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"Five Years" is a song written by David Bowie and released in 1972. It was the opening track on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The song tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years and the aftermath of this knowledge. Bowie is rumored to have chosen the length of time, five years, as a result of a dream in which his deceased father told him he must never fly again and would die in five years.

The song served as the basis for the My Chemical Romance song "The End."

Live versions

  • Bowie played the song at the BBC show In Concert: John Peel on 3 June 1971. This was broadcast on 20 June 1971 and released in 2000 on the album Bowie at the Beeb.
  • A version recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 20 October 1972 was released on Santa Monica '72.
  • Another version recorded on the "Heroes" tour at the Philadelphia Spectrummarker on 28 April or 29 April 1978, was released on Stage.
  • Bowie performed the song live on Old Grey Whistle Test. It is included on the DVD version of Best of Bowie.
  • The track was performed by Bowie with Arcade Fire at the 2005 Fashion Rocks concert in New York as well as "Life On Mars?" and Arcade Fire's own song "Wake Up". These recordings were made available on the iTunes Music Store in a virtual live EP.
  • The track was to be the closing number of David's 1985 Live Aid set at London's Wembley Stadiummarker but was dropped the day before the concert to allow time for the broadcast of the famous appeal video featuring "Drive" by The Cars as its soundtrack.


Other releases

  • The compilations The Best of David Bowie (Japan 1974) and Starman (Russia 1989).

Cover versions




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