Playlist: Happy Birthday, David Bowie!

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Published January 10, 2011

 

ALADDIN SANE-ERA BOWIE CAREFULLY CONSIDERS WHAT TO WISH FOR.

From Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke to our favorite Goblin King, no one has done reinvention (or satin one-piece outfits) quite like David Bowie, once upon a time David Robert Jones. And today, in celebration of his birthday (he turned 64 over the weekend), we want to toast to the space oddity and celebrate all of his ch-ch-ch-changes.

As a tyke, Bowie sang in his school choir and invented moves in his interpretive movement classes, no doubt laying the groundwork for his impressive video future. By 15, he had discovered rock and roll, and by 18, he adopted the moniker David Bowie—and the rest is history.

The early ’70s were characterized by heavy rock, folksy blues, Ziggy Stardust, and a first marriage. Then later, soul, funk, Aladdin Sane, and superstardom. We saw Bowie as The Man Who Fell to Earth, and later as the man taking over the globe while asking, “why don’t we give love one more chance?” in “Under Pressure.” He’s worked with Tina Turner, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, and Annie Lennox. There’s been glam rock, alternative rock, hard rock; music hall, psychedelia, electronica—we need a musical genre index just to name them all! There’s been a second marriage—hello Iman and baby—a quick break, and a small comeback (vocals on Scarlett Johansson’s 2008 album of Tom Waits covers), all in the last ten years.

Bowie has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is a two-time Grammy Award winner, and had to actually decline knighthood. The man has invented and popularized more sounds than we can list, and is also responsible for the most high-fashion mug shot ever taken. He is a chameleon of costume, and the only constant is that devil smile luring you into his labyrinth.

Now, if we had our druthers, we’d be celebrating together—but if music videos of chart-topping hits past is the closest we can get, these are our top six songs to fête Bowie with.

 

 



“Dancing in the Street” (with Mick Jagger)

 

 



“Modern Love”

 

 

 



“Magic Dance” (from Labyrinth)

 




“Star”



“Let’s Dance”



“Never Get Old”