Golden Years (song)
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Station to Station|
|B-side||"Can You Hear Me"|
|Released||21 November 1975|
|Recorded||September 1975 at Cherokee Studios (Los Angeles, California)|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
"Golden Years" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie in 1975. It was originally released in a shortened form as a single in November 1975, and in its full-length version in January the following year on the Station to Station album. It was the first track completed during the Station to Station sessions, a period when Bowie's cocaine addiction was at its peak. At one stage it was slated to be the album's title track.
Music and lyrics
When it first appeared as a single in 1975, "Golden Years" presented a somewhat skewed view of the forthcoming album, being more similar in style to the Young Americans funk/soul material from earlier in 1975 than the rest of Station to Station. The latter foreshadowed the Krautrock-influenced Euro-centric and electronic music that Bowie would move into with his late-1970s 'Berlin Trilogy'.
Bowie was looking to emulate something of the glitzy nostalgia of "On Broadway", which he was playing on piano in the studio when he came up with "Golden Years". He has said that he offered it to Elvis Presley to perform, but that Presley declined it. Both Angela Bowie and Ava Cherry claim to have been the inspiration for the song.
Release and aftermath
Bowie allegedly got drunk to perform the song for the American TV show Soul Train; at the time he was one of the few white artists to appear on the program. The resultant video clip was used to promote the single, and assisted Bowie's continued commercial success in the United States, where it charted for 16 weeks and reached No. 10 in early-1976. It achieved No. 8 in the UK and No. 17 in Canada. The song was also a top ten hit in Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. As a digital download, it reached number four in the Hungarian singles chart in 2016.
"Golden Years" was played sporadically by Bowie on the 1976 tour, if at all, but regularly on the 1983, 1990 and 2000 tours. It appears on the 1983 concert film Serious Moonlight. The song was used as the theme song of Stephen King's Golden Years, and in the pilot of the CBS series Swingtown.
- "Golden Years" (Bowie) – 3:22
- "Can You Hear Me?" (Bowie) – 5:04
- David Bowie: Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
- Warren Peace: Percussion, Backing Vocals
- Carlos Alomar: Electric Guitar
- Earl Slick: Electric Guitar on "Golden Years"
- George Murray: Bass on "Golden Years"
- Dennis Davis: Drums on "Golden Years"
- Harry Maslin: Melodica on "Golden Years"
- Willie Weeks: Bass on "Can You Hear Me"
- Mike Garson: Piano on "Can You Hear Me"
- Andy Newmark: Drums on "Can You Hear Me"
- David Sanborn: Saxophone on "Can You Hear Me"
- Pablo Rosario: Percussion on "Can You Hear Me"
- Larry Washington: Congas on "Can You Hear Me"
- Ava Cherry, Robin Clark, Luther Vandross: Backing vocals on "Can You Hear Me"
- The song appeared as the B-side of an alternate version of the single "Fame".
- It was released as the B-side of the U.S. release of "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" in December 1979.
- In November 1981 it appeared as the B-side of the single "Wild Is the Wind".
- It was released as part of the RCA Records Life Time picture disc set and the Fashion Picture Disc Set.
- Several Bowie compilations have featured the song:
- The 7in. single version appeared on The Best of Bowie,The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979, Best of Bowie, The Platinum Collection, and Nothing Has Changed.
- The song was included on the album Trainspotting #2: Music from the Motion Picture, Vol. #2 (1997).
- The song was included on the original soundtrack of A Knight's Tale (2001), starring Heath Ledger. The original film score was written for the film by Hollywood composer Carter Burwell. One scene in the movie is a formal dance, which calls for courtly music based on Burwell's love theme to segue into David Bowie's song "Golden Years". It presented several challenges. First, the whole dance had been choreographed and filmed to an arbitrary tempo which begins at a slow courtly pace and speeds up and up until Bowie's song kicks in. Burwell had to match that tempo and the choreography after the fact and also find some credible path from a formal and restrained dance to a joyful '70s pop tune. They obtained Bowie's permission to pull tracks from his multitrack master of the song so they could mix these into Burwell's arrangement, helping to introduce his song before it has really begun. The end result is not on either of the CDs which were released (song or score soundtrack). Tony Visconti, who produced the original recording of the song, supervised the remix session, and Bowie dropped by as well to hear what they found in his multitrack.
David Bowie vs KCRW
|"Golden Years David Bowie vs KCRW"|
|Single by David Bowie|
|Recorded||Cherokee Studios, Hollywood CA|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
- "Golden Years (Single Version)" – 3:27
- "Golden Years (Anthony Valdez KCRW Remix)" – 4:22
- "Golden Years (Eric J. Lawrence KCRW Remix)" – 3:11
- "Golden Years (Chris Douridas KCRW Remix)" – 4:25
- "Golden Years (Jeremy Sole KCRW Remix)" – 4:37
|Single by Loose Ends|
|from the album So Where Are You?|
|Released||July 1985 (UK)|
|Loose Ends singles chronology|
Loose Ends version
"Golden Years" is the sixth single by English R&B band Loose Ends from their second studio album, So Where Are You?, and was released in July 1985 by Virgin Records. The single is a cover of the David Bowie song. The 7in. Version is slightly different from the Album Version: it contains more vocals from Jane Eugene, and vocal loops of the word 'run' during the instrumental break, among other changes. The video featured the band performing in a derelict warehouse, intercut with scenes of the band playing crooks stealing a case of gold bars, which is torn open and the bars cascade down a staircase. Although the video was used to promote the single in the UK on ITV's 'TV-am' and Channel 4's 'Soul Train', and the group performed the song on BBC's 'Wogan', the single only reached No. 59.
7" Single: VS795
- "Golden Years" 3.48
- "Let's Rock" 3.51 - listed as 4.57 but actually fades out at 3.51
12" Single: VS795-12
- "Golden Years" (Remix) 5.30
- "Let's Rock" 4.57
- Nina Hagen – Live recording from Fearless/Angstlos tour
- Loose Ends – So Where Are You? (1985)
- SF Bay Area band Lifeunderwater covered the song during their live performances in the late 1980s.
- Marilyn Manson – Dead Man on Campus soundtrack (1998)
- Amberjack Rice, Walter Traggert and Breakfastime – Only Bowie (1995)
- Swell – Crash Course for the Ravers – A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie (1996)
- Track One A.B. – Reverie (1999)
- Essra Mohawk – Spiders from Venus: Indie Women Artists and Female-Fronted Bands Cover David Bowie (2003)
- Count Zero – .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
- Mascara – from the Ensign Records LP See You in LA (1979) featuring Luther Vandross
- Susumu Yokota – Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered (2008)
- James Murphy – While We're Young Motion Picture Soundtrack (2015)
- Mojica, Frank (4 October 2010). "David Bowie - Station to Station [Special Edition]". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 1 June 2016. C1 control character in
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- David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.258–280
- Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: pp.82–83
- Christopher Sandford (1998). Bowie: Loving the Alien: p.146
- Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: pp.75–80
- Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5