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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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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