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From Jacqueline Kovacs, contributing editor:
1. Young Americans, 1975
"Young Americans" is one of my favourite David Bowie songs. The infectious beat, wicked saxophone and lyrics jam-packed with American cultural references are a killer combo. Plus, as a Beatles fan, I like the little "I read the news today, oh boy" tribute to the famous Sgt. Pepper song "A Day in the Life."
I also love the pairing of Bowie with Mick Jagger in the goofy "Dancing in the Street" video back in the 1980s and Nirvana's unplugged cover of "The Man Who Sold the World."
From Alexandra Donaldson, contributing assistant editor:
2. Moonage Daydream, 1971
Most people will recognize this tune from its inclusion in the 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and true, it’s sort of about space. But mostly it’s a catchy song with lyrics that don’t quite make sense, best listened to through headphones with the volume turned way up. It’s impossible to pick a favourite from the incredible Ziggy Stardust album, but I never get tired of this one. It has always reminded me that great music does not need to make lyrical sense. It just needs to move you.
3. Oh! You Pretty Things, 1971
This is one of the more stripped-down Bowie tunes with just a piano to accompany Bowie’s voice for most of the song—until the catchy chorus. A gloomy and pensive ditty about generations (or aliens, depending on whom you ask) it is featured on the album Hunky Dory. An interesting cover was done by the band Au Revoir Simone that I think captured the bareness and melancholy of the original. Put this on when you want to listen to something beautiful as you wallow.
From Julia McEwen, fashion and beauty director:
4. Life on Mars, 1971
Every time I hear Bowie's "Life on Mars," I'm transported to the brown-leather backseats of my Dad's turquoise '89 Century Buick. It was a song we listened to time and time again on a mixed tape while we drove to our cottage. In 2005, the song came back to me in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou—one of my favourite Wes Anderson movies. "Life on Mars" was covered by Seu Jorge, a Portuguese singer and musician, for the film, along with several other Bowie songs.
5. Rebel Rebel, 1974
Diamond Dogs is one of my all-time favourite albums, but "Rebel Rebel" is the record's standout hit. It's said to be his most-covered track, which makes total sense because it's so catchy and upbeat. I just want to swing my hips every time I hear it.
6. Space Oddity, 1969
This was the first song my partner mastered on the guitar, so I've hear it upwards of 1,000 times. Am I sick of it yet? Nope—I'm looking forward to listening to it at least another 1,000 times more. Obviously, the best cover of Space Oddity goes to Commander Chris Hadfield while he was aboard the International Space Station.
Chris Hadfield visited the Canadian Living offices when he was a guest editor. Check him out playing guitar with us!