Stephen Dorney.


Five influences on David Bowie's music

David Bowie has taken on many forms, from the androgynous dresser to disco dancer to juxtaposing jazzer. He influenced many but had many influence him in style, concepts and sounds, writes Stephen Dorney.

Five influences on David Bowie's music

The Velvet Underground

The '60s avant­-garde, New York underground rockers had a huge baring on Bowie's career. This is particularly poignant in his early work like Hunky Dory. One of the album's tracks "Queen Bitch" bares a resemblance in vocals to the Velvet's "I'm Waiting for the Man" with choppy, chainsaw guitar; sped-­up vocals and percussion to boot.

Lou Reed

The Velvet's frontman himself was idolised by Bowie. Reed's erratic behaviour and early glam rock influence had him fixated and enthralled; Bowie himself even adding backing vocals and co-production to Reed's seminal second album Transformer in 1972. Reed's passing in October 2013 had Bowie distraught, "He was a master."

Iggy Pop

Another one of the purveyors of punk, Iggy Pop's antics fascinated Bowie. 1976's Station to Station single "TVC15" was dedicated to Pop's drug­fuelled hallucination wherein he thought the television in Bowie's LA home was swallowing his girlfriend. Fun times.

Neu! and German Culture

Krautrock legends Neu! inspired countless movements including punk rock, electronic music, glam rock, post­punk and alternative music, to name just a few.

Neu!'s "Hero" more than hints at a nod from Bowie's classic single "'Heroes'", inspired by his love of the krautrock era and the trials and tribulations of the Berlin Wall, which he performed at in 1987, "We kind of heard that some of the East Berliners might actually get a chance to hear the thing, but we didn't realise in what numbers they would.

And there were thousands on the other side that had come close to the wall. So it was like a double concert where the wall was like the division... God, even now I get choked up."

Hip­Hop and Experimental Music

Friday's Blackstar left us with Bowie's epitaph to himself. Listening over to the album it's easy to see in retrospect even if the concept didn't grab you initially.

Surprisingly to many, Kendrick Lamar's 2014/2015 mega­selling To Pimp a Butterfly and experimental hip­hop artists Death Grips inspired much of Blackstar as well as the jazz permutations.

Although it came out nothing of the sort, there are certain textures and tempos that could be grasped from the sampling surrounds of Death Grips.

READ NEXT: How David Bowie inspired and influenced a generation of musicians

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