Our David Bowie Tin Machine songs list looks at a band that was very much short-lived formed by David Bowie in 1988. Desiring to be just a part of a band instead of just the solo superstar legendary rock star that he was, David Bowie formed a band with Reed Gabriels on guitar, Tony Fox Sales on bass and Hunt Sales on drums. The quartet of musicians would call their band Tin Machine. In similar fashion to what Paul McCartney did in the mid 70s when he decided to change the name of his solo group from Paul McCartney and Wings to just “Wings,” David Bowie seemed to be just yearning to step into the background and enjoy the camaraderie of an equal partnership with three other musicians. Of course, David Bowie fans really didn’t care about the other musicians and the group. All the fans wanted was new David Bowie music and if it was going to be released as a group called Tin Machine than so be it.
When one looks back at the career of David Bowie, it’s very very clear that he was an innovator on so many levels. It’s been written many times how David Bowie influenced music, fashion, life styles, video and so forth. David Bowie was always reinventing himself with his sharp show business skills and artistic depth and that not many others could achieve. However, when it came to Tin Machine we pretty much all missed the boat on what was really going on there. Initially, the band really wasn’t widely accepted. Yet, looking back at their music, their sound, their image, the group was so ahead of their time. In many ways they created a the sound along with the great band Sonic Youth that would become so popular a few years later called grunge music.
It could be argued that even though Nirvana is credited with igniting the grunge scene that dominated music for a large part of the 90s, that grunge sound was already being explored with the bands Tin Machine and Sonic Youth. David Bowie had once again created a new sound that a lot of people just did not accept yet at the time. In the late 1980s, hair bands, glam bands and metal bands were still widely popular and the sound of Guns N’ Roses was the most dominant force in music. It was all big loud stadium rock and roll that defined the 80s. Tin Machine were formed simply in the wrong decade.
Tin Machine only released two studio albums and two live records The band’s first album simply entitled Tin Machine was released on May 22nd 1989. The band’s second studio album was released two years later on September 2nd 1991 entitled to Tin Machine II. The band released a great live album entitled Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby Baby in July of 1992. Just a couple years ago in 2019, a new Tin Machine live recording was released entitled Tin Machine: Live at La Cigale, Paris, 25 June 1989. Our Best Tin Machine songs list presents ten of our favorite Tin Machine recordings taken from the band’s studio and live albums.
# 10 – Goodbye Mr. Ed
We open our Tin Machine songs list with the great cut “Goodby Mr. Ed.” The song was released on the band’s second album Tin Machine II. The song was written by David Bowie, Hunt Sales and Tony Fox Sales. Listen to how the acoustic guitars are met by those screaming electric guitars as the song’s beginning as the song morphs into an almost classic David Bowie 70s sound with a very nice modern feel. Some awesome bass fills in this one. A great way to open this Tin Machine songs list.
# 9 – Baby Can Dance
Continuing with our top 10 Tin Machine songs list we turn to the band’s debut album for the first time and present the great song Baby Can Dance. Imagne if a band like this existed in 2021 and was putting out such great music as this songs. They would rule the world. “Baby Can Dance,” was the album’s closing song. The track was written by David Bowie.
# 8 – I Can’t Read
In the number eight spot on this Tin Machine songs list we turn to the early sounds of grunge in this great song “I Can’t Read.” Tell me Kurt Cobain of Nirvana wasn’t listening to this song. The song “I Can’t Read,” was written by David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels.
# 7 – Working Class Hero (John Lennon)
At this point on our list we turn to the first of two great cover songs performed by Tin Machine. The band did a great version of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,”and released it twice. The studio version appeared on their first album Tin Machine. The live version presented here was released on the band’s live album Tin Machine: Live at La Cigale, Paris, 25 June 1989 that was just released in August of 2019. David Bowie covering John Lennon with this great band just feels right.
# 6 – If There Is Something (Bryan Ferry)
The second of two cover songs on this list belongs to Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music with the very cool song “If There Is Something.” The song opened up the band’s first live album release Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby which was issued in 1992. The band also recorded a studio version of the song which appeared on the band’s second album Tin Machine II. It was the only cover song released on their sophomore effort.
# 5 – Heavens In Here
At the halfway point on our Tin Machine songs list we turn to one of the band’s most popular songs entitled “Heaven’s In Here.” The song was released as the band’s debut single from the group’s first album Tin Machine. This is the most classic rock sounding song from the band which is pretty interesting that they decided to release it as the lead single. The guitar work by Reeves Gabrels on this one is off the charts fantastic. This is such a great song.
# 4 – Baby Universal
Man does this one sound like vintage 1970s David Bowie Station To Station style. This is the song where critics were saying David Bowie is back. The band rocks hard along with David Bowie on this great track from the band’s second album Tin Machine II. The song “Baby Universal,” was released as the album’s opening track. The song was released as the second single from the album.
# 3 – Prisoner Of Love
The song “Prisoner Of Love,” is one of the deepest songs on the band’s first album Tin Machine. The song was written by all four band members including David Bowie, Reeves Gabrels, Hunt Sales and Tony Fox Sales. The song was released as the third single from the album. Reeves Gabrels cinematic guitar line resonates throughout the song wrapping around the classic vocal of the great David Bowie like two Western Cowboys riding into battle.
# 2 – You Belong In Rock And Roll
As we begin to wind down our Tin Machine list we turn to the standout track from the band’s second album Tin Machine II. The song “You Belong in Rock n’ Roll” is such a brilliant song that was written by the entire band of David Bowie, Peter Gabrels, Hunt Sales and Tony Fox Sales. The song was the album’s first single and was actually released before the album even came out. It would become Tin Machine’s highest-charting single in the United Kingdom.
# 1 – Under The God
We close out our Tin Machine songs list with the band’s incredible piece of music entitled “Under The God.” After the release of the promotional single “Heavens in Here,” the song “Under The God,” was released as the first single from the album Tin Machine . “Under the God,” would become the band’s biggest hit in the United States. It was a top 10 hit on both the US Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks and US Billboard Alternative Rock Tracks Charts. As big as David Bowie’s always been in England he’s been just as big in the United States. We miss David Bowie and we will continue to write about his music and his life as long as we own this rock and roll site. We hope you enjoyed this Tin Machine songs list and it inspires you to buy both of these amazing albums.
10 Best David Bowie Tin Machine Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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