Saturday, July 30, 2011

David Bowie - Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Picked up what looks like a late 70's/early 80's re-release of this vintage single (1974) in Columbus, OH at Magnolia Thunderpussy while traveling for work. It's the last track off of one of my favorite albums of all time, and probably the most important album in terms of forging some sort of taste in music in a young me. My mother owned a copy of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars and I played it a lot when I was maybe 10 or 11. It's really never grown old to me either; it's an album that I go back to almost annually, and I've never tired of it, unlike some of the other albums I've loved obsessively through the years. Anyway, this single was released 2 full years after The Rise and Fall... came out, as the label was trying to milk it for everything it could while waiting for Bowie to release something new.

The A-side is a classic, starting with an acoustic guitar and a simply sung opening and it builds into this massive, over the top crescendo with strings and horns and desperate vocals. It's a hell of a way to cap off a great album, and it works on its own too.

The B-side was pulled from 1971's Hunky Dory, and was recorded about a year and a half before "Suicide". Bowie went with the same acoustic-to-electric-to-orchestra approach back then, with the volume and drama slowly rising. It's not bad, but he clearly perfected the technique a little later with the A-side.

1/11/2016 update. David Bowie has left us.

A: Rock N' Roll Suicide
B: Quicksand

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