David Bowie's influence on the generations of artists who've followed him cannot be overstated. His remarkable talent has been acknowledged by everyone from guitar bands to singer-songwriters and electronic music producers.
It's no surprise, then, that Bowie's name has frequently come up when MusicRadar has spoken to musicians about the records that changed their lives. To mark the great man's passing, we've gathered together the thoughts of a range of producers and musicians, as they tell us about the Bowie albums that they cherish the most.
Matt Sorum on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
“The first album I bought was the Bowie live album. A lot of times, I would buy one record, and then I’d go back and buy the earlier ones. I went to see Bowie at the Forum, and everybody was dressed in the Ziggy thing; at this point, David was already onto the next thing, and he came out as the Thin White Duke in the suit. It blew people’s minds.
“The Ziggy album was that first one where you were like, ‘Wow, he’s taking on a different persona. Maybe that’s OK to do.’ He broke open the doors to exploring art. So many people have taken from him, his theatrical thing and the fashion side. He’s a true visionary.
“The songs are classic Bowie – Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide, Suffragette City, every one of them. The record really holds up today.”
Steve Lillywhite on Hunky Dory (1971)
“Hunky Dory was an album that showed me how you could mix weirdness with good songs. The other things that I was into back then - Egg and Comus - were weird, but that was where it began and ended. Bowie had the mystical stuff that I cherished, by my goodness, what material! Kooks, Changes, Quicksand - I listened to these songs, I obsessed over them, and I loved them.”
Steve Lillywhite on Station to Station (1976)
“The whole record is only six songs, but it doesn’t feel as if you’re being shortchanged because every song is incredible. Wild Is The Wind, TVC 15, Golden Years - they’re all so marvellous. And the title track, which kicks off the album, just flies by - and it's over 10 minutes long.
“To me, it doesn’t matter how long a song is, of course, as long as it’s good. So here we’ve got six songs, all of them great, by an artist who just kept reinventing himself and getting better and better.”
Phil Collen on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
“I think I might prefer Aladdin Sane, though this one had more of an impact on me growing up. I was 14 and my cousin had gotten me into Zeppelin, Purple, Hendrix, all of that great stuff. I particularly loved T-Rex, Bowie, Queen, all the glam stuff.
“I thought those songs were something truly unique, especially at the age I was. At 14 years old, you're a sponge! I really loved Mick Ronson's vibrato; it sounded just fuckin’ awesome over these great songs. It was a perfect foil and my favourite era of Bowie.”
Patrick Stump on Low (1977)
“Ziggy Stardust established that David Bowie could be a superstar and a great songwriter. Low established him as an artistically avant-garde genius.
“The thing about Low is, it’s a totally different record when you flip it over. Side one is bizarrely easy-listening, easy-to-grasp pop songs with horribly freaky lyrics. Side two is an instrumental synth record, and it’s a really good one, too. It was just so 'out' and so different from the David Bowie that he had been up to that point. That really got me excited about him.
“It’s one thing to see a snapshot of somebody; it’s quite another to see two snapshots of the same person that are completely different. You stand back and think, ‘How do they connect?’ That’s fascinating to me.”
Clem Burke on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
“A really important record in my life. Woody Woodmansey's drum riffs are unbelievable. I’ve copied so many of them from this record over the years. He’s another one of those guys who plays to the song, but in a very subtle way he still manages to put his own stamp on the music.
“The fills in the song Ziggy Stardust are just so cool. And then there’s Hang On To Yourself, which is like a precursor to a Ramones song, and Five Years - that slow, menacing intro… great stuff. Take away The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five, and there’s David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. It was a really important stepping stone for me.
Anna Calvi on Aladdin Sane (1973)
“This was the first record I ever bought. I really loved it, even when I was eight or nine. Just the combination of it being very strange, avant-garde and kind of discordant - it spoke to me.
“At the same time, there were amazing pop melodies. Even before I understood what went into doing something like that, I was struck by how David Bowie could merge so many worlds. It’s a beautiful, very special record.”
Rob Halford on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
“David Bowie is a singer whom I’ve always cherished. He’s an extraordinary talent who can always shock you.
“I’ve got all of his material, but for me, the record that really started it off was the one where he created the character Ziggy Stardust. I’ve always been drawn to showmen in rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s what he did with the Ziggy persona. You didn’t know whether it was real or a joke - 'Is this guy taking us for a ride?' You had no idea. But it was great.
“Every single song on the record is a classic. Bowie was showing his chameleon-like talents so beautifully, and it was just the start of many, many things to come.”
Tony Banks on Hunky Dory (1971)
"I’ve been a Bowie fan since I bought a single of his, Can’t Help Thinking About Me, in the ‘60s, which I really liked as it used really unusual chords, which I was always on the search for in those days.
“I thought it was a great song although it never appears on any of his compilations or anything. From then on I kept my eye out for him and followed him through his various phases until he suddenly re-emerged with Space Oddity.
“Hunky Dory, for me, was the best of his albums. I’ve liked a lot of his stuff since too, but there’s not a weak track on Hunky Dory - everything works and it’s obviously got Life on Mars on it, which is a classic.
“Quicksand was a favourite of mine, too. He’s one of the best out there.”