Soundtrack of my Life – David Bowie

Soundtrack of my LifeThis is one of a regular series of articles highlighting some of the music that has played a part in my life.

You’ll find a range of songs from old to new. You’ll probably find music that has been part of the soundtrack of your life too.

You can also check out some of the other songs that make up the soundtrack of my life.

David Bowie

While my regular Soundtrack of my Life posts feature one song that means something to me, I can’t just choose one David Bowie song. Since I heard of his death several days ago I’ve had a couple of hundred of his songs playing over and over on my iPod. I think I’m almost at the place where I can start listening to other music again. Obviously I can’t include all his songs here so I’ll limit myself to three. Choosing those three will be hard enough.

So much has already been written about Bowie over many years and especially this past week so I won’t try to give any kind of comprehensive history of his career. I’ll just add a few of my personal reflections. I couldn’t possibly write all that Bowie’s music has meant to me over the years because different songs and albums have played their part in so many seasons in my life. Let’s just say that hearing that he had passed away was devastating for me, especially as he had kept his illness so quiet. It was so totally unexpected.

Bowie’s music and lyrics have resonated so strongly with me over so many years that mourning his loss was like mourning a close friend. He was no saint but he has played a significant part in my life through his music over several decades.

Space Oddity

The first song I recall from Bowie is Space Oddity. Released back in 1969, when I was just six years old. It charted in Australia when I was nine, in early 1973. It’s a fabulous track from an amazing album. There’s so much more to the Space Oddity album than the title track so make some time to check out the rest of the tracks.

I’ve collected quite a few Bowie albums over the years and while critics have praised some more than others, I love them all. Some thought that Bowie ‘sold out’ with his more commercially acceptable Let’s Dance album, but I reckon anything that would put his music in front of a wider audience was a good move. I was particularly pleased that the album sparked a world tour. The Serious Moonlight Tour came to Perth in November 1983. I was there at the Perth Entertainment Centre to see him perform a mixture of old and new material. What a show.

David Bowie never seemed to simply stage concerts; they were theatrical performances, each one featuring his latest creation. Bowie didn’t ‘reinvent himself’ as some suggest, he would instead create characters that he would inhabit. The stories from so many since his passing paint the picture of a private, caring man, that was so different to many of the characters we saw on stage throughout his career.

The Let’s Dance album and the Serious Moonlight Tour meant that Bowie was everywhere at the time. He was all over the TV, the radio and definitely on my turntable and in my car cassette player.

This is one of the biggest hits from the Let’s Dance album.

Modern Love

There are so many other songs and stories I could tell about Bowie, like the moment the clock struck midnight on the 1st of January 1984, throwing open the doors of my Ford Transit and blasting his song 1984 as loud as the stereo could handle it. I was at a youth camp and while most stayed inside for their new year’s celebrations, there was a small group pf us that felt that playing Bowie’s Orwell inspired song was the only way to ring in that year.

There was the time that I had to drive home from the country very late at night and playing the Black Tie White Noise album on repeat at fairly high decibels was the only thing keeping me awake on the road.

Yes, there are many, many other times when David Bowie provided the soundtrack to my life, but I’ll post one more song, and that is the soundtrack that plays behind the news of Bowie’s death. None of us knew that the album released just days earlier, on his 69th birthday, would be his parting gift to millions of fans around the world. It’s already been watched well over 20 million times on YouTube and no doubt will be played many more times in coming days, weeks and years.


Whether you’re a Bowie fan or not, his music has probably provided the soundtrack to some of your own life. I’d love to hear your recollections of David Bowie and his music. Please leave your memories and tributes in the comments section of this post.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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