One year ago today, a star ascended right off this earth and into the unknown. That celestial body was David Bowie, and 365 days on, we still miss him. The music Bowie created in his lifetime has been so wildly influential over the past four decades that one might not think to ask what his favorite records were. Bowie’s work was so original, so otherworldly, that it is sometimes hard to imagine what component parts inspired his own compositions. And of course, now that the man himself is no longer with us, we could be guessing forever. Fortunately, the rock n’ roll legend penned a lengthy and in-depth look into his own vinyl collection for Vanity Fair in 2003. In Confessions of a Vinyl Junkie, Bowie lovingly flips through his 2,500 records to select his top 25, and gives an impassioned and informative description for each.

Due to his extensive collection and time constraints, Bowie chose to dive into the project a bit at random, pulling things off the shelf and only putting them back if they were too obvious. Of the selections Bowie cheekily wrote:

“If you can possibly get your hands on any of these, I guarantee you evenings of listening pleasure, and you will encourage a new high-minded circle of friends, although one or two choices will lead some of your old pals to think you completely barmy. So, without chronology, genre, or reason, herewith, in no particular order, 25 albums that could change your reputation.”

We’ve abbreviated his essay to a playlist, but I do recommend checking out these records, as well as the article he wrote, in full.

Thank you David. We may miss you forever.



The Last Poets by The Last Poets

Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt

The Fabulous Little Richard by Little Richard

Music For 18 Musicians by Steve Reich

The Velvet Underground & Nico by The Velvet Underground

Tupelo Blues by John Lee Hooker 

Blues, Rags and Hollers by Koerner, Ray and Glover

The Apollo Theatre Presents: In Person! The James Brown Show by James Brown

Forces of Victory by Linton Kwesi Johnson

The Red Flower of Tachai Blossoms Everywhere: Music Played on National Instruments by Various Artists

BananaMoon by Daevid Allen

Jaques Brel is Alive & Well & Living in Paris by Original Cast

The Electrosoniks: Electronic Music by Tom Dissevelt

The 5000 Sprirts or The Layers of the Onion by The Incredible String Band

Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman by Tucker Zimmerman

Four Last Songs by Gundula Janowitz

The Ascension by Glenn Branca

The Madcap Laughs by Syd Barrett

Black Angels by George Crumb

Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals

Delusion of the Fury by Harry Partch

Oh Yeah by Charles Mingus

Le Sacre du Printemps by Igor Stravinsky

The Fugs by The Fugs

The Glory (????) of the Human Voice by Florence Foster Jenkins