Glam Rock

David Bowie

Biography

The cliché about David Bowieis that he's a musical chameleon, adapting himself according to fashion and trends. He demonstrated remarkable skill for perceiving musical trends at his peak in the '70s. After spending several years in the late '60s as a mod and as an all-around music-hall entertainer, Bowie reinvented himself as a hippie singer/songwriter. Prior to his breakthrough in 1972, he recorded a proto-metal record and a pop/rock album, eventually redefining glam rock with his ambiguously sexy Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy made Bowie an international star, yet he wasn't content to continue to churn out glitter rock. By the mid-'70s, he developed an effete, sophisticated version of Philly soul that he dubbed "plastic soul," which eventually morphed into the eerie avant-pop of 1976's Station to Station. Shortly afterward, he relocated to Berlin, where he recorded three experimental electronic albums with Brian Eno. At the dawn of the '80s, Bowie was still at the height of his powers, yet following his blockbuster dance-pop album Let's Dance in 1983, he slowly sank into mediocrity before salvaging his career in the early '90s. Even when he was out of fashion in the '80s and '90s, it was clear that Bowie was one of the most influential musicians in rock, for better and for worse. Each one of his phases in the '70s sparked a number of subgenres, including punk, new wave, goth rock, the new romantics, and electronica. Few rockers ever had such lasting impact.

"It's on Amerikas tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
'Cause Lennon's on sale again "

 

 

 

 

 

"Life on Mars"

Lyrics

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
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
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
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
Is there life on Mars?

It's on Amerikas tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
'Cause Lennon's on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
'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
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
Is there life on Mars?

Analysis

Life on mars is about society, about how it’s all a ridiculous joke.
and how people still act like "cavemen".

Bowie’s hoping that maybe there's something better on mars – that somewhere there's some intelligent life or society better than this.

"take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy I wonder if they’ll ever know that they're the best selling show" People are dim-witted and they make a ridiculous scene out of everything

"the film was a saddened bore because I've lived it ten times or more" its all gotten boring – society – everything;

its gotten old like when you watch a movie too many times in a row and
everything is the same and it never ends

"Suffragette City"

Lyrics

(hey man) oh leave me alone you know
(hey man) oh henry, get off the phone, I gotta
(hey man) I gotta straighten my face
This mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place

(hey man) my schooldays insane
(hey man) my works down the drain
(hey man) well she’s a total blam-blam
She said she had to squeeze it but she..and then she..

Oh don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back from suffragette city
Oh don’t lean on me man
Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my suffragette city
Is outta sight...she’s all right

(hey man) ah henry, don’t be unkind, go away
(hey man) I can’t take you this time, no way
(hey man) droogie don’t crash here
There’s only room for one and here she comes, here she comes

Oh don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back on suffragette city
Oh don’t lean on me man
Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my suffragette city
Is outta sight...she’s all right

Oh hit me!

Oh don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back from suffragette city
Oh don’t lean on me man
Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my suffragette city
Don’t lean on me man, cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back from suffragette city
Oh don’t lean on me man
Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my suffragette city
Is outta sight...she’s all right

A suffragette city, a suffragette city
I’m back on suffragette city, I’m back on suffragette city
Ooo, sufraggete city, ooo, suffragette city
Oooh-how, sufragette city, oooh-how, sufragette,

Ohhh, wham bam thank you ma’am!
A suffragette city, a suffragette city
Quite all right
A suffragette city
Too fine
A suffragette city, ooh, a sufragette city
Oh, my sufragette city, oh my suffragette city
Oh, suffragette
Suffragette!

Analysis

This whole song is about bi-sexuality and how the character in the song, most likely Bowie, is telling his friend, Henry, that he loves the comfort and sex of a woman and so doesn't want to have anymore sexual relations with a man. This is shown when Bowie sings about a boy crashing at his house but he doesn't want him because 'there is only room for one and here she come' He doesn't want the sex with men as he sings 'don't lean on me man' and then saying that he can't tempt him back from the love of a woman saying that 'you can't afford the ticket' to get Bowie back 'from Suffragette City' Suffragette City being the love of women, instead the word suffragette is used rather than the word ‘woman’ The word ‘suffragette’ means the women in the earlier 20th century who fought for equal rights.