Album: Diamond Dogs, 1974
Justification: Weird little song, this. It was one of Bowie’s biggest hits and is reportedly the most covered of his songs, but it’s actually the product of two failed musicals: the first a Ziggy Stardust stage show that Bowie began and abandoned in 1972, the second his adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 that ran afoul of the author’s estate, was refused permission and resulted in the dystopian futuristic concept album Diamond Dogs (although it’s not like he hid this fact, since it had songs like ‘1984’ and ‘We Are The Dead’ on it).
It’s also a transitional moment as the last gasp of the Ziggy character and, for that matter of Bowie’s glam period: the Spiders from Mars had already been disbanded (that’s Bowie playing guitar, not Mick Ronson) and, as the David Live album made clear later that year, he was already transforming into the “plastic soul” period of Young Americans.
Still, that’s a freakin’ sweet riff.