Friday 1/8/2021 12pm ET: Artist Countdown: David Bowie Top 50 Hits


David Robert Jones (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016), known professionally as David Bowie was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Rolling Stone placed him among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and named him the “Greatest Rock Star Ever” following his death in 2016.

Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song “Space Oddity” reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single “Starman” and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, “challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture.” The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterised as “plastic soul”. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low (1977)—the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. These so-called “Berlin Trilogy” albums all reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, which yielded several hit singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. He has not toured since the 2003–04 Reality Tour and has not performed live since 2006. Bowie’s latest studio album The Next Day was released in March 2013.

Buckley says of Bowie: “His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.” In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was placed at number 29. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In the UK, he has been awarded nine Platinum album certifications, 11 Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time. 

1 Let’s Dance
2 China Girl
3 This Is Not America (with Pat Metheny Group)
4 Blue Jean
5 Absolute Beginners
6 Under Pressure (with Queen)
7 Dancing in the Street (with Mick Jagger)
8 Day-In Day-Out
9 Ashes to Ashes
10 Jump They Say
11 Modern Love
12 Underground
13 Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
14 Rebel Rebel
15 Fashion
16 Where Are We Now?
17 Hallo Spaceboy
18 Tonight(with Tina Turner)
19 Space Oddity
20 Golden Years
21 Sound and Vision
22 The Jean Genie
23 Fame ’90
24 Time Will Crawl
25 Fame
26 Heroes
27 Loving the Alien
28 Never Let Me Down
29 Real Cool World
30 The Hearts Filthy Lesson
31 Thursday’s Child
32 Knock on Wood
33 Boys Keep Swinging
34 Sorrow
35 Life on Mars?
36 Young Americans
37 Starman
38 Slow Burn
39 TVC 15
40 Drive-In Saturday
41 The Laughing Gnome
42 John, I’m Only Dancing
43 Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
44 Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
45 Diamond Dogs
46 The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
47 I’m Afraid of Americans
48 Suffragette City
49 Dead Man Walking
50 Changes

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