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David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars in 1972

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: We pay tribute to one of the greatest artists of all time, David Bowie.

David Bowie, “Suffragette City” (1972)

For whatever reason, I’ve never been much of a Bowie person. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like him—I did, quite a bit. But so far I haven’t had that laying-on-the-ground-questioning-myself “holy shit I love David Bowie” moment so many of my coworkers and friends have been relaying this week.


I do really love his songs, though. On Monday, when I woke up and heard the news, the first thing I could think to do while I was getting ready was to sing “Space Oddity,” the first Bowie song I ever really knew word for word. While I showered, I belted out lines like “I’m floating in the most peculiar way,” annoying my husband, scaring my dog, and probably doing a disservice to the Thin White Duke’s memory, but it felt good and right at the time, so I did it.

My favorite Bowie song, however, is “Suffragette City.” I didn’t discover its greatness until sophomore or junior year of college, but when I did, it was there forever. All swagger and attitude, “Suffragette City” is the perfect song for fuck you kiss-offs (“Wham, bam, thank you ma’am”), Saturday night pre-gaming, and sweaty bar dancing. I honestly have no idea what it’s about, what the lyrics are, or what Suffragette City really means, but who cares? Like so much of Bowie’s work, it lives on its visceral strengths. And like all of Bowie’s work, it’ll live on even now that he’s gone.

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