Romm Diamonds Blog
January 15th, 2016
David Bowie fans from around the world shed a collective tear on Sunday when they learned of his passing from liver cancer at the age of 69.

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The singer-songwriter-actor-producer leaves a legacy of timeless songs that spanned five decades. One of our favorite Bowie songs, "Golden Years," fits in perfectly with our theme for Music Friday when we regularly feature tunes with jewelry, gemstones or a precious metals in the title and lyrics.

Released by Bowie as a single in 1975, "Golden Years" was reportedly inspired by the glitzy nostalgia of "On Broadway," the jazzy 1963 classic by The Drifters. Interestingly, Bowie originally offered it to Elvis Presley to perform, but when the King of Rock and Roll took a pass, Bowie decided to perform it himself. The song was featured on his 1976 Station to Station album and became an international hit, reaching #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #8 in the U.K.

Bowie's ex-wife Angela Bowie has claimed to be the subject of the song (although a counterclaim was made by former Bowie backup singer and girlfriend, Ava Cherry). Bowie implores his love interest to revel in these "golden years" — a time of untold fame and fortune. He sings, "Golden years, gold whop whop whop / Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel / Come get up my baby / Look at that sky, life's begun / Nights are warm and the days are young."

To promote the release of the song, London-born Bowie was invited to sing "Golden Years" for a live Soul Train audience. Somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of being on a nationally televised program in the U.S. — which included a live interview by larger-than-life host Don Cornelius — Bowie did a bit of drinking before the show to calm his nerves. The result was an uneven performance with Bowie seemingly stumbling over his own lyrics. Fortunately, he was simply lip-syncing, so the audio track remained flawless.

"Golden Years" became one of Bowie's signature songs and he played it regularly on his tours in 1983, 1990 and 2000.

Bowie went on to have a stellar career, which included a 1996 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, he placed #39 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time, and two years later he won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Please check out the clip below of a youthful, but somewhat inebriated, Bowie singing "Golden Years" on Soul Train in 1975. Still a classic...

"Golden Years"
Written and performed by David Bowie.

Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Look at that sky, life's begun
Nights are warm and the days are young
Come get up my baby

There's my baby, lost that's all
Once I'm begging you save her little soul
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Last night they loved you, opening doors and pulling some strings, angel
Come get up my baby
In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine
Come get up my baby

I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years
Nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years, gold
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Some of these days, and it won't be long
Gonna drive back down where you once belonged
In the back of a dream car twenty foot long
Don't cry my sweet, don't break my heart
Doing all right, but you gotta get smart
Wish upon, wish upon, day upon day, I believe oh Lord
I believe all the way
Come get up my baby

Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years

There's my baby, lost that's all
Once I'm begging you save her little soul
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Come get up my baby

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years

I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years
Nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years, gold

Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop
Golden years, gold whop whop whop


Credits: Images via DavidBowie.com.