“This Is Not America” was not the great David Bowie’s first bit of film music, nor was it his last. That makes sense: Bowie was perhaps the most cinematic musician of the rock and roll era. His songs were little movies, his stage personae characters. Even his off stage life seemed fit for the big screen.
Here is a hardly comprehensive list of Bowie’s movie/music crossovers:
“Space Oddity,” Love You Till Tuesday, 1969. This is a little bit of a cheat, as Love You Till Tuesday was specifically a promotional film for Bowie the musician, but this is where it all begins. Some of you non-believers may be hearing this version of “Space Oddity” for the first time.
“Heroes/Helden,” Christiane F., 1981. This is a great mash-up of the English and German versions of “Heroes.” You didn’t know there was a German version? I’d rather light a candle than curse your darkness.
“Cat People (Putting Out Fire),” Cat People, 1982. I was obsessed with this little slice of Bowie-Moroder melodrama when it was released. The Let’s Dance version with Stevie Ray Vaughan kicks ass, but this one is my favorite.
“This Is Not America,” The Falcon and the Snowman, 1985.
“Absolute Beginners,” Absolute Beginners, 1986. This was the big year for Bowie movie music, and Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners is the best of the bunch. If you can get past the eighties production this is a really beautiful song.
“When the Wind Blows,” When the Wind Blows, 1986. A wonderful piece of animated goodness. If you’ve never seen When the Wind Blows put it in your queue.
“As the World Falls Down,” Labyrinth, 1986. I know that it’s a part of your childhood. I get that. But I can’t bring myself to watch this thing.
“Real Cool World,” Cool World, 1992. Bowie in his New Jack Swing incarnation. Again, not a favorite.
“Ian Fish, UK Heir,” Buddha Of Suburbia, 1993. Amazing how much difference a year makes. Buddha Of Suburbia is one of my favorite Bowie albums, and I’ve never seen the associated BBC series.
“Little Fat Man,” Extras (Season 2), 2006. Okay, this is neither movie nor soundtrack, but it’s without question the greatest Bowie cameo of all time. Again, Extras is one for your queue.