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"Golden Years" is a song written and recorded by David Bowie in 1975. It was originally released in a shortened form as a single in November 1975, and in its full-length version in January the following year on the Station to Station album. It was the first track completed during the Station to Station sessions, a period when Bowie's cocaine addiction was at its peak.[3] At one stage it was slated to be the album's title track.[4]

"Golden Years"
Bowie GoldenYears.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Station to Station
B-side"Can You Hear Me?"
Released21 November 1975
Format7-inch single
RecordedSeptember 1975
StudioCherokee, Los Angeles
Length4:03 (album version)
3:27 (single version)
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Golden Years"
"Station to Station"

Music and lyricsEdit

When it first appeared as a single in 1975, "Golden Years" presented a somewhat skewed view of the forthcoming album, being more similar in style to the Young Americans funk/soul material from earlier in 1975 than the rest of Station to Station. The latter foreshadowed the Krautrock-influenced Euro-centric and electronic music that Bowie would move into with his late-1970s 'Berlin Trilogy'.[4]

Bowie was looking to emulate something of the glitzy nostalgia of "On Broadway", which he was playing on piano in the studio when he came up with "Golden Years".[3] He has said that he offered it to Elvis Presley to perform, but that Presley declined it.[5] Both Angela Bowie and Ava Cherry claim to have been the inspiration for the song.[5]

Release and aftermathEdit

Bowie allegedly got drunk to perform the song for the American TV show Soul Train; Bowie was the second white artist to appear on the program after Elton John did earlier in the year.[6] The resultant video clip was used to promote the single, and assisted Bowie's continued commercial success in the United States, where it charted for 16 weeks and reached No. 10 in early-1976. It achieved No. 8 in the UK and No. 17 in Canada.[7] The song was also a top ten hit in Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. As a digital download, it reached number four in the Hungarian singles chart in 2016.

"Golden Years" was played sporadically by Bowie on his Isolar – 1976 Tour,[4] if at all, but regularly on the Serious Moonlight, Sound+Vision and Mini Tours. Live versions from the Serious Moonlight and Mini Tours appear on Serious Moonlight (1983) and Glastonbury 2000 (2018). The song was used as the theme song of Stephen King's Golden Years, and in the pilot of the CBS series Swingtown.[citation needed] The song was also used in the 2001 movie A Knight's Tale,[8] as well as in Hank Green's 2018 novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Golden Years" (Bowie) – 3:22
  2. "Can You Hear Me?" (Bowie) – 5:04


Other releasesEdit

  • The song appeared as the B-side of an alternate version of the single "Fame".
  • It was released as the B-side of the U.S. release of "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" in December 1979.
  • In November 1981 it appeared as the B-side of the single "Wild Is the Wind".
  • It was released as part of the RCA Records Life Time picture disc set and the Fashion Picture Disc Set.
  • Several Bowie compilations have featured the song:
  • The 7 in. single version appeared on The Best of Bowie,The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979, Best of Bowie, The Platinum Collection, Nothing Has Changed, and Bowie Legacy. It is also included on Re:Call 2, part of the Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) compilation.
  • The song was included on the album Trainspotting #2: Music from the Motion Picture, Vol. #2 (1997).
  • The song was included on the original soundtrack of A Knight's Tale (2001), starring Heath Ledger. The original film score was written for the film by Hollywood composer Carter Burwell. One scene in the movie is a formal dance, which calls for courtly music based on Burwell's love theme to segue into David Bowie's song "Golden Years". It presented several challenges. First, the whole dance had been choreographed and filmed to an arbitrary tempo which begins at a slow courtly pace and speeds up and up until Bowie's song kicks in. Burwell had to match that tempo and the choreography after the fact and also find some credible path from a formal and restrained dance to a joyful '70s pop tune. They obtained Bowie's permission to pull tracks from his multitrack master of the song so they could mix these into Burwell's arrangement, helping to introduce his song before it has really begun. The end result is not on either of the CDs which were released (song or score soundtrack). Tony Visconti, who produced the original recording of the song, supervised the remix session, and Bowie dropped by as well to hear what they found in his multitrack.[9]

Chart historyEdit

David Bowie vs KCRWEdit

"Golden Years David Bowie vs KCRW"
Single by David Bowie
FormatCD single
StudioCherokee, Hollywood, California
LabelVirgin Records
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Rebel Never Gets Old"
"Golden Years David Bowie vs KCRW"
"Where Are We Now?"

An updated single of "Golden Years" was released in 2011 to coincide with the re-release of Station to Station. Four new remixes were provided by DJs from radio station KCRW in California.[17]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Golden Years (Single Version)" – 3:27
  2. "Golden Years (Anthony Valdez KCRW Remix)" – 4:22
  3. "Golden Years (Eric J. Lawrence KCRW Remix)" – 3:11
  4. "Golden Years (Chris Douridas KCRW Remix)" – 4:25
  5. "Golden Years (Jeremy Sole KCRW Remix)" – 4:37


  1. ^ Mojica, Frank (4 October 2010). "David Bowie - Station to Station [Special Edition]". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Station to Station - David Bowie | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2019. well as the disco stylings of 'Golden Years.'
  3. ^ a b David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination – David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.258–280
  4. ^ a b c Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: pp.82–83
  5. ^ a b Christopher Sandford (1998). Bowie: Loving the Alien: p.146
  6. ^ Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: pp.75–80
  7. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  8. ^ "A Knight's Tale". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  9. ^ "A Knight's Tale". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Golden Years". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 9 April 1976
  12. ^ "Official Charts Company". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  14. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, March 27, 1976
  15. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Morgenstern, Ariana. "KCRW DJs Remix Golden Years by David Bowie – KCRW Music Blog". Retrieved 10 October 2016.


  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External linksEdit