He'd had three UK flop singles since Space Oddity, and this fared little better in the charts. His debut single on RCA-- and the opening track on the Hunky Dory LP -- represented a sea change for both Bowie and pop music. A charged, accusatory lyric, a colourful volley of piano and sax and then you're into that irresistible chorus. Guaranteed to stop any pub dead in its tracks, the ch-ch-changes stutter is a real masterstroke. The B-side, Andy Warhol, reflected Bowie's fascination with the avant garde and enhanced his sense of mystery and danger all the more.
Availability: The Best Of Bowie EMI CD
29. JAMES BROWN: It's A Man's Man's World/ Is It Yes Or Is It No?
From Prisoner Of Love to the epic I Cried, the Godfather of Funk never hid his concurrent ambition of being America's baddest balladeer. Ignore the gimmicky title, a pastiche of the movie, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: this passionate howl from the heart softened its raw( and undeniably sexist) emotion with a lavish Sammy Lowe orchestration. Brown was inspired to write the song when his girlfriend commented sarcastically on his habit of lauding himself to the skies. His performance mixed arrogance and anguish in equal measure, to create a masterpiece of self-pity which doubled as a statement of pride.
Availability: The 40th Anniversary Collection Polydor CD