David Bowie – Golden Years

Bowie wrote this with the intention of giving it to Elvis Presley, but he reportedly refused the song. Elvis died two years later.

I’m a fan of Bowie but I do favor his seventies releases the most. Like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Bowie could shed a persona and adopt another …and do it well. His persona on this was The Thin White Duke. 

The Return of the Thin White Duke... - First Church of the Sacred  Silversexual, San Francisco | Facebook

Bowie performed Golden Years on Soul Train. Soul Train was a big deal to Bowie because he grew up listening to many of the American R&B who appeared on the show. He reportedly got a little drunk beforehand to take the edge off…footage does appear to show him stumbling over his lyrics.

The song was on the album Station to Station that peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #5 in the UK, and #2 in Canada in 1976. 

Golden Years peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100, #17 in Canada, and #8 in 1976. 

 

From Songfacts

Angela Bowie claims this was written for her. Bowie does appear to be addressing someone specific in this song, encouraging them to revel in their “golden years”: “Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel, come get up my baby, look at that sky, life’s begun, nights are warm and the days are young.”

Bowie made an appearance on Soul Train singing (actually, lip synching) “Golden Years” and “Fame” on November 4, 1975. Few white performers had appeared on the show, but host Don Cornelius gave him a warm welcome, introducing him as “one of the world’s most popular and important music personalities.”

Producer, Harry Maslin, said he achieved the “round” quality of the backing voices by using an old RCA microphone.

Station to Station saw Bowie adopt The Thin White Duke persona. Dressed in a white shirt, black trousers and waistcoat, The Thin White Duke was described by Bowie as “a nasty character indeed.” Throughout this period, Bowie was consuming a large amount of cocaine, which added to the alienated feel of the character.

Golden Years

Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Look at that sky, life’s begun
Nights are warm and the days are young
Come get up my baby

There’s my baby, lost that’s all
Once I’m begging you save her little soul
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Last night they loved you, opening doors and pulling some strings, angel
Come get up my baby
In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine
Come get up my baby

I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years
Nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years, gold
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Some of these days, and it won’t be long
Gonna drive back down where you once belonged
In the back of a dream car twenty foot long
Don’t cry my sweet, don’t break my heart
Doing all right, but you gotta get smart
Wish upon, wish upon, day upon day, I believe oh Lord
I believe all the way
Come get up my baby

Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years

There’s my baby, lost that’s all
Once I’m begging you save her little soul
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years

I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years
Nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years, gold

Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “David Bowie – Golden Years”

  1. Bowie has to be on the short list of greatest 70s artists- also coming to mind Stevie Wonder and Neil Young. Who finishes the Mt. Rushmore?… well we have that family group of Mormon’s from Utah…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is hard…as far as success although I don’t know think he belongs with those guys…compeletly different but Elton John. it could be them a lone on that level.

      Speaking of that group of Mormons. I actually listened to a lot of the songs off of that album. I was shocked. I must have forgot that you told me the complete record was on the rock side….no “One Bad Apple”

      Like

      1. I bought the album a couple months ago for $1 I need to listen to it! … Elton was very successful he’d be near or at the top of chart success.. I don’t think he belongs with the others on the greatness level.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree with you…it might be just a threesome. Now personally…I know who I would pick to be the fourth but he didn’t have that level of success…Van Morrison…he fits on the artist part but not the success.

        I had to know so I looked on youtube at the album…listen to Hold Her TIght…like I said…they ripped off Zeppelin but I have to give credit!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Station to Station” is one of my all-time favorite Bowie albums. He doesn’t miss a step across the entire thing. “Golden Years” is brilliant, and a complicated piece to sing. That full-octave vocal leap is not an easy thing to accomplish. Great review; thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to say I don’t know this album as well… It’s been a while since I listened to it. I’ll have to give it another spin. I loved how he just could change directions like people change socks…he was incredible. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched the show as a kid and I don’t remember that many but I must have missed them…now in the 80s I didn’t watch as much…wow Duran Duran? That doesn’t fit.

      Yes and when he changed he did it really well…kinda like Neil Young

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m mostly drawn to Bowie’s early years – basically everything until “Diamond Dogs”. While he nearly lost his sanity over it, I like his Ziggy Stardust persona the best. To me the Ziggy Stardust album comes close to being a greatest hits, though Bowie was always good for great song before and after. He had an ear for writing catchy tunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I do like Bowie in the seventies…the most with Hunky Dory but I like all around that time including his Ziggy Stardust…I barely remember Ziggy when I was 6 or so from my sister’s friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Bowie in any of his incarnations. I just don’t see this as a Soul Train song. I can see the dancers are having trouble with it but they are trying to show respect. If there were thought bubbles over their heads they’d be saying “this crazy white man wants us to dance to this???” lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I like him in any decade…well I hated Ashes to Ashes the song but I just love his Hunky Dorty type stuff.
      LOL oh that comment made my night! I agree

      Liked by 1 person

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