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David Bowie and the Berlin Trilogy : Low, Heroes and Lodger


David Bowie, stage name of David Robert Haywood-Jones (Brixton, London, 8 January 1947) is a British musician and actor, known for his musical work over nearly five decades, and his influence in particularly on rock music. David Bowie has sold over 136 million albums worldwide. Looks like a nice introduction, but i don’t wanna talk about the Bowie biography, instead this post is about one of his most productive stages: The Berlin Era.

A good time to introduce this subject at, at a time when Bowie just released a great album (The Next Day), and also when the media is talking about a collaboration to bring Bowie’s career to the cinema . The project already has a name, and it calls Lust for Life, a film that follows the legendary collaboration between David Bowie and Iggy Pop in the ’70s, when both moved to West Berlin to escape from their addictions and to reinvigorate their careers. Iggy Pop was inactive since The Stooges Raw Power from 1973, and the truth is that this partnership led to the creation of legendary albums like Idiot, Lust for Life by Iggy Pop and Low, ‘Heroes’ and Lodger – the Berlin Trilogy –  that also involved Brian Eno.

Far away from the time of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars,  as Brian Eno, Bowie had a assumed fascination with the German pop sound, the sound of bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! The interest in the German music scene and the drug addiction, was the bridge to move to Berlin, carrying with him the friend Iggy Pop. The two shared an apartment in Schöneberg, in search of a new direction in their music. The first two solo albums of Iggy Pop were then produced by David Bowie, which also joined a tour from UK,  to Europe and United States.

covers from david bowie triptych

The sound of Station to Station was recycled and matured in Low, for many the best album of the 70s. The first of three albums that are part of the Berlin Trilogy and the first of a series of collaborations with Brian Eno. The album reflects the state of mind of its creator that was partly due to drug abuse. Many of the songs reflect how depressed, lethargic and self-destructive Bowie was at the time. As an example, in Breaking Glass he tells a story of when Angie appears in Berlin with her boyfriend, Roy Martin, who led to a harsh discussion between them, or in Always Crashing in the Same Car, which is a reference to a car accident that Bowie had with his Mercedes. The album was released in 1977, and the track Sound and Vision reached number 3 in the charts. With songs relatively simple, repetitive, unadorned and almost entirely instrumental on the B-side, Low was a perverse reaction to punk rock, and is considered today an album way ahead of its time.  Joy Division used the name Warszawa to choose their initial designation.

david bowie in the studio recording low heroes and lodger

Only about ten months after LowHeroes was recorded with most of the same musicians (though Robert Fripp replaces Ricky Gardener on lead guitar), and again produced by Tony Visconti, the album was slightly more friendly than the previous album. Again , like in LowHeroes was divided into vocal and instrumental parts, and this piece is essential by the dreamy title track alone, generated most of the Bowie covers – the song tells the story of two lovers who meet at the Berlin Wall. On V-2 Schneider, Bowie made reference to the weapons of the Nazi German. Heroes is a good album in its own right, yet not as structured as Low, together the two brought to the public the sentiment of the Cold War, symbolized by the divided city that inspired them.  In 1978, the entire troupe embarked on a world tour, which included songs from both two albums . A month before the publication of Heroes, Bowie heard of the death of Marc Bolan, who shortly before had been with him to record a television special: the news left Bowie devastated

david and marc play together on a tv show

Released in 1979, Lodger was actually recorded in Switzerland not in Berlin, and was the last album of the Trilogy, or Triptych’ as David Bowie calls it. Lodger contained the singles Boys Keep Swinging, DJ and Look Back in Anger, and unlike the last two LPs, did not have instrumental tracks. But for one thing, it lacks an all-time classic track like Sound and Vision or Heroes, yet actually, Lodger is a fine piece of work, even though the sound is more like a mixture of New Wave and World Music.

David Bowie finally managed to break free from  the polemic divorce with Angie, and found himself in a new level of his career, soon he will be handed on the mtv pop era, and will become a star on a planetary level.


Essential Tracks from the Berlin Trilogy:

Sound and Vision;


Speed of Life;

Always Crashing in the Same Car;


Sons of the Silent Age;

Beauty and the Beast;

Fantastic Voyage;


Look Back in Anger;

Boys Keep Swinging.



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Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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