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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 58
Wed. March 6, 2012

Five Years
David Bowie
1972

“♫ I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies/ I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.’s/ My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare/ I had to cram so many things to store everything in there […] ♫”

Remember the emotional closing vocal—so dramatic by David Bowie on the opening track “Five Years” from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars? According to Uncut UK- engineer Dennis MacKay said Bowie broke down during the recording of the vocal to “Five Years.”

“Bowie’s screaming, and what you hear on that song [‘Five Years’] – the emotion – is for real,” explains MacKay. “He’s bawling his eyes out. [Mick] Ronson was looking at Bowie, stunned. I was in shock, because… he was also hitting every note spot-on.”

One of the theories to why D.B. was so emotional was the actual dream he had with his father telling David that Bowie, himself would die in five years. That same dream inspired Bowie to write and record “Five Years.”

Try to listen for the magic—the emotions of Bowie’s mortality coming out in his vocal. I can still hear it through the strings and the cackling backing vocals mixed perfectly trying to mask cracking in Bowie’s emotional voice. You can feel it—amazing!

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