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David Bowie - Loving The Alien (live)

I watched the video for the new Bowie single The Stars (Are Out Tonight), where he's singing about being pursued by the ghosts of his past. "I bet there are some of those ghosts," I thought, "that he'd really like to outrun."

Artistically speaking, the '80s were a bit of a fallow period for Bowie. To be fair that could be said for a lot of people, but he went from the magnificent Scary Monsters straight into the MTV-friendly Let's Dance. It seemed as if he couldn't do anything right. Even when he wrote a good song it got swamped by bad '80s production.

One of those songs is Loving The Alien. You can find it on his 1984 album Tonight, but don't, listen to this instead. This was how he should have done it in the first place. It's from a gig in Zurich in 2003, and it's pared right back to guitar and vocals. I'm not 100% sure about this performance - there seems to be a bit of miscommunication in a couple of places - but the sound is so marvellously tragic it more than makes up for the mistakes. And it does a lot to make up for the 1980s.

David Bowie - Loving The Alien (live)
(alternate download)