Turn and Face the Strange… A Tribute to David Bowie

The world lost a musical genius, an artist beyond compare. He was the soundtrack of the lives of so many of us,  spanning decades, spanning genres, spanning industries. He broke rules. He made his own rules. He didn’t give a shit about what anyone else thought of him.

He loved life.

And he has left us far too soon, at age 69.

When I was a freshman in high school, I embroidered the names of rock-and-roll artists on my jeans (yeah, that was a big thing back then). David Bowie had a coveted spot on my right knee. The Bump was the new, popular dance at the time, and the song “Fame” was made to be Bumped to. Whenever I hear that song, I am transported back to doing the Bump at Saint Augustine High School dances where I grew up in San Diego, CA.

Download my tribute to David Bowie.







The Spotify playlist can be found below:

You’ll find other resources below for you to create your own tribute. Take mine as is, or just sprinkle a few of the songs into your own. I tried to use a variety of songs spanning his many years. If you use any other songs or have any great ideas for a tribute, please leave a comment below.

This is my playlist from my iTunes:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.38.35 PM

Here is a Hip Hop Re-Drum Remix of “Fame” from Legitmix (remixed by Peter Gonzalez).

Other great songs that didn’t make my playlist are:

  • Dancing in the Streets, with Mick Jagger, 3:10, 131 bpm
  • Let’s Dance, 3:36, 114 bpm
  • The Gene Genie, 4:07, 130 bpm
  • Hallo Spaceboy, with Pet Shop Boys, 4:26, 130 bpm
  • China Girl, 4:17, 136 bpm
  • Blue Jean, 3:12, 124 bpm
  • Golden Years, 4:00, 108 bpm
  • Starman, 4:14, 97 bpm
  • Diamond Dogs, 5:58, 121 bpm
  • Ziggy Stardust, 3:13, 84 bpm

David Bowie - I don't know where I'm going

If you want some more background on David Bowie’s fascinating life, here is the Wikipedia page.

If you prefer mashups, you can download these Bootie Mashups Tributes to Bowie.

Bowie’s beautiful wife, Iman, tweeted these thought-provoking messages a few days before his passing. Use them as reflections in your profile.

Iman - do not worry that your life is turning upside down Iman - Start now

If you have video capabilities, below are some videos to project during your ride.

This version of “Space Oddity” is a treasure, sung by the surprisingly talented Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield, while in space. Bowie said it was one of his greatest honors. Use this as your cool-down.

Colonel Hadfield posted this on his Facebook page Monday morning:

Hadfield tribute to Bowie

An apparently slightly drunk Bowie performing “Fame” (a terrible lip sync!) on Soul Train. He was only the second white person to appear on Soul Train. Elton John had been the first a few months earlier.

Here is Bowie dancing with Mick Jagger in a version of “Dancing in the Streets” that will have you smiling. You may need to wear baggy pants and a trenchcoat for this one.

David Bowie and Annie Lennox at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in London, 1992.

The video of this hauntingly beautiful song, “Lazarus,” was published just two days before his death. It’s pretty obvious that he was sending a goodbye message to his fans, isn’t it?!

This live video of Life on Mars, accompanied by piano, is another great way to end your class.


  1. Thank you Jennifer for the inspiration to do this Bowie ride. I am a big Bowie fan, having seen him twice in concert in my younger years.

    I thought my participants wouldn’t like doing an all one-artisit ride, but I was wrong. I used this profile for two of my classes last week and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So much so, they gave me ideas for other one-artist rides they’d like.

    I changed out two songs in the profile: I used Diamond Dogs instead of Lust for Life and I used Sorrow for the stretching component.

    Thanks again ICA for giving me the tools to lead a fun, effective class!

  2. great email! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Led this ride today and it was well received. Brought one of my riders to tears. She said it was the most emotional cycle class she had ever experienced. She is from the UK and said it brought back a flood of memories of growing up. Another rider asked for the playlist after class as he and his wife met in school and they were in charge of a playlist for their school dance but were not allowed to play their list because David Bowie was on it!!! How times have changed. Thanks Jennifer for a great playlist and profile 🙂

  4. Thanks for this, Jennifer! I did an all Bowie tribute ride last night to a full house–first time I’ve ever used just one artist, but his work meant so much to me! Gone too soon…

  5. I taught a Bowie tribute profile twice on Monday evening, a lot of similarities between my profile and yours. My okay list was as follows. We finished on a climb and I felt the mist fitting track for our last working track was ‘Ziggy Stardust’. It went down well with the participants and regulars from other classes this week have asked me to do it for them.

    John I’m only Dancing
    Jean Genie
    Space Oddity
    Man Who Sold the World
    Oh You Pretty Thing
    Life on Mars
    Drive in Saturday
    Let’s Dance
    Rebel Rebel
    Dancing in the Streets
    Suffragette City
    Ziggy Stardust

  6. good stuff Jennifer. A sad loss to all of us. (BTW, I also can’t listen to Fame with out thinking of “The Bump”, lol) and don’t forget “Panic in Detroit”. another great song.

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