Sean Shields B1

David Bowie was born in South London's Brixton neighborhood on January 8, 1947. David showed an interest in music from an early age and began playing the saxophone at age 13. He was greatly influenced by his half-brother Terry, who was nine years older and exposed young David to the worlds of rock music and beat literature.After graduating from Bromley Technical High School at 16, David started working as a commercial artist. He also continued to play music, hooking up with a number of bands and leading a group himself called Davy Jones and the Lower Third.Out of fear of being confused with Davy Jones of The Monkees, David changed his last name to Bowie, a name that was inspired by the Bowie knife.Eventually, Bowie went out on his own. But after recording an unsuccessful solo album, Bowie exited the music world for a temporary period.For several weeks in 1967 he lived at a Buddhist monastery in Scotland. Bowie later started his own mime troupe called Feathers.Around this time he also met the American-born Angela Barnett. The two married on March 20, 1970, and had one son together, whom they nicknamed "Zowie," in 1971, before divorcing in 1980.By early 1969, Bowie had returned full time to music. He signed a deal with Mercury Records and that summer released the single "Space Oddity."As Bowie's celebrity profile increased, so did his desire to keep fans and critics guessing. He claimed he was gay and then introduced the pop world to Ziggy Stardust, Bowie's imagining of a doomed rock star, and his backing group, The Spiders from Mars.His 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, made him a superstar. Dressed in wild costumes that spoke of some kind of wild future, Bowie, portraying Stardust himself, signaled a new age in rock music.But just as quickly as Bowie transformed himself into Stardust, he changed again. He leveraged his celebrity and produced albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. In 1973, he disbanded the Spiders and shelved his Stardust persona.Of course, Bowie's interests didn't just reside with music. His love of film helped land him the title role in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). In 1980, Bowie starred on Broadway in The Elephant Man, and was critically acclaimed for his performance. In 1986, he starred as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the fantasy-adventure film Labyrinth. Bowie was then inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.He kept a low profile for several years until the release of his 2013 album The Next Day, which skyrocketed to number 2 on the Billboardcharts.He released Blackstar, his final album on January 8, 2016, his birthday.The music icon died on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday of cancer.



1 I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
5 We can be Heroes, just for one day
And you, you can be mean
And I, I'll drink all the time
'Cause we're lovers, and that is a fact
Yes we're lovers, and that is that
10 Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time,
just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d'you say?
15 I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing,
nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
20 Oh we can be Heroes,
just for one day
I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
25 We can be Heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day
I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns shot above our heads(over our heads)
30 And we kissed,
as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes,
35 just for one day
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
We can be Heroes
Just for one day
40 We can be Heroes
We're nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying,
then you better not stay
But we could be safer,
45 just for one day
Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh,
just for one day

“Heroes” might just be the greatest love song ever written. The song describes two people in a relationship, where one is trying so hard to keep their relationship together, and the other is realizing that they should break up. The singer is telling us in lines 1-5 that they can be “king and queen” and they can face the evil of the world together. In line 6-7 the singer talks about their individual flaws where “you can be mean” and “I’ll drink all the time”. In light of their flaws the singer wants to work through them and beat the villainess in their flaws because they are meant to be together. In lines 10-13, the singer faces reality and realizes that the relationship just will not be able to work out. Lines 15 and 16 gives us the imagery of a wide open ocean to live in to live freely with the one that the singer loves. Lines 17-19 shows us that the singer has accepted that it will not work out; that they might not even be right for each other. “Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day” (Lines 20-21); the singer tells us that he still hopes that they will work out. Lines 27-30 is a memory of them when they were truly in love. “The wall” refers to the time Bowie was living in Berlin, and he would see a couple secretly meeting at the Berlin Wall. In line 30, the singer is reminding the lover of the time that they thought there love was never ending. Line 31 “and the shame was on the other side” tells us that both of them were cheating on someone, but they did not care because they loved each other. The singer in Lines 33-40 tells us that the singer still believes that there is hope for their relationship to last. Lines 41- 43 shows that the singer knows that they should break up, but is doubting it with “Mabey we’re lying”. The singer then adds in two “just for one day” to intend that they can always get back together even if it is just for one day. I think that David Bowie titled this “Heroes” because heroes battle out the most evil of villains, kind of like how couples face the most troublesome of times.

“Space Oddity”


1 Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom
5 Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition
and may God's love be with you
[spoken] Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff
This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
10 And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare
This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
15 And the stars look very different today
For here Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do
20 Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
25 Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
30 Can you....
Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.

This David Bowie classic is about alienating and distancing oneself from society. The first 9 lines set the scene to the amazing story. It gives us the character Major Tom, and shows us that he is an astronaut about to go into space. This was very extraordinary at the time of writing of this song since it was during the time of the space race. Line 10 expresses something that a regular person would care about, but it is so insignificant to Major Tom looking down on the world. Line 11 dares our Protagonist to leave the normal society to be all alone and different. Line 12 gives us the first words from Major Tom. He is ready to isolate himself because he knows he is different from everyone else. “And the stars look very different today”, is coming from Major Tom saying that things look very different in isolation from the normal crowd. Lines 16- 19 describe a very sad earth. The “tin can” that Major Tom is sitting in is the only escape he can get from the sad “Blue” world. “Far above the world” Major Tom is stating that he is very different from normal society. Line 21 translates that he is feeling very calm and he is away from the sad society. “And I think my space ship knows which way to go” tells us that he knows that he is different and wants to stay different. Lines 25-29 shows us that he has escaped the norm of society, and that people don’t recognize him anymore. “Here I am floating round my tin can” stating he is not sitting anymore, but floating meaning that he is enjoying being different. “Far above the Moon ’And there’s nothing I can do”(Line 32 and 34). The moon always was thought to have aliens on it; he is alienating himself. The final line repeats that he can’t do anything to the depressing normal society.

“Life on Mars”

1 It's a God-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling no
And her daddy has told her to go
5 But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she's hooked to the silver screen
But the film is a saddening bore
10 For she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on
Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man look at those cavemen go
15 It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
20 Is there life on Mars?
It's on America's tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
'Cause Lennon's on sale again
25 See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
30 'Cause I wrote it ten times or more
It's about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on
Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man look at those cavemen go
35 It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
40 Is there life on Mars?

“Life on Mars” is one of the most praised David Bowie songs. The song expresses the urge to escape the villainess of reality. Bowie starts the song with, “it’s a God-awful small affair”; this tells us that this song is about all of the evils in life, whether big or small. “Mousy” hair is a dull brown color, which relates to the first line of it being a small immoral. Lines 3 and 4 indicate another vile with the girl’s parents fighting over the smallest of things, her going to the movies. In line 5, her friend stands her up, adding another to the list of evils. Her “sunken dream” is her disappointment with reality. Line 7 indicates that the theater is or mostly is vacant, only adding emphasis to her loneliness. She sits in the dark theater alone awaiting to escape reality with line 8 but something goes wrong in line 9. In line 9, “the film is a saddening bore”; this is disappointing to the girl because the movie has become too much of reality. We expect movies to eject us from reality, but this movie is reflecting reality so it is not interesting. Line 11 is my favorite line in this song. “She could spit in the eyes of fools” reflects to the dumb directors and writers that have written this movie, which sadly is true in a lot of today’s movies. Lines 13-20 gives us our first look at the impacting chorus. Lines 13-15 shows us the brutality of reality. Lines 16 and 17 gives us the injustice that the world has. Lines 18 and 19 gives us another pair of great lines, where Bowie takes us back to the evilness of entertainment. “The bestselling show” is actually reality. Movies are top entertainment, but now they reflect reality; so it makes a complete circle back referring to reality. Line 20 brings the iconic phrase and title “is there life on Mars” into the story. The phrase brings the meaning of the song into light with the question is there really an escape from reality. Lines 21 and 22 bring the American star Mickey Mouse into a conjunction with commercialism, and that entertainment become greatly influenced by profit and not want the people want. Lines 23 and 24 bring the audience some irony. Entertainment and entertainers often sells the public on that they, the audience, have been wronged by entertainment; but the irony is the public will buy entertainment to hear the performers say that the audience have been wronged. It sounds like they have been mistreated just for buying the entertainment. This indicating that “Lennon is on sale again”; Lennon of course meaning John Lennon the famous entertainer. Lines 25 and 26 refer the mass tourism of all over the globe. “Mice” referring to the tourists as annoying pests that plague their country. “Rule Britannia” is a phrase often used by English soldiers mentioning British Nationalism. Lines 27 and 28 are saying that ruling the elite, British Nationals, cannot and will not be done at the hands of ordinary people (“my mother, my dog and clowns). Line 30 now puts us in the filmmakers’ point of view. I believe this is referring to Bowie, and I think he is saying that he repeats this message in almost every one of his songs. Line 31 and 32 say that we can get rid of the evils of the world if we focus on the problems of violence and injustice. The chorus repeats the scenes of barbarism and abuse. His last line of, “Is there life on Mars?” implants the meaning of this song on the listener while they song ends. Movies are too escape reality, such as hits like Star Wars, but unfortunately we cannot escape reality, for every movie and every source of entertainment has at least a glimmer of reality in them.


1Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now
5 Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below
Ain’t that just like me
10 By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your a**
This way or no way
15 You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me
Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

“Lazarus” is defined as David Bowie’s final farewell song for us, his fans. This song is about Bowies’ life and he also describes how his death should be portrayed to his fans. David Bowie titles this song “Lazarus”. He titles it this not focusing on the resurrection of Lazarus, but the death of the biblical character. To start off the song Bowie puts, “Look up here, I’m in heaven”; this is immediately telling us that he is writing us his farewell song. Line 2 focuses on the cause of his death. He died of cancer and he never told the public about it, until he had already died. This relates to Lazarus because he too died of an incurable disease. Line 3 talks about his own overwhelming fame that will never be taken away from him. Lines 5 and 6 describe Bowie in danger of death, but turns right around and claims it’s alright because he has nothing left to lose, since he has lived an amazing life. In line 7, Bowie tells us that all of the medications that he is on his only making his death worse. Lines 8-9 is relaying to us that he has let go of this world, and his following statement, “Ain’t that just like me” is describing himself and what he has wanted all along; he has always wanted to be disinvolved from the wretched world we live in. Line 10 and 11 tells us of “New York” and how he was a “king”. New York is considered one of the most prestigious places to be for show business, so he became a “king”. In line 12 and 13, Bowie used up all of his money and was looking for someone. A lot of stars use a lot of their money, but Bowie had an aggressive drug addiction in part of his career; and after almost losing his career he could have been looking for the grim reaper to bring death. “This way or no way” refers to that death was coming so better now than never. In the last stanza, Bowie repeats his dream and now his accomplishment of getting away from this evil world. He also repeats in the last stanza the symbol of a bluebird. A bluebird symbolizes freedom, only expressing his desperation for freedom more. The final words Bowie ever gives us is, “Ain’t that just like me?” Bowie leaves us that his question has finally been answered, and ironically it happens at death. His question for his entire career was, “Is there an escape from reality.” Bowie tried to escape reality his whole career with his disguising alter egos, but only was to find his answer at death.

Works Cited

Biography.com Editors. David Bowie Biography. The Biography.com website. Web. January 28, 2016

AZlyrics.com Editors. David Bowie lyrics “Space Oddity”.azlyrics.com. Web. January 21, 2016

AZlyrics.com Editors. David Bowie lyrics “Heroes”.azlyrics.com. Web. January 21, 2016

Genius.com Editors. Life on Mars? Lyrics. Genius.com. Web. January 27 2016

Genius.com Editors. Lazarus Lyrics. Genius.com. Web. January 27 2016