#1061: 1986, David Bowie, Underground

by Ray_North on January 14, 2016

I wanted to post something slightly different in our week of tributes to the life and work of David Bowie – so, I turned to Mrs North and asked her which was her favourite Bowie song – ‘Underground, from Labyrinth’ she answered without hesitation.

I don’t normally allow Mrs North to get too close to controller when it comes to playing music, but, funnily enough, this seemed sort of right. We’ve asked ourselves the question this week who else among ‘rock legends’ would have created such a similar natural outpouring of affection upon their death – sure, we mused about Macca and Jagger, but, even though they are Bowie’s equal in terms of legendary status, neither MacArtney nor Mick Jagger are as relevant to so many generations for so many different reasons as David Bowie, nor have either of them constantly created so many different personas and experimented with so many different styles. I can think of no other artist who has had a career that has spanned forty five years and has been as exciting at the end as it was in the beginning.

Sure, not all of it has been uniformly brilliant – Bowie’s acting tended to leave me cold (though I enjoyed the weirdness of Man Who Fell To Earth) and his mid-80s and 90s musical offering didn’t do much for me either; but for others, such as Mrs North, who is a bit younger than me, this is the David Bowie she remembers best. And how different is he here from the Bowie of HunkyDory or Ziggy Stardust, or Berlin or the last couple of albums which have the wonderfully desperate and devastating quality of finality and completion.

This song won’t feature in many top tens of favourite Bowie songs, and Labyrinth didn’t exactly win many awards, and many will (perhaps rightly) brush quickly over this period of his career – but, it is just as big a part of the legend that is David Bowie as his more critically acclaimed periods, and worthy of a listen if only to remind you that this was a man whose career was perhaps more artistically diverse than any other artist we have ever seen, or will ever see again.

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