Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13
David Bowie

What David Bowie Played While DJ For A Day


For two hours in 1979, Bowie took control of BBC Radio 1 and played music by bands such as The Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen and Roxy Music.

On May 20, 1979, when he still had his original teeth and he lived in Berlin, David Bowie stepped in as a DJ for a two-hour show, playing music by artists such as The Velvet Underground and Roxy Music. A moment in Western history, as poets would say.

Imagine the shivers that were sent down the general public’s spine upon hearing for the first time “Sweet Jane” sung by Lou Reed or “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City” by Bruce Springsteen or “Trial Prison” by Philip Glass. For many lucky British listeners, Bowie was the one who first introduced them to these musicians whom the world could today not do without, as well as bands such as Talking Heads and Blondie.

On the radio program, Bowie delights in being able to share his then-obscure favorite songs and bring something entirely new to the audience tuned in. “Nobody has this in their record collection,” he said of “96 Tears” by Question Mark & The Mysterians, and it may be that nobody yet has to this day. Only Bob Dylan compares with Bowie as a radio host and curator. The full program can be heard at the below link, while here is the full playlist:

The Doors, “Love Street”
Iggy Pop, “TV Eye”
John Lennon, “Remember”
Question Mark & The Mysterians, “96 Tears”
Edward Elgar, “The Nursery Suite” (extract)
Danny Kaye, “Inchworm”
Philip Glass, “Trial Prison”
The Velvet Underground, “Sweet Jane”
Mars, “Helen Fordsdale”
Little Richard, “He’s My Star”
King Crimson, “21st Century Schizoid Man”
Talking Heads, “Warning Sign”
Jeff Beck, “Beck’s Bolero”
Ronnie Spector, “Try Some, Buy Some”
Marc Bolan, “20th Century Boy”
The Mekons, “Where Were You?”
Steve Forbert, “Big City Cat”
The Rolling Stones, “We Love You”
Roxy Music, “2HB”
Bruce Springsteen, “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”
Stevie Wonder, “Fingertips”
Blondie, “Rip Her To Shreds”
Bob Seger, “Beautiful Loser”
David Bowie, “Boys Keep Swinging”
David Bowie, “Yassassin”
Talking Heads, “Book I Read”
Roxy Music, “For Your Pleasure”
King Curtis, “Something On Your Mind”
The Staple Singers, “Lies”


Related Articles