While David Bowie was widely celebrated for his groundbreaking music and influence on the world of fashion, the quality of his lyrics was often unfairly overlooked.
Influenced as much by fine art and highbrow literature as he was traditional rock and roll platitudes, Bowie was able to work elements of science and dystopian fiction into tracks that otherwise sounded that relatively straight forward glam rock and pop.
It comes as no surprise then that many Bowie fans are turning to social media to share their favourite lines from the late singer's songs.
Favourite Bowie song the Bewlay Brothers, favourite line in all modern music - "It was stalking time for the Moonboys, the Bewlay brothers"— Mark Cocker (@MarkCocker2) January 11, 2016
Oh you pretty Thing ♡ #Bowie— Lil' (@tartinedelama) January 11, 2016
"I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring..." David Bowie— Douglas Gibson (@douglastgibson) January 11, 2016
Ground Control to Major Tom Commencing countdown, engines on Check ignition and may God's love be with you (David Bowie)— Gianfranco Ravasi (@CardRavasi) January 11, 2016
Below are some of our favourite David Bowie lyrics.
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie in 1960s
Davy Jones; life before David Bowie
David Bowie in 1964
David Bowie 'In Mime' at the Middle Earth Club, London, 1968
David Bowie in 1969
David Bowie performing his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1973
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie, with his wife Angela (Angie) and his son Zowie, after receiving an award for his latest record "Ziggy stardust" in Amsterdam, 1974
David Bowie in the 1970s
David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, confirmed his death on Twitter
David Bowie in the 1980s
David Bowie gives a press conference presenting the Japanese movie 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' directed by Nagisa Oshima, during the 36th International Film Festival in Cannes, 1983
David Bowie performs on stage during a concert in La Courneuve, 1987
David Bowie during his concert in West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, 1987
David Bowie shakes hands with Princess Diana, 1993
David Bowie autographs copies of his newest album 'Outside' at the grand opening of a Herald Square music store 26 September 1995 in New York
David Bowie performs at the Panathinaikos stadium in Athens during a rock festival, 1996
David Bowie and his wife, supermodel Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame 12 February in Hollywood, 1997
David Bowie getting ready to perform 'Earthling' at the Phoenix Music Festival in 1997
David Bowie on stage performing during the Tibet House Benefit Concert in New York City, 2001
David Bowie Meltdown concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, June 2002
David Bowie performing during his concert at the Stravinski hall stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, 2002
David Bowie in 'Last Call with Carson Daly' TV programme taping in New York, 2003
David Bowie walks with his with wife Iman and daughter Alexandria (2) in New York, 2003
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, in Newport, UK
David Bowie poses with a pig, 2004
David Bowie and Kate Moss at the 2005 CFDA Awards dinner party at the New York Public Library in New York City, 2005
David Bowie and model Iman arrive to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, 2008
David Bowie anf Tilda Swinton at the MoMA's 6th Annual Film Benefit in New York, 2013
Flowers are left below a mural of David Bowie on the wall of a Morley's store in Brixton on 11 January 2016
“This is Major Tom to Ground Control / I'm stepping through the door / And I'm floating in a most peculiar way / 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.“
Devoid of flowery language, Bowie’s arguably most famous song embraces simple descriptions of the distant Earth to conjure up the feelings of awe, otherness and alienation felt by Major Tom. The song was jointly awarded the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and composition in 1969, along with Peter Sarstedt's Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?.
An Occasional Dream
“I recall how we lived / On the corner of a bed / And we'd speak of a Swedish room / Of hessian and wood / And we'd talk with our eyes / Of the sweetness in our lives / And tomorrows of rich surprise / Some things we could do.”
The lyrics in this gentle folk track perfectly capture the feeling of a new relationship; looking forward to the future and so wrapped-up in one another that the rest of the world may as well not exist.
The Man Who Sold the World
“When all the world was very young / And mountain magic heavy hung / The supermen would walk in file / Guardians of a loveless isle.”
Simple alliteration and evocative phrasing help turn this track from 1970’s Ziggy Stardust album into a haunting epic. The song's title may be inspired by Robert A. Heinlein's 1949 science fiction novella The Man Who Sold the Moon but the lyrics themselves are believed to have drawn influence from horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and 19th century poet William Hughes Mearns.
Life on Mars
“Sailors fighting in the dance hall / Oh man! Look at those cavemen go / 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 bestselling show / Is there life on Mars?”
Inspired in equal measure by Ray Davies’ simplistic social commentary and Salvador Dali’s oddball surrealism, the song is also dripping in knowing references to musical history. The lyrics “Look at those cavemen go,” for example, is taken from the doo-wop hit Alley Oop by the Argyles.
“Let's dance - put on your red shoes and dance the blues.”
A real fan favourite, largely for the way he opts to keep it incredibly simple when describing the primal forces driving the desire to have a good time. As always with Bowie, the story was more complicated, with the lyric taken from the 1948 film The Red Shoes, which itself was based on a Hans Christian Anderson story.Reuse content