Revenge Recommends: "Five Years" by" David Bowie


In the early 1970s Bowie was at the height of his creative powers. Five Years was the first track on his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, in which he showcased the stage persona of Ziggy Stardust, a quintessential rock star, reportedly concocted from his experiences of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.

The song is basically a call to appreciate life and humanity in all their ugliness and beauty by invoking the notion of the world being destroyed in the time span specified by the title. This powerful live performance was originally recorded for the BBC 2's Old Grey Whistle Test, probably the greatest music program of all time. In this song Mick Ronson is on piano, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Mick Woodmansey on drums

Lyrics:

Pushing through the market square
so many mothers crying
News had just come over
we had five years left to sigh in
News guy wept when he told us
Earth was really dying
Cried so much that his face was wet
then I knew he was not lying
I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies
I saw boys, toys, electric irons, and TVs
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to get everything and then
so many people
all the short-fat people
and all the nobody people
and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people

A girl my age went off her head
Hit some tiny children
If the black had not pulled her off
I think she would have killed them
A soldier with a broken arm
fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest
and a queer threw up at the sight of that
I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor
drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine
don't think you knew you were in my song
It was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
and I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
a face, your race, the way that you walk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
We've got five years, that's all we've got

(repeat and fade)
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