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"Queen Bitch" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory. Bowie was a great Velvet Underground fan, recording a cover of "I'm Waiting for the Man" in 1967 (which still remains unissued, though there is the live version on Bowie at the Beeb that immediately follows "Queen Bitch"). This song is a tribute to them and Lou Reed.

It starts with Bowie counting down to his acoustic guitar before Mick Ronson's thrashy guitar riff enters. The song's arrangement, featuring a melodic bass line, a tight drum pattern, choppy distorted guitar chords, and an understated vocal performance by Bowie, provided the template for the glam rock style which features prominently on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, his seminal 1972 follow-up to Hunky Dory. While the main riff is similar to the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane", it is actually lifted from Eddie Cochran's "Three Steps to Heaven". (a posthumous #1 hit single in the UK in 1960).

Live versions

  • Bowie played the song at the BBC show Sounds of the 70s 18 January 1972. This was broadcast at 7 February 1972 and in 2000 released 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 at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale 23 March 1976 was released on RarestOneBowie.
  • Lou Reed performed the song together with Bowie at his 50th Birthday Bash in New York City, New York in January 1997.
  • The Arcade Fire have played this song with Bowie in New York City as well.

Other releases

Cover versions

  • Birdbrain - Let's Be Nice (1997)
  • Broken Hippie (aka Golden Smog) - Live Recording (1997)
  • Capsize 7 - Crash Course for the Ravers - A Tribute to the Songs of David Bowie (1996)
  • Eater - All of Eater (1995) and The Compleat Eater (1993)
  • Green River - Rehab Doll (1988)
  • Seu Jorge recorded a Portuguese version for the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
  • Frankenstein 3000 - Hero: The Main Man Records Tribute to David Bowie (2007)
  • Rancid Vat - "Bowiecide" Single
  • Lou Reed - Live recording (with Bowie)
  • Spiral Jettymarker - Band Of Gold
  • The Unrehearsed - Live
  • The Tragically Hip - Played live several times on the World Container Tour
  • Elf Power - Live in Ann Arbor, MI


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