Watch David Bowie’s 10 Greatest Music Videos

Bowie embraced music videos long before MTV made it essential. Here, the NME team pick their individual favourites.

‘Dancing In The Street’
For kids who grew up in the ’80s, our introduction to Bowie was via three things. There was the filmed introduction to The Snowman (long since lopped off) in which it’s revealed that the animated kid grew up to be Bowie. There was his turn as cockerel-crested Jareth, villain of Labyrinth. And there was the ‘Dancing In The Street’ video, in which Bowie and Mick Jagger turn in the most mesmerisingly over-egged performances ever committed to tape, as if each is trying to steal the show from the other in a game of showbiz chicken neither can win. Highlights: Bowie leaping into frame 40 seconds in. That trenchcoat. The part where they quite literally dance in the street. I didn’t know grown-ups could act like this. Dan Stubbs

I’ve chosen ‘Heroes’ partly because I love the song more than I love most things in my life, including friends and family, but also because the video is so simple and echoes the message of the lyrics. Here is a mere mortal who, in doing nothing more than standing on a backlit stage, has willed himself into being a superman. Also that bright light occasionally peeking through below his crotch is sexy as hell. Jordan Bassett


‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’
Part of a string of late-career forays into the experimental, ‘The Stars Are Out Tonight’ puts Bowie and actress Tilda Swinton on screen together, which automatically makes it one of his best. Add in a quick trip to the supermarket, some murderous spectres and Swinton butchering a raw chicken and you’ve got a Bowie classic. Alex Flood

‘Life On Mars’
Terrible teeth and beautiful simplicity. Quite why director Mick Rock went for such a blank, basic façade for a song so kaleidoscopic in content (and name) is beyond me – but thank god he did, because the three minutes and fifty two seconds of ‘Life On Mars’ are as iconic as pop music gets and will ever get. Bowie’s previous three videos were androgynous, genre-bending affairs, but he was always shrouded in onstage darkness or stood in shadowy sidewalks. Here, there was no hiding. Seeing him decked out in that make-up, seeing those messed up eyes moving must have been one of the greatest, freakiest things ever for the uninitiated. And for those already in the know? It marked a going overground moment. Matt Wilkinson–IqqusnNQ

‘Where Are We Now?’
‘Where Are We Now?’ revisits Berlin, Bowie’s home between 1976 and 1979 where he recorded three of his finest albums ‘Low, ‘“Heroes”’ and ‘Lodger’. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the once-divided city and, although the video is bleak, the surprise arrival of his first new music in 10 years was an incredible moment to behold. Tom Smith

‘Let’s Dance’
In 1978 Bowie arrived in Australia’s New South Wales astounded by its natural beauty and equally stunned by its racial intolerance. The red shoes of oppression don’t appear until more than a minute in, but the subtle anger directed at them courses through this 1983 video like molten lava. Larry Bartleet

‘Ashes To Ashes’
Coulrophobia sufferers, look away now. Dressed in the Pierrot costume synonymous with the ‘Scary Monsters’ campaign of 1980, Bowie is as white as a sheet with his ruby-red lips offset by the lurid pinks of the sky behind him here. Backed by Steve Strange and others taking time out from imposing London’s Blitz club’s restrictive door policy, the video sees Bowie in hugely symbolic form. There is a sense of foreboding violence to the imagery while Bowie’s alien aura lends an other worldly element to the video, belying the fact it was actually filmed at Pett Level, somewhere roughly between Hastings and Rye. David Renshaw

‘The Buddha Of Suburbia’
Bowie looks good in the autumn. He suits a long overcoat and a roll-neck. And this video, for his theme for the 1993 TV adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s novel, is notable for the juxtaposition of Bowie – a man, as you’ve witnessed so far, who’s very happy in an alien landscape – howling at the sky in a crushingly dull suburban cul-de-sac, strolling past manicured lawns and towering over the bungalows.


‘Loving The Alien’
We admit we’re not entirely sure what exactly is going on in the ‘Loving The Alien’ video, but we’ve never been ones to stand in the way of admiring a bit of modern art. Frankly, it looks amazing no matter what it’s about. Highlights include: the giant part-man, part-pathway at the beginning of the video, Bowie’s blue face paint, the 2D double bass player, the satanic chocolate fountain, Bowie crouching on a big rock, the bit where he glides across water on his knees, the jousting (jousting!), Bowie’s flamboyant tambourine and his resplendent shoelessness. Don’t get it, but totally love it. Leonie Cooper

‘Blue Jean’
Directed by Sex Pistols’ Julian Temple, this video is actually a clip from 20-minute film Jazzin’ for Blue Jean in which Bowie plays two characters. First off he’s a have-a-go hero trying to impress a ladyfriend by pretending he knows the enigmatic popstar, Screaming Lord Byron. And then of course, in true Bowie style, he is the enigmatic popstar, contoured to the max, painted gold and capable of putting fans into a dance trance with his music. There’s way too much going on in three minutes to make any real sense of it, but that’s exactly what makes it so great. It’s a confusing spectacle with double the dose of Bowie. Charlotte Gunn