David Bowie vs Neil Young

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David Bowie vs Neil Young

David Bowie
44
54%
Neil Young
37
46%
 
Total votes: 81

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George P. Smackers
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby George P. Smackers » 12 Nov 2017, 15:25

I actually think Neil Young's a better songwriter. So much declaiming and speechifying in Bowie's songs. You never get stuff that seems convincingly muddle-headed and spontaneous like "and the morning sun has yet to climb my hood-ornament." Always the grand statement with Bowie.

But I still vote Bowie because I'm fine with style over substance if the style's good enough (--and I'm a Murican dammit--what a thread). No dancing to Neil Young songs, is there?

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Matt Harringay
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Harringay » 12 Nov 2017, 15:34

fange wrote:
The Modernist wrote:I think I'd struggle to name 10 NY songs that have really impacted upon the wider public consciousness.

I think I can come up with 10 pretty easily.

'Mr. Soul'
'Cinnamon Girl'
'Heart of Gold'
'Ohio'
'The Needle and the Damage Done'
'Old Man'
'Like A Hurricane'
'Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)'
'Harvest Moon'
'Over and Over'
'Rockin' in the Free World'

I'd say all of these have pretty much become rock standards, beloved all over the world.


I wouldn't.
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Matt Harringay
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Harringay » 12 Nov 2017, 15:37

The Modernist wrote: Do people really like "Rockin' in the Free World" that much?


You talked about entering the wider public consciousness, though. I think that one has. Somehow, it captured the zeitgeist.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 12 Nov 2017, 15:58

The Modernist wrote:I think I'd struggle to name 10 NY songs that have really impacted upon the wider public consciousness.


Seems to me that Young and Bowie are pretty equal on this count. Both have a pretty durable slate of hits that the average layperson would know. Both have an even longer list of “important” songs that an active fan could cite.

I think that which continent you are on when you ponder this question probably matters. It may be hard for people in the UK to get how massive Young’s impact is in the US, and vice-versa (though to a lesser degree after Bowie’s death than before it).

I think both of these guys are stand-ins for the platonic ideal of how a musical artist ‘does it the right way’ in their respective country of greater influence. People in the UK see Bowie as the exemplar of a great artist. In the US there is little desire for other artists to be more like Bowie (too much attention to artifice). Young’s sense of authenticity and personal integrity are closer to the standard we look for.
Last edited by Davey the Fat Boy on 12 Nov 2017, 17:00, edited 1 time in total.
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The Modernist
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby The Modernist » 12 Nov 2017, 16:33

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
The Modernist wrote:I think I'd struggle to name 10 NY songs that have really impacted upon the wider public consciousness.


Seems to me that Young and Bowie are pretty equal on this count. Both have a pretty durable slate of hits that the average layperson would know. Both have an even longer list of “important” songs that an active fan could cite.
.


I don't think Young has written anything as famous as 'Space Oddity', 'Life on Mars', 'Starman' or 'Heroes'. 'Heart of Gold' comes closest.

Mind you I also don't think that matters when measuring an artist's worth, so I don't know why I introduced it in the first place! :)

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby The Modernist » 12 Nov 2017, 16:35

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
I think both of these guys are stand-ins for the platonic ideal of how a musical artist ‘does it the right way’ in their respective country of greater influence. People in the UK see Bowie as the exemplar of a great artist. In the US there is little desire for other artists to be more like Bowie (too much attention to artifice). Young’s sense of authenticity and personal integrity are closer to the standard we look for.


I think this is broadly true.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 12 Nov 2017, 16:38

The Modernist wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
The Modernist wrote:I think I'd struggle to name 10 NY songs that have really impacted upon the wider public consciousness.


Seems to me that Young and Bowie are pretty equal on this count. Both have a pretty durable slate of hits that the average layperson would know. Both have an even longer list of “important” songs that an active fan could cite.
.


I don't think Young has written anything as famous as 'Space Oddity', 'Life on Mars', 'Starman' or 'Heroes'. 'Heart of Gold' comes closest.

Mind you I also don't think that matters when measuring an artist's worth, so I don't know why I introduced it in the first place! :)


Well FWIW...I don’t think the songs you listed are any more well known than ‘Old Man’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Southern Man’.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby joels344 » 12 Nov 2017, 16:58

Neil Young for me. Both as a songwriter and for his albums.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 12 Nov 2017, 17:21

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
The Modernist wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
Seems to me that Young and Bowie are pretty equal on this count. Both have a pretty durable slate of hits that the average layperson would know. Both have an even longer list of “important” songs that an active fan could cite.
.


I don't think Young has written anything as famous as 'Space Oddity', 'Life on Mars', 'Starman' or 'Heroes'. 'Heart of Gold' comes closest.

Mind you I also don't think that matters when measuring an artist's worth, so I don't know why I introduced it in the first place! :)


Well FWIW...I don’t think the songs you listed are any more well known than ‘Old Man’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Southern Man’.


"Life on Mars" and "Starman" were only big in the UK and Ireland.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Dr. E. PLATE » 12 Nov 2017, 17:25

We're going round in circles.

Neil Young's rep in the US is roughly equal with David Bowie's rep in the UK.

'Southern Man' means little to the average UK milkman, like 'Starman' means very little to the average US miner.

Both have written a handful of great tunes - I would put them on equal footing as far as sheer songwriting talent goes.

Can we get beyond that, finally?
Last edited by Dr. E. PLATE on 12 Nov 2017, 17:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 12 Nov 2017, 17:26

:lol:

You've certainly got a point, John.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Minnie the Minx » 12 Nov 2017, 17:27

Matt Wilson wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
The Modernist wrote:
I don't think Young has written anything as famous as 'Space Oddity', 'Life on Mars', 'Starman' or 'Heroes'. 'Heart of Gold' comes closest.

Mind you I also don't think that matters when measuring an artist's worth, so I don't know why I introduced it in the first place! :)


Well FWIW...I don’t think the songs you listed are any more well known than ‘Old Man’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Southern Man’.


"Life on Mars" and "Starman" were only big in the UK and Ireland.


Incorrect, unsurprisingly.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 12 Nov 2017, 17:30

Minnie the Minx wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
Well FWIW...I don’t think the songs you listed are any more well known than ‘Old Man’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, ‘Like a Hurricane’ and ‘Southern Man’.


"Life on Mars" and "Starman" were only big in the UK and Ireland.


Incorrect, unsurprisingly.


Do tell.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Minnie the Minx » 12 Nov 2017, 17:32

I'm not providing you with an education. You're a teacher, go and look it up! Lazy sod.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 12 Nov 2017, 17:33

I did. The UK/Ireland was where the song charted the highest.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby George P. Smackers » 12 Nov 2017, 17:41

Matt Wilson wrote:I did. The UK/Ireland was where the song charted the highest.

All based on feeling, but I do think "Life on Mars?" became more of a thing in the US as the years passed, even though it wasn't exactly a hit initially.

People started putting it at the top of their "best of" lists (of this and that), so it stayed on everyone's minds and radios. It became part of the breathable air. Maybe "Star Man" also, to a lesser extant.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Matt Wilson » 12 Nov 2017, 17:43

Both of them aren't played that much on rock radio stations though. Certainly not more than any number of Neil Young songs.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby George P. Smackers » 12 Nov 2017, 17:46

Matt Wilson wrote:Both of them aren't played that much on rock radio stations though. Certainly not more than any number of Neil Young songs.

Well I'm not the best judge of these things. I'm always asking people "is this popular?" "Is this something people have heard of?"

The afterlife of of non-hits is particularly hard to gauge.

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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 12 Nov 2017, 18:34

I’d argue that Life on Mars is to Bowie what After the Gold Rush is to Young. Both are “important” songs that a fan would consider central to the greatness of Bowie/Young. But your mom doesn’t know either of them.
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Re: David Bowie vs Neil Young

Postby Dr. E. PLATE » 12 Nov 2017, 18:47

Yep.
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