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