“I’m Afraid of Americans” – David Bowie (with Nine Inch Nails)

David Bowie is a musical genius, in my opinion. But there are some who think that Bowie is only as good as who he collaborates with. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism, but it’s understandable why someone may think that. Say what you will about Bowie, but the man does have excellent taste and has always been on the cutting edge. For all of the phases  of his career, here’s the short list of his collaborators: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, Brian Eno, Nile Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and, in the 1990s Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

“I’m Afraid of Americans” was Bowie’s collaboration with Nine Inch Nails from 1997 or so and the marriage is a damn good one.

“Acid Queen” – Tina Turner (from Ken Russell’s 1975 film of the “The Who’s Tommy”)


From Ken Russell’s wonderfully bats–t crazy and psychedelic visualization of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” is Tina Turner’s wild version of “Acid Queen.” Even wilder was that both David Bowie and Lou Reed were considered for the part eventually played by Turner. Due to heavy drug and sex references, not safe for work. However, I should note that this was a PG-rated film back in 1975. My how things have changed.

“We’re In This Together” – Nine Inch Nails


A great song by Nine Inch Nails that was in heavy rotation for about 6 months back in 1999 and then disappeared. I always loved the wall of noise on this song and this video (directed by Mark Pellington). A completely stunning track that was allegedly inspired by David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

“The Hunger” (1983) dir. Tony Scott


In my earlier tribute to Tony Scott, I forgot to mention his stunning first film as a director, “The Hunger.” I remember seeing this on HBO late one Saturday night around 1984 or so and this opening sequence was so mind-blowing, I remember running into people at my junior high who saw the same thing (“My God, did you see that weird vampire movie on HBO?”) and were as flabbergasted as I was.   So flabbergasting, that when I heard he was directing “Top Gun,” a needle went off the record in my mind.  Well, he definitely found his commercial niche and while Scott made some wildly entertaining and commercial films (“Last Boy Scout,” “Crimson Tide,” “True Romance,” “Domino”), it would have been interesting to see if he had continued in this artier, less commercial mode. This isn’t the full sequence that features the seduction / sex / murder sequence afterwards, but you can find the longer version on YouTube if you so desire. You can see a lot of influence on Gaspar Noe in this clip.  Highly recommended.

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976) dir. Nicolas Roeg


Another trailer I saw when I was 6 or 7 that seriously freaked me out. This played before a Disney (?!?) film of all things. The scene where the family wearing the white space suits vanishes gave me nightmares. I also thought it was odd that the actor they kept referring to as “David” (David Bowie) looked like a woman. I think that’s William Shatner narrating the trailer.

“Heroes” – TV on the Radio


A cover of David Bowie’s best song, performed by a band Bowie handpicked to record the song for the War Child benefit album “Heroes” from 2009. War Child is a non-governmental organization founded in the UK 1993, which focuses on providing assistance to children in areas of conflict and post-conflict. So, if you’re looking to do something good and want some really killer music at the same time, purchasing the “Heroes” album provides a nice way to do this.

“Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” – David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder


The theme song for Paul Schrader’s underrated and wonderfully bats–t crazy Freudian horror film from 1982, in its better original version recorded for the film. (There’s a remake on Bowie’s gazillion-selling 1983 album “Let’s Dance,” which is decent, but not as good as this one). Quentin Tarantino had the good taste to include this on the soundtrack for “Inglorious Basterds” during the scene where Shoshanna gets ready for a night of revenge.