Poll: The Bowie Compilation Album To Have When You’re Having Only One [part 2]

[…continued form last post]

As it turns out we were a bit hasty with last posting. I focused on some titles at the expense of others due to the time factor in writing these posts. PPM is written during my lunch hour as it’s usually the most free time I have during the day. But as the plentiful comments to the last post have made clear, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

When it comes down to anthologizing Bowie’s decade of 1970-1980, there were several other titles that I shamefully neglected last post. I knowingly left out “ChangesTwoBowie” for no good reason that I could ascertain. And then I forgot all about this one!

RCA | US | LP | 1982 | ABL1-4239

David Bowie: Original Soundtrack From the Film ChristianE F. – US – LP [1982]

  1. V-2 Schneider
  2. TVC-15 [7″ 3:29 edit]
  3. Heroes / Helden [unique Eng/Ger. mashup mix]
  4. Boys Keep Swinging
  5. Sense Of Doubt
  6. Station To Station [live]
  7. Look Back In Anger
  8. Stay [3:21 US 7″ edit]
  9. Warszawa

david bowie - heroes-helden cover artThe OST to “Christiane F.” was released to the 1981 German film “Christiane F. Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo” based on the harrowing memoir of being a teenage heroin addict living in Berlin in the late 70s. Here we see the belated 1982 US release of the album, which now sported a collage with a prominent image of Bowie’s performance as himself in the film. The mix here was strictly on the “Stationtostation” through “Lodger” era, and thus was an unimpeachable focus on the second half of Bowie’s golden decade. Glad to see the jaunty “V-2 Schneider” here but there were a pair of seven inch edits here as well as the live version of “Station To Station” from “Stage” and the German-only mashup of the English/German versions of “Heroes/Helden” at seen at right. In all honesty, this was the Bowie music that teenage Germans should have been listening to in the late 70s, but it was a shame about all of the drugs and prostitution.

RCA | US | LP | 1981 | AFL1-4202

Davie Bowie: ChangesTwoBowie – US – LP [1981]

  1. Aladdin Sane [1913-1938-197?] / On Broadway
  2. Oh! You Pretty Things
  3. Starman
  4. 1984
  5. Ashes To Ashes
  6. Sound And Vision
  7. Fashion
  8. Wild Is The Wind
  9. John I’m Only Dancing (Again) 1975
  10. D.J.

1981 brought a much needed update to the “Changes#” series of Bowie greatest hits compilations, and I always discounted this one, because instead of picking up in 1977 and moving to 1980, it tried to have things both ways. But having only four tracks from “Low” to “Scary Monsters [And Super Creeps]” was a huge error to my eyes. Six of the cuts here retread the same 1972-1976 territory of “ChangesOneBowie.” [insert foghorn SFX] This album should have been able to dive deep into the fertile growth period Bowie had in that time period. When he made my absolute favorite of his music.

Adding insult to injury was the cover design, with a mediocre full color Greg Gorman portrait that had a terrible type treatment as well. It looked enough like the layout to “ChangesOneBowie” to remind you how much better that cover looked in comparison. And it was cheating to include “Wild Is the Wind” just because some RCA exec thought it could stand as a single five years later on the strength of its inclusion here. I remember seeing the video they made for that on MTV in 1982 and being incredulous that they went back in 1981 to make one. The band in the clip had Bowie’s PA Coco Schwab as the guitarist [!] though Mel Gaynor [soon to join Simple Minds] and Tony Visconti were miming as the rhythm section.

RCA | US | LP | 1983 | PL 14792

David Bowie: Golden Years – US – LP [1983]

  1. Fashion
  2. Red Sails
  3. Look Back In Anger
  4. I Can’t Explain
  5. Ashes To Ashes
  6. Golden Years
  7. Joe The Lion
  8. Scary Monsters [And Super Creeps]
  9. Wild Is The Wind

Finally, there was yet another “Let’s Dance” cash-in compilation from RCA with deceptive coloration called “Golden Years” that The Press Music Reviews alerted me to as I was not even aware of this one. With that cover shot from the “Serious Moonlight” tour, they could have called it “Golden Skin.” Even “Golden Hair!” He looked oppressively yellow and despite what Bowie himself thought about that, it was clearly not his best color

The music it contained seemed to be pretty random with it being yet another ’76-’80 era compilation, but the devil here was in the details. And the details were actually the most interesting thing about this LP. RCA thought it was a good idea to pull tracks from the set lists that Bowie was selling to the “Let’s Dance” tour audience that dated back to his late 70s RCA era! So if Johnny went to see the “Serious Moonlight” tour and wondered about all of those other songs Bowie sang, here they were in a single E-Z package for purchase. Incredible.

Now we’ll repost the poll with all of these albums. Anyone who has already voted may do so again. I could have repopulated your earlier vote in the new poll, but what if you had preferred “ChangesTwoBowie?” It’s not my cup of tea, but your mileage may vary.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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13 Responses to Poll: The Bowie Compilation Album To Have When You’re Having Only One [part 2]

  1. David says:

    I had to go with Changesone.

    This article made it obvious that a single disc bowie comp for his most fertile and overstuffed decade is a thankless task.

    While I prefer the music from the second half of the decade, Bowieone hangs together and looks better than any of the other comps.

    If only it had a decent big brother in Bowiestwo.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      David – Your first sentence nails the ultimate conundrum of these posts. And I certainly can’t fault your choice. “ChangesOneBowie” set the bar impossibly high for all subsequent Bowie comps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t be done on a single disc.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      postpostmoderndad – I hear you. Bowie is super challenging, but there is one other artist who I’ve struggled with for decades to made a simple compilation that showed their full breadth. Associates/Billy MacKenzie would be even more difficult to anthologize.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely done sir. I will stand by Golden Years, albeit as you say yet another Let’s Dance label cash-grab, simply for including Joe the Lion, Red Sails and Look Back in Anger.


  4. Dave Turner says:

    Changed my vote from ChangesOneBowie to the brilliant Christiane F. soundtrack. Purely because I love the film and the soundtrack sums up it’s bleakness and beauty perfectly.


  5. Jeremy Shatan says:

    “In all honesty, this was the Bowie music that teenage Germans should have been listening to in the late 70s, but it was a shame about all of the drugs and prostitution.” HahhahahHAH – this had me chuckling for a while. I changed my vote to ChangesTwoBowie – sacrilege, I know, but that was the comp that became my gateway to full-on fandom.


  6. Reconsidering the expanded list, I think ChangesTwoBowie edges the crown away from Chameleon as the best overall sampler of that entire decade.

    Obviously, many fans might prefer comps that focus more heavily on the Berlin period, but across that decade Bowie managed to make a lot of music of wildly varying styles — enough to blow the minds of typical fan-types and make him commercially hard to exploit — that a single compilation that tried to represent those wild career swings in a way that fans of his most recent work would like is a pretty tall order!

    Hunky Dory is my favourite of his early 70s albums. Diamond Dogs is an uneven follow-up to Ziggy IMO, so I’m very happy he found a (bewildering but brilliant) new interest with Young Americans, with Station to Station transitioning away from soul and into … Krautrock-influenced new territory for him is the best way I think I can put it, at least right now. Lately I’ve been educating myself more on the roots of Krautrock, building on what I knew of Can, Mobius/Rodelius/Cluster/Amon Duul, Organisation/Kraftwerk et al … it’s becoming less of a mystery what lured Bowie away from being a white soul singer.

    From the point of view of a radio listener, though, I think each of these phases is nearly unrecognizable as being the same artist save for that voice and some of the lyric styles. It is hard to imagine any other artist pivoting from blues-rock to performance-rock to soul to Berlin art-rock in the space of one presidental term of office and keeping their fanbase, but the guy was just as interesting in his artistry as he was mesmerisingly good-looking.


  7. David Simpson says:

    My favourite Bowie one-disc compilation is iSelect, initially given away free with a British newspaper but later given a more conventional release.

    The songs were picked by Bowie, who wrote extensive sleeve notes which were published in the paper, then I think appeared in the booklet of the USA release. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISelect for more. You can read the sleeve notes at https://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1030121/DAVID-BOWIE-I-went-buy-shoes–I-came-Life-On-Mars.html

    I also like the three compilations The Best Of David Bowie 1969/1974, The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979 and The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 which neatly sweep up nearly twenty years of Bowie in three collections. The only one I own is The Best Of David Bowie 1980/1987 which I bought for all the film songs on it, and for the accompanying DVD of videos.
    These collections are also available as a box set called The Platinum Edition, albeit without the eighties DVD. Here’s a link to what’s collected together. https://www.discogs.com/master/54319-David-Bowie-The-Platinum-Collection


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