Legendary Producer Tony Visconti Picks His Personal Favourite David Bowie Tracks – And Explains Why

Tony Visconti has been vital to David Bowie’s career: over the years, the renowned producer has been a near-constant foil to the Thin White Duke, working on classic albums such as ‘Space Oddity’, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, ‘Young Americans’, ‘Low’, ”Heroes”, ‘Scary Monsters’, ‘The Next Day’… Frankly, the list is endless. Here, Visconti picks his 11 favourite David Bowie songs – in no particular order, mind – and explains why he loves them so. And don’t forget: in this week’s magazine, you can read our list of David Bowie’s Top 40 tracks, as chosen by NME writers.

It’s Gonna Be Me (From ‘Young Americans’, 1975)

“If Bowie and Ray Charles wrote a song together, this would be it. Soulful and sad. Great vocal performance.”


Sweet Thing (From ‘Diamond Dogs’, 1974)

“Strange, goes to dark places, yet romantic. It’s almost impossible to separate it from the following song Candidate.”

Sunday (From ‘Heathen’, 2002)

“So ominous and atmospheric. A big shift in his writing. The vocals are wonderful.”


Blackout (From ‘Heroes’, 1977)

“Insane (in a good way) music, lyrics and vocal performance. Dennis Davis is spectacular, live drums, no overdubs.”


Life On Mars (From ‘Hunky Dory’, 1971)

“A classic, always very moving to hear. Ronson wrote a wonderful string arrangement. Goosebumps galore!”


African Night Flight (From ‘Lodger’, 1979)

“Ingenious commandeering of Eno over a standard Roland beat box. Not apparent, but this is a rap song…”


She Shook Me Cold (From ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, 1970)

“Birth of grunge. I’m proud of all involved, Ronson, Woodmansey and Bowie. No overdubs, just us.”

It’s No Game (Part One) (From ‘Scary Monsters’, 1980)

“Just when you thought you’ve heard everything – a Japanese woman rapping on a song Bowie wrote when he was 16.”

Stay (From ‘Station To Station’, 1976)

“Funky and passionate, I always listen to this one to the end (and it’s long).”

I Know It’s Gonna Happen Some Day (From ‘Black Tie White Noise’, 1993)

“Morrissey wrote it, Bowie made this his own, a tearjerker. One of his best vocal performances ever.”

Lady Grinning Soul (From ‘Aladdin Sane’, 1973)

“An ex-girlfriend played this over and over. I grew to love it (but not her). One of (pianist) Garson’s shining hours and, again, a great vocal performance.”