dames or otherwise!

    Ian MacDonald’s ‘Revolution In The Head’ is a magisterial study of a great band’s recorded output and it’s title captures their revolutionary effect on popular culture…don’t you think ‘Pushing Ahead of the Dame’ achieves a similar effect for Bowie’s case? He really did push ahead in lots of areas and, of course, when it comes to dames, well, there really is nothing quite like one; especially ours!

    Please reconsider; it was an inspired choice of name for the blog and I’m certain it’ll translate well in print. Great work and good luck.

  57. Mr Tagomi says:

    Hi Chris,

    I just want to join in the chorus of praise. Since I discovered this site I’ve been going around with the warm feeling of having received a really great surprise gift. This site is easily the equal of Ian McDonald’s great “Revolution in the Head”. Not only is your analysis sharp and fascinating, but you’re also a really talented writer.

    Anyway, a request: Could you throw in some sort of global analysis of the characteristics of Bowie compositions?

    For example, I’ve read elsewhere of John Lennon’s loose ways with meter, and his tendency to use more or less single-note melody lines concluded by sort of melismatic bit at the end, and how this contrasted with the McCartney approach of aiming more towards formal perfection.

    I understand this sort of analysis only vaguely, but it’s still fascinating. I’d really love to see Bowie get the same sort of treatment, and it could be a valuable addition to your book.

    • col1234 says:

      hi–thanks. in a nutshell, yes–there is some of this in the book revision (one reason it’s taken so long to revise it), looking at DB’s general tendencies in vocal melodies, chord progressions, meter, etc.

  58. J.D. says:

    Looks like Pushing Ahead Of The Dame will be expanding its scope:
    New DB Album 2013

  59. Iris says:

    I’m a new Bowie fan (only 22, I missed most of his career =/). I’ve heard his songs before but sometime during last week something suddenly clicked and I finally Listened to them for the first time.

    Now he’s one of my favorite artists and your blog has been the perfect guide to exploring his discography for the first time.

    Since this site seems to be frequented by so many longtime fans who have already shown their appreciation, I just wanted to let you know that for someone out there, yours is the first window into Bowie’s music. Thanks!

  60. Anonymous says:

    Great job !

  61. Noggin says:

    A truly excellent and informative site, many thanks for the work.
    I look forward to the book/s

    Tim (Noggin)

  62. Anonymous says:

    I remember an interview – I think Charles Shaar Murray – did in 1977 for NME discussing Low with Bowie and his time and musical influence in Berlin, with his reference to influence by Edgar Froese and Bowie’s appreciation for Edgar’s album ‘Epsilon In Malaysian Pale’.

    Have you seen the interview ? I don’t know if it was later reprinted in Charles Shaar Murray’s and Roy Carr’s book ?

    I have found this quote in the net but there is unfortunately no source given to the text :
    Bowie quote: “I was a big fan of Kraftwerk, Cluster and Harmonia, and I thought the first Neu! album, in particular, was just gigantically wonderful,” admits Bowie. “Looking at that against punk, I had absolutely no doubts where the future of music was going, and for me it was coming out Germany at that time. I also liked some of the later Can things, and there was an album that I loved by Edgar Froese, Epsilon In Malaysian Pale; it’s the most beautiful, enchanting, poignant work, quite lovely. That used to be the background music to my life when I was living in Berlin. In a way, it was great that I found those bands, because I didn’t feel any of the essence of punk at all in that period, I just totally by-passed it.”

    Any idea as to where did this above quote stem from?

    Have there been many books about Bowie’s stay in Berlin?

    I have read Low by Hugo Wilcken on your recommendation and find it very good and accurate.

    Seabrook’s book is not so good .

    Oh! …and a big Thank you, I have learnt much here

  63. simonkaye says:

    A fantastic blog. For whatever reason, I’ve only just discovered it, despite being an adoring fan of Bowie’s music for… well, for ages. Keep up the good work!

  64. Don’t get stressed out! The book is worth the wait. Just get it the way you want it. I’ll buy it. I love your writing. Thank you!

  65. isola says:

    merci, merci from Paris

    What a great website !!

  66. Peter says:

    Just WOW!
    I don’t know where to start reading.

  67. this is a magnificent project – ‘opened up a whole new lode in Bowie for which I am grateful

  68. Jane says:

    This is really an incredible blog, a real treasure amidst all the disposability of the internet. The nuanced and painstaking attention to the context in which these songs were created lends a new perspective even to tracks I thought I’d gathered every angle of. I also enjoyed the tangential analysis of Scott Walker’s work! Thanks so much for all the love and labour you’ve put into this so far, I hope you make it all the way up to “The Next Day”!

  69. I can’t wait to peruse you site – I am a die-hard David Bowie person.

  70. ahardrain says:

    WordPress featured you on Freshly Pressed and I happened to see Bowie Bonds. I have been on here now for hours devouring.

    Bowie has been my soul since the 70’s, having seen him a handful of times through all his reincarnations (accept TM). My last was his preshow for the Reality tour in a little club in Upstate NY where less than 300 of us were treated to his last live tour.

    Thank you for all this great insight.I will be buying your book once it comes out. Cheers

  71. Freddy Freeloader says:

    My title suggestion: Ziggy played Stylophone

  72. stuartgardner says:

    I suggest simply moving the current title and subtitle to David Bowie Song by Song: Pushing Ahead of the Dame. And Chris, I’ve been wanting to ask if this will be your debut as an author. Does anything in your bibliography precede this book? And do have an chosen subject for your next book?

    • col1234 says:

      i like Freddy’s title.

      yes, it will be my debut as an author, whenever this thing finally gets done, though i’ve been writing professionally (i.e., getting paid to write stuff that appears in print somewhere) since 1993. i have a couple of ideas for a following book but, mercy, this Bowie thing needs to get done first, and we’re a ways off still.

      • stuartgardner says:

        Maybe you’ll follow this with a book about how you wrote this book. I see a novel about a young writer in the grip of an obsession. He takes on a project which soon threatens to destroy his life. I see a character based on a contact you made here, and who turns out not to be what he seemed. And I see booze.

  73. Mirror Su says:

    I really like the article about O Superman. I am curious about the author though! Where can I find more information about the writer?

  74. dear mr o’leary
    just stumbled upon your blog. cool read 🙂 thanks …
    peter-r. koenig

  75. Elle says:

    I generally don’t read blogs, but this one is so interesting and so well written. I came across it looking for some interpretations of station to station. I love the statement made on be my wife…
    “I as though a marionette is suddenly professing love to you, and worse, that the marionette may not really mean it.”

  76. Michael says:

    Hi Chris,

    I just wanted to say hello and pass on my appreciation for your blog; it’s incredible.

    I came via the Bowiewonderworld forum that I occasionally look through (this time for news about ‘Sue’).

    I clicked on the link yesterday afternoon and was reading until 1am. Today, I’ve been reading all day – just one more song, just one more. Fascination doesn’t it justice, so thank you for doing this and long may it continue.

    My introduction to Bowie came via (obviously very cool) parents who had been fans in their own youth. It’s taken me years – cutting my teeth on my Dad’s vinyl copies of Ziggy and Hunky Dory; the ‘easy’ albums – to latterly venturing into the uncharted waters (for me) of Lodger and Scary Monsters.

    It’s hard to know exactly why Bowie means what he means to me. The voice, the looks, the songs, of course that’s all obvious. But I think the connection really lies in that Bowie a has become a conduit of communication with my parents.

    When I listen to much of the early stuff, it’s inextricably linked with living at home, in our old houses with my parents. Now my parents live where there are (literally) no record shops and they don’t really understand buying and downloading music online, so occasionally I send them stuff.

    The last thing I sent them was The Next Day, and it was like we had come full circle. Sharing Bowie’s music, spanning two generations, the follower becoming the leader; the child becoming the adult and vice versa, which is what I guess what happens, to an extent, in all grown up parent-child relationships eventually.

    I’m glad to have found such a wealth of information and knowledge here, so thank you. I’m looking forward to the book coming out.


  77. Lee Johnson says:

    Fantastic repository of information and facts, authenticated with a knowledgable slant from a pro standpoint. Every Bowie fan should have this bookmarked (which I have for the past three years). Keep it up.

  78. Thom Hickey says:

    Delighted to have found your entertaining and informative blog Chris. Looking forward to lots of reading here. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in and ready to play!).

  79. Paul B says:

    Dear Chris

    As a long time Bowie fan, my mind boggles that such a site exists – the definitive Bowie site bar none, and thanks for what must be a massive labour of love.

    But that brings me straight to my question. Why would you use his (patently derogative) nickname ‘the Dame’ in your title?

    I’m fairly certain even at his self-deprecating best, Bowie never liked that title….why on earth would a Bowie fan use it?


    Paul B.

    • col1234 says:

      Hello Paul,

      It’s a good pun, and I’d like to think Bowie would appreciate a good pun.

      More seriously, it simply reflects the haphazard nature of this blog’s creation. I sat down one afternoon, wondered what to call it (I’d only days before decided it was going to be about Bowie, not Pete Townshend), wrote out a few ideas, the conceit of doing a play off a line in “Queen Bitch” came to mind, and that was it. I’ve since regretted it: it’s a rather cumbersome name, and can be seen (but wasn’t intended) as insulting, and I wish I’d just called the site “Bowiesongs,” as pretty much everyone refers to it. The upcoming book obviously won’t use the blog’s title.


  80. stuartgardner says:

    Hi, Chris.
    I never knew the line was a pun! And I hate displaying my ignorance, but now that I know it’s a pun, I don’t get it… what’s it a pun on?

    • col1234 says:

      the line in “queen bitch” is “known in the darkest clubs for pushing ahead of the dames”. & as Paul noted, the Dame was DB’s nickname in the UK press. so the blog’s moving through Bowie’s work, trying to keep ahead of Bowie (the irony grew once DB started putting out new songs)

      • stuartgardner says:

        Thank you, Chris. I knew the lyric, of course, but failed to catch the idea of “pushing ahead of Bowie.”
        It’s a bitter irony that you should be pulled into such a conversation, because the quality of your work here is simply astonishing.

  81. Michael says:

    Not to answer for Chris, but it’s from the line ‘pushing ahead of the dames’ from Queen Bitch off Hunky Dory.

    The lyric is:

    She’s an old-time ambassador
    Of sweet talking, night walking games
    And she’s known in the darkest clubs
    For pushing ahead of the dames

    (Great song, by the way!)

  82. I see you still haven’t written anything about The Next Day. When do you think you will have time to do that? I am curious about your opinion.

    It is a real pleasure to read your blog by the way. I have to admit I loathe music journalism in general as I find it shallow and totally devoid of any valuable insight whatsoever (with some _very few_ exceptions). Your stuff is on a totally different level, a level which is worthy of an artist of Bowie’s proportions. I tend to see Bowie (and a very few others like Dylan) as one of extremely few pop artists who are worthy of deep analysis and who can be mentioned together with other great artists in history as major contributors to human culture.

    • col1234 says:

      we’ve gotta get through “Reality” first! and the “lost years” period. so probably Feb 2015 or so for “next day.” But as a scroll upward on this thread will show you, don’t trust me in terms of timing.

  83. Michael says:

    “Tis a pity she was a whore” is out now, iTunes etc…

  84. crel57 says:

    What a wonderful blog this is. The best writing about Bowie and his songs since Ian Macdonald. Absolutely fantastic Chris. Thank you . I am really looking forward to your Rebel Rebel book next year.

  85. poseidonian says:

    Nice work. If I do a book this will be incredibly helpful.

  86. MajorTomCat says:

    Hi Chris,
    if you need an Italian-speaking reader, I’m Italian and an avid reader of the blog. Please let me know if I could be of any help.

  87. steg says:

    Good evening Chris. You have more than one Italian (or Italian speaking. I am one of the former) reader, but I do doubt you need one. On the other hand, I put your book t-zer on my Fb page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006741346383 Cheers

  88. stuartgardner says:

    Chris, would you do me a small personal favor by devoting the next years of your life to a book on Elvis Costello?

  89. xianrex says:

    Argh, saw this so late. I’ve dome proofreading for two of my friend’s books on the Beach Boys, and I’d be happy to help out if you still need anyone.

  90. Ken Sigley says:

    Hi Guys, like Steffano Galli came upon this site by accident. What an absolutely mine of information. I have been fortunate to see David Bowie in concert over 20 times and this has filled in so many blanks in my knowledge. Like many others I cannot wait for the first volume of the book. Thanks again for such an entertaining and informative site.

  91. rob thomas says:

    hi Chris,
    just fyi, i’ve just ordered a couple of copies of the book- can’t wait. best, Rob

  92. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on an excellent site.

  93. michele lynn says:

    I really enjoyed your broadcast during Evan Davies WFMU show. Looking forward to perusing your site. Funny thing, I recognize “John Larkin’s” name from a Bowie related email that he and I corresponded on regarding the Station To Station LP cover.

  94. Anonymous says:

    If someone was applying to you the Clockwork Orange’s Ludovico technique, showing you one Bowie’s single or album cover for days on end, which one would you choose to made the experience less painful? And which cover will be so insufferable that would make you scream like Alex in that movie?

  95. Wayne Berry says:

    I am petitioning David Bowie to put out new records, just so you can keep writing about them!

  96. princeasbo says:

    Unless it’s a hoax, it looks like more work is coming your way Chris.

  97. […] ideal para la expedición de esos títulos”, señala Chris O’Leary, autor y operador del sitio BowieSongs. “Wall Street y la industria de la música estaban gordos y felices. Las disqueras hacían miles […]

  98. Jacob Daniel says:

    Thanks for your insightful work, Chris. Now more than ever.


  99. lofric says:

    A Bowie fan since the early 70s I only really started reading properly about one of my favourite obsessions when hospitalised after The Next Day – suddenly you have to amuse yourself. I started reading online. I have been in and out for long stretches (9 months out of 12 in 2014/5) and have started to read up – as it where! Chris your book is terrific, as is your site and blog and it has in some genuine respects – for me at least – at times been a lifesaver. Thank you. Please don’t give up passing on your thoughts opinions and ideas.

  100. marta says:

    Hi Chris,
    I discovered your blog in the days following 11th January. I have been reading non-stop.

    You do realize your work is like a novel, with bits of film and loads of music, that sucks you in for ever and ever? Like a tv series yet to be invented?

    I miss DB so much!

    Thank you, Chris!

  101. Landon Brown says:

    I’m late in saying this, as I started reading sometime late last year in the run-up to Blackstar, but this blog has been quite the discovery for me and is now (along with ‘Rebel Rebel’ and your twitter) a constant reference point in my daily life, opening doors I didn’t even know existed, much like the Dame himself began doing for me some years back. You have reignited in me a critical appreciation of music and culture which had perhaps languished too long. Thank you for that. Looking forward to ‘Ashes to Ashes.’

  102. […] de esos títulos”, señala Chris O’Leary, autor y operador del sitio BowieSongs. “Wall Street y la industria de la música estaban gordos y felices. Las disqueras […]

  103. thank you, thank you Chris O’Leary

  104. Steve Platt says:

    I came to your blog late – today, in fact – as a result oif googling “Satori must be something like the same” from Memory of a Free Festival. (I bet I’m the first visitor via that particular route!) I just wanted to say what a treat it is to discover something so thoughtful, well-written and well-researched. I’m an editor and I always say to writers “Tell us something we didn’t know, leave us better informed than we were before. Then give us your opinion.” You certainly do that. Thanks. I hope to come back again and again.

  105. Agnes says:

    Helllo Chris,

    I would like to thank you for your blog: it is beautifully written, wonderful and inspiring to read. I was never much of a Bowie fan, but in January, in the wake of his passing, I started to listen to his music. First to the obvious, then to the lesser known and then to his more obscure work. What surprised me was, firstly, how much of his music I knew, without ever having made an effort, and, secondly, what surprised me even more, was how much there was still to discover. Your blog has been the perfect guiding light. Thank you for your dedication and your hard work.

  106. Thanks for your Bowie info .is inspiring to read

    Diedrich Streupet owner http://www.davidbowieworld.nl

  107. Hi, just discovered your website today and really I’m amazed!

  108. Rex Leetham says:

    I would like to subscribe to your blog.

  109. Thank you for your awesome work.

  110. 6i says:

    Wow! The site is a great piece of work. Was linked here from an NPR article and really glad i did. Full disclosure: doubt I’m as big a Bowie fan as most here and have barely begun to explore the site but felt compled to say you have done
    an amazing job here.
    I know I’ll be in the minority here but Young Americans is by far my favorite and always desperate for recordings of the Vandross/Sanborn band. Any guidance is greatly appreciated

  111. Lee Stephenson says:

    Wow! The site is a great piece of work. Was linked here from an NPR article and really glad i did. Full disclosure: doubt I’m as big a Bowie fan as most here and have barely begun to explore the site but felt compled to say you have done
    an amazing job here.
    I know I’ll be in the minority here but Young Americans is by far my favorite and always desperate for recordings of the Vandross/Sanborn band. Any guidance is greatly appreciated

  112. paulandruss says:

    Chris, just discovered you site and really enjoying it. I am looking forward to exploring it in depth, at leisure. There are a lot of insightful articles. A couple of things resonated in what I just read.
    Not being able to write anything after Bowie’s death.
    It is amazing how many people it struck on a personal level. My partner and I felt we had lost a member of the family… kept filling up at the oddest times for about 6 months- which seems like madness but I suppose for the first time it made us feel mortal. We had grown up (figuratively not literally) with the man.
    The second was about you not posting because the blog doesn’t pay the bills and you are behind with your writing.
    All I can say is that’s sensible and good luck with your work. I look forward to the book coming out.. if indeed it is not out already… Will check Amazon next. As I said just started exploring.
    Anyway that’s it.
    I am writer too…less biographer more mythographer. You get away with more and can have less exacting standards. I included a link. (I know… cheeky bugger eh! Talk about pushing ahead of the dames!)
    Don’t feel obliged to look… this is really just to say hi not to plug anything.
    Best regards Paul

  113. Victoria Matthews says:

    Great stuff! Love it. Love Bowie…still grieving

  114. princeasbo says:

    Hi Chris, pardon if this had been addressed elsewhere, will you be updating the blog and/or the 2nd volume of your hardcopy DB criticism to reflect the 2017 Visconti Mix of ‘Lodger’?

  115. Ben Attwood says:

    I came across your blog when I was researching for my own series of posts about David Bowie. For December, I am going through each album, giving my comments and opinions on each album, and discussing my favourite songs, including a few singles, and some album tracks too.

    Your post on Seven Years in Tibet was excellent, and I used it to help write my Earthlings post, as well as my post on Slow Burn. I will certainly be recommending you on my blog through those respective posts, and come January, I will consider buying one of your books.

  116. Chris says:

    Thank you for this amazing blog! This is both a fan comment and a comment on Thursday’s Child: do you think that Bowie, as a boxer, would have known Joe Louis’ [perhaps apochryphal] statement, “I done the best I could with what I had” ?

  117. Daud says:

    Can’t believe only just stumbled across your blog now – when searching for what track was it on Lodger that dealt with domestic violence – read the post, and as the saying goes, then bought the book! Thanks so much.

  118. Deirdre Erin Alton says:

    Literally “happened” upon your blog a few months ago. Having abandoned Bowie after Never Let Me Down, I never lost my love for the music. After delving into your blog, I started purchasing post NLMD CD’s and enjoying them while reading blog entries (again) for each CD. Then I sadly realized that all my earlier purchases were on vinyl or cassette. so I HAD to repurchase those on CD. Fast forward several months, 32 purchases and way too much money spent – and I happened on an “unread” post from July 29, 2019 and I realized that we are practically neighbors. Thank you from the bottom of my much poorer monetarily and richer musically little heart. Your Springfield neighbor.

  119. Lee Johnson says:

    Hey Chris, have you seen this blatant knock-off? https://paola1chi.blogspot.com/2019/12/david-bowie-scream-like-baby.html
    I’m outraged to be honest. You do get a link credit, but it’s so tuned and over-contrived that it’s a violation. Thanks very much for this blog by the way, I’ve read and enjoyed it so much over the years, and still take the occasional look.

  120. wweeder says:

    What a beautiful blog. Just read “Pushing Ahead of the Dame”, as I am listening to blackstar at the moment, and it reads like a labor of love. It is very good to see people appreciating this – and helping to deepen the appreciation of others. This writing is a few years old at this point, but I hope you will keep going with your writing and blogging.

  121. […] from his excellent blog Pushing Ahead Of The Dame O’Leary takes the MacDonald’s approach to The Beatles and applies it to a lifetime of […]

  122. romyjones says:

    I’m a bit baffled about how to use the site. I’m just trying to read the articles about his first self-titled LP and the Deram years as a whole. When clicking on the self-titled LP link there are loads of songs missing. When I type any of these missing songs into the search, they appear but why don’t they appear on the self-titled LP page itself? The same with loads of the non-album single & demo songs from the ’66-’68 Deram era. The page appears with loads of the songs missing, though if you search for them individually, they appear. Why aren’t all the applicable songs for each page listed on the relevant page (Deram Years: 1966-1968 / David Bowie (s/t LP): 1967)?

    • col1234 says:

      i think the problem is you’re missing the “older posts” link at the bottom of the pages. If you click on the 1967 LP, you’ll see 6 or 7 entries, and at the bottom, click “older posts” and you’ll see more.

      also, please note the ’60s song entries in particular were written over 10-11 years ago. I’ve updated them on occasion but I don’t have the time to constantly be fixing YouTube links and so forth. As for songs released from this period over the past few years (e.g. “Mother Grey”), i’ve done a few entries to handle those but not all of the songs have been covered yet.

      • romyjones says:

        Right you are! The “older posts” button is a very welcome bit of open sesame info. Thanks very much. And while I disagree with you on occasion, your writing about Bowie (particularly his oft glossed over 60s work) is the best I’ve ever seen.

        And, regarding his Deram era, d’you know who won at the auction for those 3 outtakes (Bunny Thing, Your Funny Smile, Pussy Cat) and if whoever it was is likely to release them? If they’re not, I shall be brushing up on my robbery, bribery and blackmail techniques.
        Thanks again.

  123. col1234 says:

    thank you! the ’60s stuff got revised, at times pretty heavily, for the book version of this blog, just FYI. no idea who won the auction–and don’t know if they legally can release the tracks? the estate could sue to block them if they did, i believe–they didn’t acquire the copyrights to the records, just the actual tape.

    • romyjones says:

      Add bootlegging to my previously mentioned nefarious skills! The idea of those Deram tracks sitting in a vault doing nothing for another 50 years while Bowie’s flipping Springsteen cover is readily available is excruciating!! Your post about that (‘Growin’ Up’) track is really interesting as the “latecomer” / “60s inheritor” / “theatricality” you point out they had in common is bang on. But musically… chords, arrangements, voice… it’s like, for me at least, comparing Mozart with Freddie & The Dreamers 😉

  124. Scott Fuller says:

    Hi Chris, love the site and the book – I thought I’d start at the beginning and share a couple of findings on Liza Jane.

    I front UK Bowie tribute band called The Thin White Duke. A couple of years ago we performed a celebratory concert at Bowie’s old school in Bromley. George Underwood was also in the bill, giving a talk on his time with Bowie.

    For the event we decided to brush off Liza Jane and cover it in the encore, so I began to study the song’s lyrics far more than is healthy!

    There’s a line in the second verse that remains incomprehensible, as you say in Rebel Rebel:

    This little girl is guh-ta-guh

    The next part I deciphered as:

    This little girl turn me upside down
    Well, I love fine little curly hair
    This little girl drive me to despair.

    Which you could interpret as a description of oral sex, but maybe that’s just me with a dirty mind!

    Anyway, we did ask George if he wanted to join us on the song, but he said his performing days were over. We also discovered that the record plays in E flat – but it should be in E – suggesting the record plays back slightly too slow, altering the pitch.

  125. KP says:

    Just discovered your lovely site, and the depth of knowledge is fantastic.
    Been doing a little bit of musical appraisal on the first album (1967 Deram).
    Looking at ‘She’s Got medals’, I notice the main chord sequence is a speeded up version of ‘Hey Joe’.
    Given that DB happily admitted to being ‘inspired’ to the extent of lifting chord sequences (e.g Life on Mars vs My Way, Fame containing a backwards Stevie Wonder middle 8), what do you reckon? Any reference to the possibility anywhere else?

    • col1234 says:

      “She’s Got” is possibly more from Love’s “7 & 7 Is,” which had been released not long before the former’s recording, but Hey Joe is in there too (the book versions of these 60s entries are far more thorough).

      i’m sure you can find a lot more in that vein–nothing comes to mind at present, but i’m sure taking progressions and racking them up a bit was a DB compositional bit he used until the end.

  126. Niko Okamoto says:

    I too just discovered this site! After all this time and being a huge Bowie fan for many years. Thank you for creating it.

  127. I want to thank you for making this blog. I think you’re amazing. Appreciate the insight, the answers to the idiot questions that ramble through my head, the sharing of what you know, written in a genuine way I can relate to. Thanks… I just deleted my story of how I got into Bowie, it sounds too much like it comes from one of his more tragic songs, not very sincere, but true. Thought I’d keep it simple, since doing that is my real challenge – has been forever. Been a fan of Bowies since Trudy and Karen brought Hunky Dory to my house in ‘71. This year I became a huge fan of yours and share your blog with anyone who’ll listen or shows any interest in Bowie. Even if they don’t. Lol. So thanks.
    Sincerely, a fan to The Man, Barbie

  128. LCH says:

    #1 Find blog
    #2 Read blog
    #3 Procure both books
    #4 Read books
    #5 Repeat 2 & 4 at will for the rest of time

    A genuine pleasure to read
    Thank’s for everything, Chris

  129. Luna Aurora says:

    Oh awesome, you’re still here! Back in 2014 through to 2016, whilst I was wrestling with the dual demons of depression & being a teenager, I was heavily into David Bowie, both his music & himself as a person (still am now of course, but not *heavily*). During that time I’d often visit to this blog, and I am elated to see that it’s still up just as it was! Thanks for all your great work!

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