David Bowie Lists His 25 Favorite LPs in His Record Collection: Stream Most of Them Free Online


Image by Adam Bielaws­ki, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

This is the kind of thing we usu­al­ly just men­tion on our Twit­ter stream. But per­haps you’re not fol­low­ing us there, and we did­n’t want you to miss this.…

In 2003, David Bowie rum­maged through his col­lec­tion of 2500 vinyl LPs and cre­at­ed a list of his 25 favorite albums for Van­i­ty Fair. The list came pref­aced by these (and oth­er) words:

If you can pos­si­bly get your hands on any of these, I guar­an­tee you evenings of lis­ten­ing plea­sure, and you will encour­age a new high-mind­ed cir­cle of friends, although one or two choic­es will lead some of your old pals to think you com­plete­ly barmy. So, with­out chronol­o­gy, genre, or rea­son, here­with, in no par­tic­u­lar order, 25 albums that could change your rep­u­ta­tion.

Just as eclec­tic as you might expect, the list rec­om­mends every­thing from blues tunes by John Lee Hook­er, min­i­mal­ist com­po­si­tions by Steve Reich, avant garde rock by The Vel­vet Under­ground, elec­tron­ic music by The Elec­trosoniks, psy­che­del­ic folk music by The Incred­i­ble String Band, and the last works of Richard Strauss. You can view a copy of Bowie’s list here (and per­haps cou­ple it with his list of 100 Favorite Books).

And despite his con­cerns about find­ing these albums in sup­ply, you can stream most of his favorite albums for free on Spo­ti­fy using the playlist above. (Yes, we got a lit­tle inspired and pulled it togeth­er.) If you need the soft­ware, down­load it here.

via @stevesilberman

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

Bri­an Eno Lists 20 Books for Rebuild­ing Civ­i­liza­tion & 59 Books For Build­ing Your Intel­lec­tu­al World

Kurt Cobain Lists His 50 Favorite Albums: Fea­tures LPs by David Bowie, Pub­lic Ene­my & More

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Comments (6)
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  • Drew Reed says:

    I’m not sur­prised to see The Vel­vet Under­ground here since they were a huge influ­ence on Bowie. How­ev­er, I was sur­prised to see Stravin­sky. Both of them were very avant garde, though, so I guess I can see the con­nec­tion. I’ll have to check out the ones I haven’t heard.

  • John Korchok says:

    I call fake. The habit of refer­ring to albums as “vinyls” is a mil­len­ni­al mala­prop­ism. There are many inter­views of him on YouTube and when­ev­er he refers to non-CD disks, he only uses “record” or “album”. So maybe these are albums that Bowie liked, but some­one else wrote the arti­cle, or maybe it’s a com­plete fake.
    Alleged­ly, the arti­cle came from the Novem­ber, 2013 issue of Van­i­ty Fair, but the Van­i­ty Fair web site shows no such arti­cle in that issue.

  • Sam Allemang says:

    Hi John,

    Hap­py to report def­i­nite­ly not fake. It took some work to find the orig­i­nal, though. (The Toron­to Ref­er­ence Library had the issue in a bound vol­ume, bless them!)

    I took pho­tos of the arti­cle and tran­scribed it at home. There could very well be a num­ber of typos still! (Though ‘vinyls’ is not one of them, evi­dent­ly.)




  • Mattt Giles says:

    The arti­cle appeared in the Novem­ber 2003 issue of Van­i­ty Fair. If you search Ama­zon, you’ll see a thumb­nail for the issue that shows “David Bowie’s Top 25 CD Wish List.”

    Which means you’re half right, as it clear­ly states “CD” and not “vinyl!”

  • Reg Blor says:

    FYI, This playlist has the wrong Glenn Bran­ca record. Bowie lists the orig­i­nal Ascen­sion. you have The Ascen­sion: The Sequel on your playlist. Just thought you should know.

  • Mazza says:

    Yes the bal­let Rites of Spring and the music for it were avan­te­garde.

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