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"Golden Years" is a song written by David Bowie in 1975. It was originally released as a shortened single in November 1975, and in its full-length version in January the following year on the Station to Station album. It was the first track completed during the Station to Station sessions, a period when Bowie's cocaine addiction was at its peak. At one stage it was slated to be the album's title track.

Music and lyrics

When it first appeared as a single in 1975, "Golden Years" presented a somewhat skewed view of the forthcoming album, being more similar in style to the Young Americans funk/soul material from earlier in 1975 than the rest of Station to Station, which foreshadowed the Kraftwerk-influenced Euro-centric and electronic music that Bowie would move into with his late-1970s 'Berlin Trilogy'.

Bowie was looking to emulate something of the glitzy nostalgia of "On Broadway", which he was playing on piano in the studio, when he came up with "Golden Years". He has said that he offered it to Elvis Presley to perform, but that Presley declined it. Both Angela Bowie and Ava Cherry also claim to have been the inspiration for the song.

Release and aftermath

Bowie allegedly got drunk to perform the song for the American TV show Soul Train; at the time he was one of the few white artists to appear on the programme. The resultant video clip was used to promote the single and continued Bowie's commercial success in the United Statesmarker, where it reached #10 and charted for 16 weeks. It achieved #8 in the UKmarker.

"Golden Years" was played sporadically by Bowie on the 1976 tour, and regularly on the 1983, 1990 and 2000 tours. It was used as the theme song of Stephen King's Golden Years.

The song was also used in the film A Knight's Tale.

The song was featured in the pilot of the CBS series Swingtown.

Track listing

  1. "Golden Years" (Bowie) – 3:22
  2. "Can You Hear Me?" (Bowie) – 5:04

Production credits

Other releases

Cover versions

  • Nina Hagen - Live recording from Fearless/Angstlos tour
  • Loose Ends - So Where Are You? (1985)
  • Marilyn Manson - Dead Man on Campus soundtrack (1998)
  • Amberjack Rice, Walter Traggert and Breakfastime - Only Bowie (1995)
  • Swell - Crash Course for the Ravers – A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie (1996)
  • Track One A.B. - Reverie (1999)
  • Walk DMC - Ashes to Ashes: A Tribute to David Bowie (1998)
  • Essra Mohawk - Spiders from Venus: Indie Women Artists and Female-Fronted Bands Cover David Bowie (2003)
  • Count Zero - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)



  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

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