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GET IT ON (Bolan)

During A Reality Tour, as witnessed on the live album of the same name, David occasionally added a few bars of the 1971 T Rex classic to his live renditions of "Cactus".

GET REAL (Bowie/Eno)

  • B-Side: November 1995

  • Bonus: 1.Outside (2004)

This 1.Outside out-take appeared only as a B-side and on the Japanese release of the album, later cropping up as a bonus track on the 2004 reissue. It's a far more conventional pop-rock composition than anything on the album, bouncing along to a rhythm track borrowed from "Modern Love" and dipping briefly into the melody of "Dead Against It". Bowie reels off a 1.Outside-by-numbers sort of lyric: "It happens in the tunnel when I let myself feel...The dazzle of life, the rape of life, the seed, the curse, the jazz of life, get real." It's less intriguing than its fellow 1.Outside rarity "Nothing To Be Desired", but it's an appealing glimpse into the wealth of extra material recorded during the sessions, and another example of Bowie's ongoing preoccupation with the nature of reality.

GET UP, STAND UP (Marley/McIntosh)

Bob Marley's classic, a single for The Wailers from their 1973 album Burnin', formed the closing number at the Tibet House Benefit Concert on February 28th 2003. As in previous years, Bowie joined in the singalong.

GIMME DANGER (Pop/Williamson)

Mixed by Bowie for Iggy And The Stooges' Raw Power, "Gimme Danger" appeared on the 1977 Iggy Pop tour; live versions featuring Bowie can be heard on various Iggy releases.

THE GIRL FROM MINNESOTA

This otherwise unknown Bowie composition was registered with David's publisher Sparta in 1966.

GIRL LOVES ME

  • Album: Blackstar

Against some stern competition, "Girl Loves Me" is probably the oddest track on Blackstar. Musically it's a mischievous concoction of bouncing bass, wobbling synthesizers and tricksy rhythmic patterns, anchored by Mark Guiliana's superbly acrobatic drumming. The backing track was recorded at Magic Shop on February 3rd 2015. "David's demo had two loops on top of each other, creating a very dense groove, which I couldn't play all at once," Guiliana told Modern Drummer. "There was lots of bleed, since we were all in the same room, which often led to very interesting sonic results. This, like many of the other songs, is a full drum take."

     "Girl Love Me" was a favourite of Tim Lefebvre, who played some uncredited guitar as well as bass on the track: "I'm really proud of that," he told Premier Guitar. "It was David's guitar that I used, and I just went in and doubled the bass line. That's kind of my favourite tune on the record."

     Recording his lead vocal in two passes on April 16th and May 17th, Bowie is on spectacular form as he yelps, shrieks and croons his way through an artfully peculiar lyric steeped in the arcane lingo of times past. "The lyrics are wacky," noted Tony Visconti, "but a lot of British people, especially Londoners, will get every word." As is David's wont when evoking times past, there's a hint of nursery rhyme ("I'm sitting in the chestnut tree"), but the principal anchors are two distinct varieties of counter-cultural slang which were current during his youth. From 1965-8, the BBC radio comedy Round The Horne was responsible for popularising palare (also spelt polari), the clandestine patois of London's gay scene, derived from snatches of Romany, Italian and fairground slang: every week the show's frontman Kenneth Horne would encounter Julian and Sandy, a duo played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, whose palare patter enabled outrageous innuendo to be smuggled under the BBC radar at a time when homosexuality was still illegal. Later commemorated by Morrissey's 1990 album Bona Drag ("nice clothes") and its single "Piccadilly Palare", Julian and Sandy's legacy also crops up in Todd Haynes's film Velvet Goldmine, in which an entire scene is conducted in palare with accompanying subtitles.

     Bowie himself had occasionally dipped into palare over the years, dropping it into his interview patter during the Ziggy period (in 1973 he remarked that Russian audiences might freak out when they "varda what we look like"). The sense of "bitch" conveyed by "Queen Bitch" comes straight from palare, as do "traders" ("The Bewlay Brothers"), "trolling" ("Looking For A Friend"), "butch" ("Candidate") and "drag" ("Teenage Wildlife"). In "Girl Loves Me" the derivations are rather less mainstream, including "omi" (man), "nanti" (none), and "dizzy" (foolish); but most of the lyric derives from a second underground argot coined during David's teenage years. Published in 1962, Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange is narrated by 15-year-old Alex in "nadsat", a youth dialect created by Burgess for his imagined near-future setting. Concocted from various sources including rhyming slang, modified Russian and Slavic vocabularies, and a dash of pure invention on Burgess's part, nadsat captivated Bowie, particularly after he had heard it spoken aloud in Stanley Kubrick's celebrated film adaptation. "The whole idea of having this phoney-speak thing," David recalled in 1993, "mock Anthony Burgess Russian-speak, that drew on Russian words and put them into the English language, and twisted old Shakespearean words around...it was like trying to anticipate a society that hadn't happened." Within days of seeing Kubrick's film in January 1972, David had incorporated the nadsat word "droog" (Russian for "friend", and the term given by Alex to his fellow hoodlums) into the lyric of his latest song "Suffragette City".

     Four decades on, Bowie returns to Burgess with a vengeance: the nadsat vocabulary employed in "Girl Loves Me" includes "cheena" (woman, from the Russian zhenshcheena), "malchek" (boy, spelt "malchick" by Burgess, from the Russain malchik), "moodge" (man, from the Russian muzhchina), "viddy" (look at, from the Russian vidyet), "choodessny (wonderful, from the Russian choodesnyi), "rot" (mouth, from the Russian rot), "libbilubbing" (making love, spelt "lubbilubbibg" by Burgess, from the Russian lyublyu, meaning love), "litso" (face, from the Russian litso), "devotchka" (girl, from the Russian devochka), "spatchko (sleep, spelt "spatchka" by Burgess, from the Russian spat), "rozz" (policeman, from the Russian rozha, meaning grimace), "ded" (old man, from the Russian ded, meaning grandfather), "deng" (money, from the Russian dengi), and "vellocet" (a recreational drug in A Clockwork Orange coined by Burgess, its name suggesting "speed"). For the Bowie listener equipped with sufficient nadsat and palare, phrases like "Party up moodge, nanti vellocet round" or "Spatchko at the rozz-shop, split a ded from his deng deng, viddy viddy at the cheena" make perfect sense.

     Playful it certainly is, but Bowie's use of arcane slang in "Girl Loves Me" is more than just a gag. Like the indignant yelp of "Where the fuck did Monday go?" which punctuates the lyric (heavy on f-bombs, the track earned an "explicit" rating on download sites), the effect of all this code-speak is twofold: at once comical and distancing, ridiculous and melancholy. From the mouth of a hedonistic teenager, "Where the fuck did Monday go?" need be no more than a hungover cry of exasperation; from the mouth of a 68-year-old who knows that the clock is ticking, it conveys a different kind of desperation altogether. It is a measure of the man that David was able to carry on laughing like this, sending himself up to the last.

GIRLS

  • B-Side: June 1987

  • Bonus: Never Let Me Down

  • Download: May 2007

Bowie wrote "Girls" for Tina Turner, who recorded it for her 1986 album Break Every Rule and later included a live version on some formats of 1988's Live In Europe. Bowie's own version was cut during the Never Let Me Down sessions but relegated to B-side status. The full-length recording appeared on the 12" "Time Will Crawl" single, with a shorter edit appearing on the 7" format. A further Japanese version was included on a second 12" release and on the Japanese issue of the album, and all three were reissued as downloads twenty years later.

     Although something of a curate's egg, the wildly eclectic "Girls" is an improvement on several of the tracks that made it onto Never Let Me Down. It starts in melodramatic torch-song mode, with a wistful guitar riff swiped from "Andy Warhol" and a piano line recalling, of all things, Ennio Morricone's famous TV theme "Chi Mai". Sadly it degenerates into a standard Never Let Me Down sax-and-guitar romp, complete with a rehash of the "Criminal World" bassline and a blatant melodic steal from Rita Coolidge's Octopussy theme "All Time High". The lyrics, believe it or not, borrow from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Bowie: "My heart suspended in time, like you vanish like tears in the rain"; Blade Runner: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain". It was a quotation Bowie had previously adapted on his funeral wreath for his half-brother Terry in 1985 which read: "You've seen more things than we could imagine but all these moments will be lost, like tears washed away by the rain".

GIVE IT AWAY (Record/Davis) see EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES YOU

GLAD I'VE GOT NOBODY

  • Compilation: Early On (1964-1966)

Unreleased until 1991's Early On, this rejected mid-1965 recording by Davy Jones and The Lower Third was almost certainly recorded during the same session as "Baby Loves That Way" and the unreleased "I'll Follow You". Unlike most of Bowie's 1960s rarities, these two are finished tracks featuring full arrangements. Musically, "Glad I've Got Nobody" is unremarkable beyond confirming The Lower Third's hero-worship of The Who.

GLASS SPIDER

  • Album: Never Let Me Down

  • Live: Glass Spider

  • Live Video: Glass Spider (2007 CD/DVD Release)

Forever tarred by association with the critically derided tour to which it gave its name, "Glass Spider" is actually one of Never Let Me Down's better tracks. Purposely written as a live curtain-raiser (it opened every show on the 1987 tour), it has a daring sense of theatre sorely missing elsewhere on the album, but it's let down by indifferent production. The spoken monologue - another of the album's many echoes of Diamond Dogs - has great potential, but by contrast with the gothic relish of "Future Legend" Bowie's delivery is deadpan and timid. The song doesn't take flight until the splendid guitar riff kicks in and the lyric heaps new images onto the initial narrative.

     "The pivotal song on the album is "Glass Spider"," David said in 1987. "Spiders keep coming up in my references all the time. I don't know what the Jungian aspects of it are but I see them as some kind of mother figure." In another interview he added, "I was fascinated by the fact that the black widow spider does lay out its victims' skeletons on a web. I found that out a few months ago; it came up in some documentary on television...I always saw spiders as being a maternal thing, and I wanted to have an all-encompassing motherhood song: how one is released from the mother and then left on one's own, and you have to get by on your instincts. I wanted to develop the fable of the black widow spider, transform it. The reference to glass obviously fitted. Putting the two together, 'glass spider', reminds me of castles and something almost Chinese. Imagine this layer of webs like a castle; it moves from room to room and has a kind of altar at the top. It's fabricating a mock mythology. The subtext for that one was motherhood, being abandoned by one's mother, which is inevitable."

     The tumbling images of mass migration ("Come along before the animals awake / Run, run, we've been moving all night, rivers to the left / If your mother don't love you then the riverbed might") are vaguely reminiscent of "African Night Flight", but here they echo the Fall of Man, abandoned to fend for himself in a desert of moral uncertainty. This is such a good song, if only he had re-recorded it.

GLORIA (Morrison)

Them's 1964 number made a one-off appearance on Iggy Pop's 1977 Idiot tour, and was later resurrected by Bowie for some of the later Sound + Vision shows: at a Cleveland gig on June 20th 1990 David segued into "Gloria" during "The Jean Genie" and was joined on stage by Bono to sing the number, which was frequently incorporated into "The Jean Genie" thereafter.

GO NOW (Banks/Bennett)

  • Live: Ruby Trax

  • Live Video: Oy Vey, Baby - Tin Machine Live At The Docks

An unusual addition to Tin Machine's repertoire during the It's My Life tour was Bessie Bank's "Go Now", a number 1 single for The Moody Blues in 1964. Bassist Tony Sales took lead vocal, and a live recording made in Japan appeared on the Ruby Trax charity album in 1992.

GOD BLESS THE GIRL

  • Bonus: The Next Day/The Next Day Extra

Tracked on September 12th 2011 during the second wave of sessions for The Next Day, and with Bowie's lead vocal cut on November 2nd, "God Bless The Girl" was originally slated for inclusion on the album. "At one point it was on The Next Day and moved up and down the tracklisting," Tony Visconti explained, "then it was off the album, then back on, but ultimately it was designated to be a bonus track for the Japanese album release." A few months later it found a wider audience on The Next Day Extra.

     "God Bless The Girl" introduces us to Jackie, a heroine whose predicament is initially unclear, although a clue lies in the fact that the song was recorded under the working title "Gospel" - a title it retained, according to Tony Visconti, "for a very long time until it was finished towards the end of the recording." Both titles self-evidently point in a certain direction: is Jackie, who "loves her work" and "says God has given her a job", a preacher? A missionary? A Sunday School teacher? Is she truly happy in her work? Or is there, as we tend to suspect of any Bowie lyric, something darker beneath the surface? It would seem that there is: Jackie was "aiming for the stars but landed on the clouds", and is "sitting in her corner, too afraid to run away, like a slave without chains". In the choruses, Bowie paints a series of ominous transitions - spring to winter, wonder to danger, light to darkness - suggesting a calamitous falling-off from the ideals with which our heroine began. Perhaps she has lost her faith, and is trapped in a construct she no longer believes in; or perhaps her God-given occupation is a marriage which, like that in "She'll Drive The Big Car", has turned cold for the heroine; or perhaps her vocation is a more fleshly one, doing God's work in the same fashion as the women in the video for "The Next Day". Whatever the case, the repeated mantra "there is no other" suggests that her options have run out.

     Musically "God Bless The Girl" is a gorgeously intricate piece of work ("such an energised track," said Tony Visconti), opening simply enough with Visconti's son Morgan strumming out an acoustic Bo Diddley-style riff which Gerry Leonard adorns with languid electric licks reminiscent of his ambient pieces on Heathen; from here the track gathers momentum, building over its four minutes as it accumulates bass, keyboards, a riot of percussion (Zachary Alford approached his drum part by running counter to the Bo Diddley feel: "I remember specifically shying away from that because I didn't want it to sound like "Panic In Detroit""), and some beautifully passionate piano from Henry Hey. "I played a full pass on the song," Hey said, "and I varied things a bit for various verses and choruses, and then tried a lot of variations on the end - all during the single pass. I figured that this would be a good way for David and Tony to hear a variety of stuff and maybe find favourite bits. After a little refining, we arrived at what it became." Over this monumental backing, Bowie delivers a spectacularly strong and beautifully nuanced vocal, culminating in a multi-tracked finale in which he exchanges joyfully acrobatic quasi-gospel vocals with Gail Ann Dorsey and Janice Pendarvis. Underpinning it all, that Bo Diddley riff can't help but remind us of David's penchant for such rhythms back in the Space Oddity days, not least on "God Knows I'm Good", another song about an unhappy woman seeking solace in a fragile faith. And with the first line of the chorus melody echoing the bridge from "Look Back In Anger", itself no stranger to religious imagery, the ghost of Lodger shakes its crumpled wings over The Next Day once again. This is a wonderful track. It should have been on the album.

GOD KNOWS I'M GOOD

  • Album: Space Oddity

  • Live: Bowie At The Beeb

One of the lesser tracks on Space Oddity, this peculiar Dylanesque protest song about a hapless shoplifter tackles the customary hippy-era targets of capitalism and "national concern". Bowie explained that it was a diatribe against social mechanisation. "Communication has taken away so much from our lives that now it's almost totally involved in machines rather than ordinary human beings," he said in 1969. "There's nobody to talk your troubles over with these days, so this track is about a woman who steals a can of stew, which she desperately needs but can't afford, from the supermarket and gets caught. The machine looks on, "shrieking on the counter" and "spitting by my shoulder"." This isn't the only machine evoked on the Space Oddity album - the word appears in "Cygnet Committee" and, of course, in "Memory Of A Free Festival" - and the often sinister presence of the "machine" would remain a Bowie staple hereafter, from "saviour machine", "light machine", "well-thumbed machine" and "slot machine" all the way to Tin Machine.

     An initial attempt to record the number on September 11th 1969, when the Space Oddity sessions had briefly decamped to Pye Studios, was deemed a failure, and "God Knows I'm Good" was successfully re-recorded at Trident on September 16th. Guitarist Keith Christmas recalls David weeping "in floods" when listening to a playback of the track (it seems this was not an uncommon occurrence at the time: Angela Bowie offers a similar recollection regarding "Cygnet Committee"). Although Bowie regarded "God Knows I'm Good" as something of a throwback, describing it in 1969 as "more like my earlier songs", he included it in the BBC session recorded on February 5th 1970. This version now appears on Bowie At The Beeb.

GOD ONLY KNOWS (Wilson/Asher)

  • Album: Tonight

The Beach Boys classic, a number 2 hit in 1966, was originally mooted for inclusion on Pin Ups in 1973 before being consigned to the aborted Astronettes project later the same year. "Nothing came of that. I still have the tapes, though," Bowie revealed in 1984. "It sounded such a good idea at the time and I never had the chance to do it with anybody else again, so I thought I'd do it myself." Sadly, the Val Doonican-esque Tonight version is a three-minute masterclass in every pitfall that awaited him in the heady wake of Let's Dance. Mired in a baleful morass of turgid strings and awful saxophones, Bowie croons his way haplessly through perhaps the worst track he ever recorded. Nevertheless, in 2001 the song's lyricist Tony Asher cited Bowie's recording of "God Only Knows" as his favourite cover version of the Pet Sounds material.

     The Astronettes' version, which finally appeared on 1995's People From Bad Homes, keeps to a similarly languorous tempo but boasts a superior and soulful arrangement by Tony Visconti, with emphasis on mandolins and a rather impressive sax solo from David.

GOING DOWN

Together with "Everything Is You" and "A Summer Kind Of Girl", this mid-tempo number was demoed in May 1967 and sent, without success, to Manfred Mann's producer John Burgess. The demo emerged in 1996 on the "Ernie Johnson" tape. It's one of Bowie's lesser songs of the period, with a twanging, bass-heavy groove and harmonised backing vocals harking back to his pre-Deram recordings, as David sings "Going down, I've made up my mind that I'm going down." One line, "I've linked all the daisies together for you", raises an image of innocence pointedly rejected in the lyric of "Let Me Sleep Beside You", composed not long afterwards.

GOLDEN YEARS

  • A-Side: November 1975

  • Album: Station To Station/Station To Station (2010)

  • B_Side: November 1981

  • A-Side: June 2011

  • Compilation: The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979/Best Of Bowie

  • Live Video: Serious Moonlight

Just as "Rebel Rebel" had offered a furtive farewell to glam and an unrepresentative preview of Diamond Dogs in early 1974, so the immaculate funk of "Golden Years", preceding the release of its parent album by two months, is more of a piece with Young Americans than with the steelier musical landscape of Station To Station. In common with much of the earlier album, its roots in American soul-pop are easily discernible: Carlos Alomar's riff owes a debt to "The Horse", a 1968 US one-hit wonder by Cliff Nobles & Co, while the multi-tracked vocal refrain recalls The Diamonds' 1958 single "Happy Years". Co-producer Harry Maslin recalled that "Golden Years" was "cut and finished very fast. We knew it was absolutely right within ten days. But the rest of the album took forever." Early in the sessions the album itself was to be called Golden Years.

     David's old friend Geoff MacCormack, credited on Station To Station as Warren Peace, assisted with the song's complex vocal arrangement. "He wanted it quite loose, casual," MacCormack later wrote in his memoir. "I loved what he'd already done in terms of its flavour, especially the "Cum b-b-b-baby" bit. I extended the idea by dropping the "golden years" phrase the second time around and replacing it with a long, up-and-down, swooping "gold" phrase and adding "wah, wah, wah" on the end. David loved it and let me fiddle around with the "run for the shadows" section as well. When we came to record the backing vocals for the song David lost his voice halfway through, leaving me to finish the job. That meant I had to sing the series of impossibly high notes after the chorus, which were difficult enough for David but were absolute murder for me."

     David would later say that the track had been written for, and turned down by, Elvis Presley. Angela Bowie claimed that David wrote it in her honour and sang it over the telephone to her, "just the way, all those years before, he'd sung me "The Prettiest Star". It had a similar effect. I bought it." The refrain of "angel" certainly suggests that she might be the addressee, although the "walk tall, act fine" optimism and the vow to "stick with you baby for a thousand years" sits ill with what we know about a marriage already in terminal decline.

     On November 4th 1975 Bowie mimed to "Golden Years" on ABC's Soul Train. This appearance came to be regarded as the unofficial video and was used to promote the single worldwide. "Golden Years" consolidated David's commercial stock in America, reaching number 10; in Britain, hard on the heels of the chart-topping "Space Oddity" reissue, it made number 8. The 3'30" single edit was essentially the album version with an ealier fade, although the stereo spread and reverb levels differed from one territory to another; several variants have since appeared on compilations and reissues.

     Some sources suggest that "Golden Years" made the occasional rare appearance on the Station To Station tour, but it is generally accepted that the song made its live debut seven years later as a regular fixture in the Serious Moonlight shows. It later appeared in some of the early Sound + Vision concerts, and was revived once again in 2000. The song has been widely covered by artists including Pearl Jam, Loose Ends, Nina Hagen,and even Marilyn Manson for the 1998 film soundtrack Dead Man On Campus. It was among the numbers performed by the Young At Heart Chorus (average age: 81) in Stephen Walker's 2007 documentary film Young At Heart. Unquestionably the most peculiar version - and a strong contender for the most bizarre rendition of a Bowie song ever perpetrated - was pulled off by Peter Glaze and Jan Hunt in a February 1976 edition of the BBC children's show Crackerjack. An instrumental version of Bowie's original appeared over the closing credits of the American TV movie Stephen King's Golden Years, while the original track was ingeniously remixed by Tony Visconti for use in Brian Helgeland's 2001 film A Knight's Tale: as a key ingredient of the picture's tongue-in-cheek synthesis of musical anachronisms, a courtly farandole develops into a disco freak-out as "Golden Years" gradually supplants the medieval soundtrack. In 2014 James Murphy recorded a version for the soundtrack of the film While We're Young, which also features Bowie's original.

     In March 2010 the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce selected "Golden Years" when he guested on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. In the same year a series of inessential remixes were created by DJs from the Los Angeles public radio station KCRW, and were streamed online before being released on CD, 12" and download formats in June 2011. The same month saw the release of the iPhone/iKlax "Golden Years" app, which allowed smartphone uses to remix the track from eight isolated stems.

GOOD MORNING GIRL

  • B-Side: April 1966

  • Compilation: Early On (1964-1966)

This catchy jazz-tinged track, complete with a scat-singing chorus from David, was recorded with The Buzz on March 7th 1966 and performed live in the same year. The title looks like a steal from The Yardbirds' 1964 single "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl", while Cris O'Leary detects musical pilferings from the Dave Clark Five's "I Need Love" and the Spencer Davis Group's "Strong Love", both released in 1965. "Good Morning Girl" would probably have made a better single than "Do Anything You Say", to whose B-side it was relegated.

GOODBYE MR. ED (Bowie/H.Sales/T.Sales)

  • Album: Tin Machine II

  • Live: Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby

  • Live Video: Oy Vey, Baby - Tin Machine Live At The Docks

Tucked away at the end of that least regarded of albums Tin Machine II, "Goodbye Mr. Ed" is perhaps Bowie's most underrated song, certainly ranking alongside "I Can't Read" as one of Tin Machine's more valuable legacies. From an acoustic intro the track builds like the opening bars of "Red Sails" into a superbly structured metronomic arrangement, over which Bowie intones a catalogue of casual atrocities blighting the American Dream. The melody snatches a repetitive figure from Acker Bilk's 1961 hit "Stranger On The Shore", while the lyric is a richly allusive composite of classical mythology, paraphrased nursery-rhymes and bourgeois vulgarity, its ironies sharpened by the absurdist reference to the speaking horse in the moralistic all-American sitcom Mr. Ed. Alongside Icarus, Bruegel and The Sex Pistols we have, among other things, "four and twenty black kids, some of them are blind" and "Andy's skull enshrined in a shopping mall near Queens." David adopts the offhand drone previously perfected on "Repetition", and the cumulative effect is everything that 1987's overblown "Day-In Day-Out" should have been. Keeping Tin Machine's tendency to sonic self-destruction firmly in check, "Goodbye Mr. Ed" is an unconsidered gem. It was performed throughout the It's My Life tour.

GOODNIGHT LADIES (Reed)

Co-produced by Bowie, this laid-back New Orleans jazz pastiche makes an unlikely but delightful conclusion to Lou Reed's Transformer.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO TONY DAY

  • B-Side: April 1967

  • B-Side: September 1973

  • Compilation: The Deram Anthology 1966-1968/David Bowie: Deluxe Edition (2010)

Begun on January 26th 1967 during the David Bowie sessions, this B-side is one of the period's more outré numbers, sketching a cynical portrait of various (presumably fictional) acquaintances over a droning background of oboe and bassoon - two instruments much in evidence on "The Laughing Gnome", whose backing track was recorded the same day. Among the musicians hired for the session were organist Bob Michaels of Dave Antony's Moods and guitarist Pete Hampshire, while the deadpan backing vocals were provided by David himself and bassist Dek Fearnley. David effectively mimics Tony Hancock when he closes with the exasperated mutter: "Who needs friends? Waste of flipping time! Take a look at my life and you'll see." The song's nearest relation is probably "Please Mr Gravedigger", and it makes for equally left-field listening.

     In an out-take from the vocal recording, David is understood to have ad-libbed a disparaging lyric about "the gospel according to Dick Rowe", referring to the Decca A&R manager who was famous for having turned down The Beatles in 1962, and who, as head of the label's intransigent singles department, would soon become the bane of David's own Decca career. Of the colourful characters name-checked in the finished song, there sadly seems to be very little chance that "Pat Hewitt" is any relation to the future Labour cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt, who at the time was a teenage student living in Australia. Nonetheless, in the wake of 2010's Channel 4 investigation into the "cash for influence" scandal, there's an overwhelming temptation to amend the couplet in question to "The gospel according to Pat Hewitt / If you give her three grand she'll allegedly do it".

     The song was originally entitled "The Gospel According To Tony Day Blues". An early Decca acetate auctioned on eBay in 2007 is labelled simply "Gospel", although it's unclear whether this is another working title or merely an abbreviation.

     An excellent cover version by Edwyn Collins appeared on Uncut's 2003 compilation Starman. The 2010 reissue David Bowie:Deluxe Edition included Bowie's original mono cut alongside a newly prepared stereo version, mixed by Peter Mew and Tris Penna at Abbey Road Studios in 2009. Also included at the end of the Deluxe Edition is a brief snippet of studio horseplay from the recording, as a laughing David repeats the lyric, "Your mind -blow it!"

GOT MY MOJO WORKING (Morganfield)

Muddy Water's 1957 classic was played live by The King Bees.

THE GOUSTER

It is rumoured that a song called "The Gouster" was recorded during the August 1974 sessions for Young Americans, but given that the opening line of the out-take "Lazer" is "Let's hear it for the gouster", it seems likely that the songs are one and the same. The Gouster was also among the album's working titles.

GRAFFITI

Surviving paperwork reveals that the 1969 film Love You Till Tuesday was originally to have featured a composition called "Graffiti", which the studio production notes describe as a "sound collage of special effects - not normal music recording session". It is to be conjectured that the piece was devised either as a sound-bed for the film's scrapped narration links, or else for one of David's outré mime pieces of which "The Mask" is the best surviving example.

GROWIN' UP (Springsteen)

  • Bonus: Pin Ups/Diamond Dogs (2004)

Despite initially appearing in 1990 as a bonus track on Pin Ups, this Bruce Springsteen cover (originally hailing from his 1973 debut Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.) was in fact recorded at Olympic in November 1973 during the early stages of the sessions for Diamond Dogs, the album to which it was more appropriately appended on 2004's 30th anniversary reissue. The rumour that Ron Wood makes an uncredited appearance on Diamond Dogs almost certainly derives from this track, on which he plays lead guitar. The choice of song steers the emphasis of Bowie's earlier 1973 covers away from swinging London and in the direction of American rock, while vocals, piano and even percussion offer a taste of things to come, as David throws caution to the wind with a full-blown Diamond Dogs croon punctuated by bursts of Young Americans falsetto.

GROWING UP AND I'M FINE

Written by David for Mick Ronson's 1974 debut Slaughter On 10th Avenue (for whose title track it became the single B-side in some territories), and later included on the 2006 compilation Oh! You Pretty Things, this little gem remains sorely overlooked. The lyric is straight from the Ziggy/Aladdin songbook ("Always got caught by the squad car lights", "somebody's messed with my brain", and a close reprise of "Panic In Detroit" in "kicking at a slot machine"); and with its piano-led verses and glammed-up choruses, packed with handclaps and falsetto backing vocals, the track sounds like a 1972 Bowie out-take - a feeling rammed home by Ronson's flagrant mimicry of David's vocal mannerisms. It's tempting to conjecture that Benny and Bjorn of ABBA were fans of this excellent track: Ronson's descending guitar lick beginning at around 2'33" is identical to the synth line underscoring the chorus of "One Of Us", a 1981 hit by Sweden's finest.

GUNMAN (Bowie/Belew)

This collaboration from Adrian Belew's 1990 album Young Lions features David on lead vocals in a convincing throwback to the ambient Euro-funk of the Berlin era. Bowie delivers a strident performance reminiscent of "Joe The Lion" as he chants a deadpan lyric which aims a little higher than the previous year's "Crack City", despite covering similar ground: "Gunman, a trader in arms, the kids on the street are buying your charms...You're more solid than a rock, a rock of cocaine or crack or ice or death." In 2007 Adrian Belew's download-only album Dust included an instrumental version, which opens with some studio banter as Bowie ponders his vocal: "I'm not sure where to go, if I should be American or English on this," he muses, before trying out the opening lyrics in a ridiculously plummy upper-crust accent of the kind he would later adopt as the ruler of Atlantis in SpongeBob SquarePants.