Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘Life on Mars?‘ – David Bowie (1971)
This is the first of six songs from the 70s to make my list (tying that decade with the 80s for most represented). I guess that makes sense, given that those two decades made up my first 18 years, and isn’t that when music makes its biggest impact?
That’s one theory, but a deeper dive reveals that half of those 12 songs — including both of today’s featured tracks — didn’t find me until much later. So maybe they were just good musical decades.
‘Song For Bob Dylan’ is a track on David Bowie’s excellent 1971 album Hunky Dory. It’s something between a tribute and a jab at Dylan, one of the biggest music stars in the world at that time.
Dylan was checking out in the early 70s. After producing a string of classic, groundbreaking albums in the 60s, he was releasing gentle country albums Nashville Skyline and New Morning, along with Self Portrait, a collection of odds and ends that was easily his worst work to date.
David Bowie’s Let’s Dance comes in at #9 on my list of best 1983 albums. I knew the hits from this album at the time of release but I never heard the whole thing through until I spent some time exploring Bowie’s catalog after his death.
Let’s Dance was Bowie’s most successful album, selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide. Hits ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘Modern Love’ and ‘China Girl’ are among his top-selling singles. Critically, its reception was mixed, though over time its reputation has grown.
A few years back, following David Bowie’s death, I did a deep dive into his catalog. It was my first real exposure to a lot of his work, which I mostly knew through the hits.
1973’s Aladdin Sane emerged as a favorite, alongside Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, the two albums that preceded it. It’s funny how so many of the albums I’m writing about were part of successful streaks. The early 70s were a gold mine for new music from some of the greatest pop artists of all time.
Continuing my countdown of the films of Quentin Tarantino:
#2 – Inglourious Basterds
Tarantino cheekily ends his 2009 World War II fantasy Inglourious Basterds with the line “I think this just might be my masterpiece.” He was on to something.
That line is spoken by Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine, after carving a swastika into a Nazi’s forehead so the man will never be able to blend into polite society after the war. That uncompromising thirst for justice drives this film, which rewrites history in brazen and thoroughly satisfying ways (much as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would a decade later).