David Bowie Is… opens next week at the Museum of Contemporary Art and we prime the pump with lots of his music on XRT’s Friday Feature this week. Mr. Bowie is one of the few modern rockers who has successfully incorporated science fiction motifs and settings in his songs. (He also starred in The Man Who Fell To Earth, one of the more thoughtful cinema speculations, playing a convincing alien version of himself.) Here’s five examples of Bowie at his fantastic best:

  1. “Space Oddity” Major Tom starred in two sequels, but this is where he got his start. His circuit was dead, but was there a malfunction or a deliberate attempt at transcendence?
  2. “TVC 15”  3D Television is still on the drawing board, but it was a frightening reality in this 1976 track.
  3. “Starman”  We aren’t any more ready to receive messages from space today than we were when this song was beamed our way back in 1972.
  4. “Future Legend/Diamond Dogs” This vision of a post apocalyptic New York filled with dreadful creatures still packs a punch today.
  5. “Life On Mars” OK, this is more a love song than a tale of interplanetary intrigue, but gotta love the title.

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