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Velvet Goldmine by David Bowie: Great B-sides

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Rock chameleon David Bowie experienced two separate career peaks. Most artists improve with experience then run out of ideas, but Bowie reversed his decline and returned with a second set of excellent releases. In the early 1970s his career took off with the relaxed Hunky Dory, then hit the stratosphere with the glam-rock of Ziggy Stardust. While Bowie’s career suffered as glam faded, he roared back into the vanguard of rock music with the excellent and futuristic Station to Station and Low in the second half of the 1970s. While Bowie sometimes struggled artistically in the 1980s and 1990s, he received lavish acclaim for the last two records he released before his death in 2016.

‘Velvet Goldmine’ was originally earmarked for released on 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. After appearing on the original master tapes, it was dropped from the album in favour of ‘Starman’, the record company stating that they needed a hit single on the record.

While ‘Starman’ is a very strong song, ‘Velvet Goldmine’ is far from a weak point on a classic album and it’s later appeared on greatest hits compilations. The real reason that ‘Velvet Goldmine’ was removed from Ziggy Stardust was for the provocative lyrics, even after Bowie toned them down. It was originally thought that the lyrics referred to making out with another man, but Bowie later revealed that they were actually about imagining a groupie’s feelings towards Ziggy Stardust.

‘Velvet Goldmine’ wasn’t officially released until 1975, as a b-side for a re-release of ‘Space Oddity’, but it’s since established itself as one of Bowie’s best songs. It’s a chugging, dramatic rocker with a touch of music hall.

You got crazy legs, you got amazin’ head
You got rings on your fingers and your hair’s hot red
You got the width of my tongue name on the sun
I clutch you close to my breast
Cause you’re the only one, who uses school to pleasure

You make me act real gone, you make me troll along
I had to ravish your capsule, suck you dry
Feel the teeth in your bones, heal ya head with my own
Why if I don’t have you whole, is that your final love?
Here all together

[Chorus]
Velvet goldmine, you stroke me like the rain
Snake it, take it, panther princess you must stay
Velvet goldmine, naked on your chain
I’ll be your king volcano right for you again and again
My velvet goldmine

You’re my taste, my trip, I’ll be your master zip
I’ll chop your hair off for kicks, you’ll make me jump to my feet
So you’ll give me your hand, give me your sound
Let my sea wash your face, I’m falling, I can’t stand
Oooh! Clutch your makeup!

[Chorus]
Velvet goldmine, you stroke me like the rain
Snake it, take it, panther princess you must stay
Velvet goldmine, naked on your chain
I’ll be your king volcano right for you again and again
My velvet goldmine

Oh
Shoot you down, bang bang

[Chorus]
Velvet goldmine, you stroke me like the rain
Snake it, take it, panther princess you must stay
Velvet goldmine, naked on your chain
I’ll be your king volcano right for you again and again
My velvet goldmine

(hum) Velvet Goldmine (repeat)

20 thoughts on “Velvet Goldmine by David Bowie: Great B-sides Leave a comment

      • Yeah getting back with Visconti was a good move, you can hear his influence — I really rate Heathen, the next one not so much but it’s still pretty good…the last two….not his best work — for me heathen was the last great album. But yeah the 70s albums are clearly his masterpieces. Stone cold classics. Pretty much my favourite records

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  1. I’ve never heard this one before. Good song…love the reverb. The early seventies to Station to Station is my favorite Bowie era. I like the others but I do favor that period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Station to Station and Low is my favourite Bowie era. I actually forgot about this song as a b-side until recently – it was on the 2CD compilation that was my first Bowie purchase, so it’s always seemed like a well known song, not a b-side, to me. It’s one of his best tracks IMO, maybe not top ten, but probably top 20 or so.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like your posts that you list the top songs you like by certain artists. I have thought about that but with someone like Bowie it would be hard but a fun thing to do.

        I don’t know how I’ve missed this one… When I played it I just knew for sure I would have known it since it was from this era. It was cool hearing this for the first time. I agree it’s up there on the list.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great song. I can’t remember when I first heard it, but it certainly left an impression.

    As for the movie, I’m very much on the fence. I just couldn’t decide whether it was the worst thing I’d seen or if it was brilliant. Some very striking scenes, right enough. Haven’t revisited it.

    Liked by 1 person

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