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Five Years (David Bowie song)

"Five Years"
Song by David Bowie
from the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Released16 June 1972 (1972-06-16)[1]
Recorded15 November 1971
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track listing

"Five Years" is a song written by David Bowie, recorded on 15 November 1971,[3] and released as the opening track on the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972.

The song tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years and the aftermath of this knowledge. Bowie is rumoured to have chosen the length of time, five years, as a result of a dream in which his deceased father told him he must never fly again and would die in five years.[4]

The "market square" referred to in the opening line is Aylesbury market square in Buckinghamshire, England. Bowie debuted both Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars albums at Friars Club in the town, and is reputed to have formed the Spiders there, following the "Hunky Dory" gig.

AllMusic describe the track as "easily one of the greatest album-opening songs ever".[5]

Extinction Rebellion have started using the track during their demonstrations in 2019 because of the striking connection between the lyrics of the song (amount of time left/we must never fly again) and one of their demands, "to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025".[6]

Live versions


Other releases

  • The compilations The Best of David Bowie (Japan 1974) and Starman (Russia 1989).

Cover versions

  • Santah – I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson (2014) (in Portuguese)
  • Aslan – CD Single (1998)
  • Guided By Voices - live recording - 3/9/2001, Music Zone, Asheville NC.
  • Born Ruffians – "Paper Bag Records vs. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" (2012)
  • Cyclefly – "Blockbuster: A Glitter Glam Rock Experience" (2000).
  • The Enemy – Live Recording 12 March 2007
  • Max LorentzKiss You In The Rain - Max Lorentz Sings David Bowie (2011)
  • Endless – "The Dark Side Of David Bowie: A Tribute To David Bowie" (1997)
  • Fish – "Songs from the Mirror" (1993) (an album of covers of his favourite songs)[7]
  • Marian Gold – (United) (1999)
  • The Outcasts – 5-track mini-LP, "Seven Deadly Sins", "Blood and Thunder" & "Seven Deadly Sins" CD (1997)
  • The Polyphonic Spree – the track was made available on the band's website. They occasionally played it while supporting Bowie on his Reality Tour.
  • The Postmarks – By The Numbers (2009)
  • Uncredited live performance included as a "bonus track" on the tribute album ".2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie" (2006)
  • Phish – performed this song live, 10/31/16 in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Angel Olsen – also performed this song live, first in Charlottesville on 28 November 2017, and than later in Brooklyn on the 1 of December.
  • Old 97's – "Mimeograph" EP (July 6, 2010) (New West Records)

See also


  1. ^ "Happy 43rd Birthday to Ziggy Stardust". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (2012 Remastered Version), 1972-06-06, retrieved 2018-07-16
  3. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now – David Bowie: The London Years: 1947–1974: p.231
  4. ^ Buckley, David (2004). David Bowie: the complete guide to his music. London: Omnibus. p. 16. ISBN 1-84449-423-3. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  5. ^ "Five Years – David Bowie – Song Info – AllMusic". AllMusic.
  6. ^ "Extinciton Rebellion protest in Weston Super Mare, UK". BristolLive.
  7. ^ Mawer, Sharon. "Songs from the Mirror". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 December 2015.

External links

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