|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album "Heroes"|
|Released||23 September 1977|
|Studio||Hansa (West Berlin)|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
"'Heroes'" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was co-written by Bowie and Brian Eno, produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, and recorded in July and August 1977 at Hansa Studio by the Wall. It was released on 23 September 1977 as the lead single from his 12th studio album of the same name, backed with the song "V-2 Schneider". A product of Bowie's "Berlin" period, the track was not a huge hit in the United Kingdom or the United States after its release, but it has since become one of his signature songs. In January 2016, following Bowie's death, the song reached a new peak of number 12 in the UK Singles Chart. "'Heroes'" has been cited as Bowie's second-most covered song after "Rebel Rebel".
Inspired by the sight of Bowie's producer-engineer Tony Visconti embracing his lover by the Berlin Wall, the song tells the story of two lovers, one from East and one from West Berlin. Bowie's performance of "'Heroes'" on 6 June 1987, at the German Reichstag in West Berlin has been considered a catalyst to the later fall of the Berlin Wall. Following his death in January 2016, the German government thanked Bowie for "helping to bring down the Wall", adding "you are now among Heroes".
"'Heroes'" has received numerous accolades since its release, including inclusion on lists of the greatest songs of all time; Rolling Stone named the song the 46th greatest ever, and NME named it the 15th greatest. Bowie scholar David Buckley has written that "'Heroes'" "is perhaps pop's definitive statement of the potential triumph of the human spirit over adversity".
The song title is a reference to the 1975 track "Hero" by German krautrock band Neu!,whom Bowie and Eno admired. It was one of the early tracks recorded during the album sessions, but remained an instrumental until towards the end of production. The quotation marks in the title of the song, a deliberate affectation, were designed to impart an ironic quality on the otherwise romantic or triumphant words and music.
Producer Tony Visconti took credit for inspiring the image of the lovers kissing "by the wall", when he and backing vocalist Antonia Maass (Maaß) embraced in front of Bowie as he looked out of the Hansa Studio window.Bowie claimed that the protagonists were based on an anonymous young couple, but Visconti, who was married to Mary Hopkin at the time, contends that Bowie was protecting him and his affair with Maass. Bowie confirmed this in 2003, over two decades after Visconti and Hopkin's eventual divorce.
Bowie said that the "plodding tempo and rhythm" were inspired by the Velvet Underground song "I'm Waiting for the Man".
Richard Buskin of Sound on Sound described "'Heroes'" as a "highly experimental piece of art rock". The music, co-written by Bowie and Eno, is in a two-chord progression (D–G), with a "brief excursion to familiar chords" in the key of G. Biographer David Buckley likens it to a Wall of Sound production, a forceful and noisy arrangement of guitars, percussion and synthesizers. Eno said the song always "sounded grand and heroic" and that he had "that very word – heroes – in my mind" even before Bowie wrote the lyrics. The backing track consists of a conventional arrangement of piano, bass guitar, rhythm guitar and drums. The other parts consist of synthesiser parts by Eno using an EMS VCS3 to produce detuned low-frequency drones, with the beat frequencies from the three oscillators, producing a juddering effect. In addition, King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp generated an unusual sustained sound by allowing his guitar to feedback and sitting at different positions in the room to alter the pitch of the feedback. Visconti mixed out Dennis Davis' kick drum, stating that the track "seemed to plod" with it but had a more energetic feel without it.
Bowie's vocal was recorded after most of the session musicians had departed Berlin, feet away, and one 50 feet away. Each microphone was muted as the next one was triggered. As the music built, Bowie was forced to sing at increased volumes to overcome the gating effect, leading to an increasingly impassioned vocal performance as the song progresses. Jay Hodgson writes,with a "multi-latch" system devised by Visconti that creatively misused gating, a recording technique to control volume. Three microphones were used to capture the vocal, with one microphone nine inches from Bowie, one 20
Bowie's performance thus grows in intensity precisely as ever more ambience infuses his delivery until, by the final verse, he has to shout just to be heard ... The more Bowie shouts just to be heard, in fact, the further back in the mix Visconti's multi-latch system pushes his vocal tracks, creating a stark metaphor for the situation of Bowie's doomed lovers.
"'Heroes'" was released in a variety of languages and lengths ("a collector's wet dream" in the words of NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray ). In contrast to the bewildering audio situation, the video (directed by Nick Ferguson ) was a stark and simple affair, the singer captured performing the song in what appeared to be a single take with multiple cameras, swaying in front of a spotlight that created a monotone and near-silhouette effect.
"'Heroes'" was released on 23 September 1977 as the lead single of Bowie's 12th studio album of the same name by RCA Records (as RCA / PB 11121), with a length of 3:32, and with fellow album track "V-2 Schneider" as the B-side. It subsequently appeared, with a longer length of 6:07, as the third track, between "Joe the Lion" and "Sons of the Silent Age", on the album in October the same year. Another 12" single, containing both the single and album versions, was released in the US by RCA Victor (as RCA / JD-11151) the same year. The German and French versions, titled "'Helden'" and "'Héros'", respectively, was released by RCA (RCA / PC-9821). Despite a large promotional push, including Bowie's first live Top of the Pops appearance since 1973, "'Heroes'" reached only number 24 in the UK charts, and failed to make the US Billboard Hot 100. In Italy, the song was certified gold by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.
Bowie filmed a promotional music video for the track in 1977. Directed by Nick Ferguson and shot in Paris, it features numerous shots of Bowie against a backdrop of white light and wearing the same bomber-jacket he wore on the "Heroes" album cover.Pegg believes the effect is similar to Liza Minnelli's performance of "Maybe This Time" in the 1972 film Cabaret .
Writing for NME on its release, Charlie Gillett slated the record, saying: "Well he had a pretty good run for our money, for a guy who was no singer. But I think his time has been and gone, and this just sounds weary. Then again, maybe the ponderous heavy riff will be absorbed on the radio, and the monotonous feel may just be hypnotic enough to drag people into buying it. I hope not." 's end of year critics poll for 1977.Despite the poor review it featured at number 6 in the NME
Later assessments were more favourable. In February 1999, Q magazine listed "'Heroes'" as one of the 100 greatest singles of all time as voted by the readers. In March 2005, the same magazine placed it at number 56 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2004, Rolling Stone rated "'Heroes'" number 46 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was included in 2008's The Pitchfork Media 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present. John J. Miller of National Review rated "'Heroes'" number 21 on a list of "the 50 greatest conservative rock songs" due to its anti-Soviet political context. It has also become a gay anthem. Uncut placed "'Heroes'" at number 1 in its 30 greatest Bowie songs in 2008.
Moby has said that "'Heroes'" is one of his favourite songs ever written, calling it "inevitable" that his music would be influenced by the song, and Dave Gahan, the lead singer of Depeche Mode, was hired into the band when band founder Vince Clarke heard him singing "'Heroes'" at a jam session.
|TIME||United States||"All-Time 100 Songs"||2011||N/A|
|Rolling Stone||United States||"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"||2003||46|
|NME||United Kingdom||"100 Greatest Singles of All Time"||2002||5|
|NME||United Kingdom||"500 Greatest Songs of All Time"||2014||15|
|NME||United Kingdom||"100 Greatest Songs of NME's Lifetime...So Far"||2012||3|
|NME||United Kingdom||"NME Readers Best Tracks of the Last 60 Years"||2012||16|
|NME||United Kingdom||"Best tracks of the 1970s"||2014||4|
|NME||United Kingdom||"David Bowie's 40 Greatest Songs"||2014||1|
|Mojo||United Kingdom||"The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time"||1997||34|
|Sounds||United Kingdom||"All Time Top 100 Singles"||1985||2|
|Q||United Kingdom||"Q Readers Top 100 Singles of All Time"||1999||36|
|Pitchfork||United States||The Pitchfork 500||2008||N/A|
|Pitchfork||United States||"The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s"||2016||6|
|Radio X||United Kingdom||"The Top 1,000 Songs of All Time"||2010||24|
|Radio X||United Kingdom||"Best of British"||2016||7|
|Uncut||United Kingdom||"David Bowie's 30 best songs"||2008||1|
N/A designates unordered lists.
All tracks written by David Bowie and Brian Eno, except where noted.
According to biographer Chris O'Leary:
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark) |
digital sales since 2011
|Italy (FIMI) |
digital sales since 2009
|United Kingdom (BPI) |
digital sales since 2004
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
|Single by the Wallflowers|
|from the album Godzilla: The Album|
|B-side||"Invisible City" (live)|
|The Wallflowers singles chronology|
American rock band the Wallflowers recorded a version of the song for the soundtrack to the 1998 monster film Godzilla . This version peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1998, as well as number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart and number 23 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream chart. In Canada, the single topped the RPM Alternative 30 for six weeks and reached number 13 on the RPM Top Singles chart. British duo Dom and Nic directed the song's music video.
In May 1998, Billboard editor Larry Flick reviewed the song, writing that the cover "beautifully illuminates the heart-tugging quality of the lyrics" but noting that Wallflowers lead singer Jakob Dylan failed to replicate the "irony and edge" of Bowie's version.Reviewing the Godzilla soundtrack on AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said the cover was respectful to the original.
US promo CD
Australian CD single
Credits are lifted from the Australian CD single liner notes.
The discography of English singer-songwriter David Bowie (1947–2016) consists of 27 studio albums, 21 live albums, 46 compilation albums, 10 extended plays (EPs), 128 singles, 4 soundtracks and 12 box sets. Bowie also released 28 video albums and 72 music videos.
"Space Oddity" is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was first released as a 7-inch single on 11 July 1969 before appearing as the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie. It became one of Bowie's signature songs and one of four of his songs to be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Young Americans is the ninth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 7 March 1975 by RCA Records. The album marked a departure from the glam rock style of Bowie's previous albums, showcasing his interest in soul and R&B. Commentators have described the record as blue-eyed soul, while Bowie himself labelled the album's sound "plastic soul". Initial recording sessions took place following the first leg of his Diamond Dogs Tour in August 1974 at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with producer Tony Visconti and a variety of musicians, including guitarist Carlos Alomar, who would become one of Bowie's most frequent collaborators, and then-unknown singer Luther Vandross. After the initial sessions, the tour continued, with the setlist and design changed due to the influence of the new material recorded; this portion of the tour has been labeled the "Soul tour".
"Heroes" is the 12th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 14 October 1977 by RCA Records. After releasing Low earlier that year, Bowie toured as the keyboardist of his friend and singer Iggy Pop. At the conclusion of the tour, they recorded Pop's second solo album Lust for Life at Hansa Tonstudio in West Berlin before Bowie regrouped there with collaborator Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti to record "Heroes". It was the second instalment of his "Berlin Trilogy", following Low and preceding Lodger (1979). Of the three albums, it was the only one wholly recorded in Berlin. Much of the same personnel from Low returned for the sessions, augmented by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp.
Lodger is the 13th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 25 May 1979 by RCA Records. After an eventful year that saw the release of two studio albums, Low and "Heroes", and many other side projects in 1977, Bowie embarked on the Isolar II world tour in 1978. During a break in the tour, Bowie regrouped with collaborator Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti to record his next album. The final release of the Berlin Trilogy, the album was recorded mainly at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, in September 1978. Most of the same personnel from prior releases returned, and future King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew joined from the tour.
Scary Monsters , also known simply as Scary Monsters, is the 14th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 12 September 1980 by RCA Records. Over the past three years, Bowie garnered massive artistic success with the "Berlin Trilogy", which consisted of Low, "Heroes" and Lodger (1977–1979). However, the trilogy had proven less successful commercially. By 1980, numerous artists Bowie had inspired with the trilogy were out-performing him commercially, leading him to desire a more commercial sound for his next record.
Low is the 11th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 14 January 1977 by RCA Records. After years of drug addiction and personal instability living in Los Angeles, Bowie escaped to France in 1976 with his friend and singer Iggy Pop to become sober. After meeting musician Brian Eno the same year, Bowie began recording the first of three collaborations with Eno and producer Tony Visconti later named the "Berlin Trilogy". Low was mostly recorded from September to November 1976, sessions beginning at the Château d'Hérouville in Hérouville, France and ending at the Hansa Tonstudios in West Berlin following Bowie and Pop's move there.
"The Man Who Sold the World" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. The title track of Bowie's third studio album of the same name, it was released in November 1970 in the US and in April 1971 in the UK by Mercury Records. Produced by Tony Visconti, it was recorded at Trident and Advision Studios in London in May 1970, towards the end of the album's sessions; Bowie recorded his vocal on the final day of mixing for the album, reflecting his generally dismissive attitude during the sessions. Musically, it is based around a "circular" guitar riff from Mick Ronson. Its lyrics are cryptic and evocative, being inspired by numerous poems including "Antigonish" by William Hughes Mearns. Bowie's vocals are heavily "phased" throughout and have been described as "haunting".
"Fashion" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on his 1980 album Scary Monsters . It was released as the second single from the album and was accompanied, like its predecessor "Ashes to Ashes", by a highly regarded music video.
"Fame" is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was released on his 1975 album Young Americans and was later issued as the album's second single by RCA Records in July 1975. Written by Bowie, Carlos Alomar and former Beatle John Lennon, it was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City in January 1975. It is a funk rock song that represents Bowie's dissatisfaction with the troubles of fame and stardom.
Stage is the second live album by English musician David Bowie, recorded on the Isolar II Tour, and released by RCA Records in 1978. First UK pressings were on translucent yellow vinyl and some European pressings were also available on blue vinyl. Since its original release, Stage has been reissued numerous times, each with expanded track listings.
"Young Americans" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in 1975. It is included in the album of the same name. The song was a breakthrough in the United States, where the glam rock of Bowie's earlier career had limited popularity outside the major cities. The song reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his second biggest success on that chart until that point, meanwhile it would go on to reach number 18 in the UK Singles Chart.
"Sound and Vision" is a song by English musician David Bowie. It was released in January 1977 on side one of his 11th studio album Low. RCA Records later chose it as the first single from the album. Co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, the song was recorded at the Château d'Hérouville in Hérouville, France in September 1976, continuing at Hansa Studios in West Berlin from October to November. The song began as a simple G major chord progression, which Bowie gave to the backing musicians, writing and recording his vocals later on. It features backing vocals from Brian Eno and Visconti's then-wife Mary Hopkin.
"Beauty and the Beast" is a song by David Bowie, the first track on his 1977 album "Heroes". It was issued as the second single from the album in January 1978, becoming a minor UK hit, peaking at No. 39 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Ashes to Ashes" is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was the lead single from the 1980 album Scary Monsters and became Bowie's second UK No. 1 single. It is also known for its innovative video, directed by Bowie and David Mallet, which at the time was the most expensive music video ever made.
"Where Are We Now?" is a song by English musician David Bowie. Recorded in secret between September and October 2011 at the Magic Shop in New York City, it was released by ISO and Columbia Records as the lead single of his 24th studio album The Next Day on iTunes on 8 January 2013, Bowie's 66th birthday. It was accompanied by a music video directed by Tony Oursler, which was posted on Bowie's website. According to producer Tony Visconti, the timing of the release was Bowie's idea, and the single was simply "dropped" in iTunes for fans to discover, with no prior warning or fanfare.
"The Stars " is a song by English musician David Bowie; it serves as the second single from his twenty-fourth studio album The Next Day. The song's official music video was released on 25 February 2013 and the song itself was released for digital download the following day. In the UK it joined BBC Radio 2's Playlist in the B list in March 2013, "The Next Day" was also the album on the week beginning 11 March, the week in which it was released. The song was released with "Where Are We Now?" – the album's first single – on a limited edition 7" 45 vinyl record on 20 April 2013 in celebration of Record Store Day. In December 2013 the song was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award in the category 'Best Rock Performance'.
"Lazarus" is a song by English rock musician David Bowie. It was released on 17 December 2015 as a digital download, making it the second single from his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar (2016). It is Bowie's last single to be released during his lifetime. The single received its world premiere on BBC Radio 6 Music's Steve Lamacq on the day of its release as a single. In addition to its release on Blackstar, the track is used in Bowie's off-Broadway musical of the same name. The official music video, directed by Johan Renck, was released on 7 January 2016, three days before Bowie's death.
"I Can't Give Everything Away" is a song by English musician David Bowie. It is the seventh and final track on his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar (2016), and was released posthumously as the album's third and final single on 6 April 2016. The track was written by David Bowie and was produced by both he and Tony Visconti.
A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) is a box set by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on 29 September 2017. A follow-up to the compilations Five Years (1969–1973) and Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976), the set covers Bowie's career from 1977 to 1982, including his "Berlin Trilogy", over eleven compact discs or thirteen LPs. Exclusive to the box set are a Heroes EP, which compiles versions of his song "Heroes" recorded in different languages, a new version of Lodger (1979), remixed by coproducer Tony Visconti, and Re:Call 3, a compilation of non-album singles, single versions, and B-sides that serves as a sequel to Re:Call 1 from Five Years and Re:Call 2 from Who Can I Be Now? and features the Baal EP (1982) in its entirety on CD for the first time.
The use of quotation marks possibly implies that the "Heroes" are not to be taken too seriously.Cite magazine requires
The use of quotation marks around the title meant that Bowie felt there was something ironic about being a rock 'n' roll hero to his fans, while he kept his own emotional life as far distant and remote and private as possible.Cite magazine requires
Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among #Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the #wall. youtu.be/YYjBQKIOb-w #RIPDavidBowie