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David Bowie Station to Station album cover
4.06 | 418 ratings | 20 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Station to Station (10:14)
2. Golden Years (4:00)
3. Word on a Wing (6:03)
4. TVC 15 (5:33)
5. Stay (6:15)
6. Wild Is the Wind (Ned Washington, Dimitri Tiompkin) (6:02)

Total Time 38:07

Bonus tracks on 1991 remaster:
7. Word on a Wing (6:10)
8. Stay (7:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bowie / vocals, guitar, tenor & alto saxophones, Minimoog, Mellotron, arranger & co-producer

- Tony Visconti / string arranger, co-producer
- Carlos Alomar / guitar
- Earl Slick / guitar
- Stacey Heydon / guitar (7,8)
- Roy Bittan / piano
- Tony Kaye / keyboards (7,8)
- George Murray / bass
- Dennis Davis / drums
- Warren Peace / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Steve Shapiro (photo from the film "The Man Who Fell To Earth")

LP RCA - APL1-1327 (1976, UK)

CD RCA - PD81327 (1984, Europe)
CD EMI - CDEMD 1020 (1991, Europe) Remastered by Toby Mountain with 2 bonus tracks
CD EMI - 521 9060 (1999, Europe) 24-bit remaster by Nigel Reeve & Peter Mew

Thanks to micky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DAVID BOWIE Station to Station Music

DAVID BOWIE Station to Station ratings distribution

(418 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DAVID BOWIE Station to Station reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy

The trial with De Fries came to an end a few weeks before the release of this album, which was again quickly written, recorded and released. Still the same creative frenzy.

The influence of the funky sounds is still very much present but it is combined with great rock mood. Carlos can fully show his great skills on the electric guitar and the combination with Slick is of course fabulous. In some sort, it is precursory of the "Berlin" trilogy. Some even including "Station To Station" instead of "Lodger".

The opening and title track is the longest official Bowie studio song. It clocks at just over ten minutes of a fantastic voyage into rock and funky sounds. The guitar duo is extraordinary and reminds the days of "Width Of A Circle". It will also open the "White Light Tour" which I was lucky enough to have seen during his first visit in Belgium (76, FN). Tony Kaye (ex-Yes) will hold the keys during this tour.

David is introducing his last character: the Thin White Duke. "The return of the Thin White Duke throwing darts in lovers' eyes. The return of the Thin White Duke, making sure white stains".

The second and repetitive part is absolutely gigantic. Such a catchy and long ending! "It's not the side- effects of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love It's too late to be grateful. It's too late to be late again. It's too late to be hateful".

The hit single "Golden Years" is just a prolongation of the "Young Americans" experience and therefore has never pleased my old ears. I usually press next.

"Word On A Wing" is some sort of philosophical statement, a kind of prayer. The wonderful piano reminds us the "Hunky Dory" days. It is a wonderful rock ballad in which David put a lot of emotion. A positive and full of respect prayer to the all-mighty. Another highlight.

B-side of the album might sound lighter but it amazingly rock during "TVC 15" (is rock really dead David?) and it features a solid funk-rock piece of music: Stay. What a contrast with the syrupy arrangements of his previous album. There is a formidable and long guitar break during the second part. The rhythmic is particularly well crafted as well. Georges Murray on bass is sublime. Another highlight IMHHO.

What to say about the cover for "Wild Is The Wind"?

That it is my favourite of the album (on par with the title track actually)? Probably.

That it is one of David's best vocal performance? Probably.

I was listening this one in some sort of loop at the time. Having to stand up each six minutes to listen to it again, and again and again.Till exhaustion. Another highlight.

The remastered CD version holds two very good live versions of "Word On A Wing" as well as "Stay" which features an even better dual guitar solo. Fabulous.

This album is the best chart entry for Bowie in the US (Nr. 3) while it reached the fifth spot in the UK.

Did I say masterpiece?

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars What's this? Another Bowie album? This one starts with a ten minute epic? It must be prog. Well almost. "Station To Station", the tem minute piece mentioned begins well enough, with sound effects, and a some what prog-like evolution of the melodies & themes. But of course Bowie has to ruin it, by evolving the song into a typical Bowie poseur dance-rock extravaganza. Oh well.

At least this album has some of Bowie's better pop tunes, "Golden Years", "TVC15" and "Stay". All three of these are among the best of his popular songs.

Unfortunately, there is also "Word On A Wing", a maudlin, boring song that could only, possibly, sound good played by Roxy Music, who could often make maudlin sound compelling. To make matters worse, my CD, the Rykodisc release, has the song twice, adding a live version, as well as a live version of "Stay".

This is an okay disk, but hard to belive it averages five stars here.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Transitional albums. Ah, some of the worst as well as some of the best music is found on these somewhat confused artistic endeavours. The charmingly schizophrenic David Bowie feels right at home in a transitional period though, making Station To Station one of my favourites in his long and varied career.

Pulling together funk and soul rhythms in a tight rock setting with nods to his mainly singer-songwriter years this makes for an interesting and eclectic ride. What's more important though, is the first signs of a new-found or increased interest in the electronic, ambient, alien and drug-drenched Krautrock scene that will influence his albums immensely over the next four years or so. In short, there really is a prog edge to the album, if that is what you need to hear to get interested in Station To Station. Moreover, there's a frantic desperation and almost maniacal, fruitless focus that permeate and fuel the atmospheres and lyrics of the album, likely a result of Bowie's raging cocaine addiction at the time. It's a cold, somewhat cynical singer that tells the stories on Station and Station, adding to the already larger-than-life image of Bowie.

Station To Station kicks of the album in a ten-minute, shivers-down-the-spine epically-arousing bang. Amazing track, which goes through a series of distinct movements that are great individually, but even better as a whole. It starts with some ominous electronic noise, leading into an alarm-like piano, repeated for much of this segment. Strange, muted and plucked guitar with various screeching from a distorted form of the same instrument. Subtle riffing and a recurring, slightly buried organ. Wonderful, rich layering moving forward with a rock-hard, steady beat. Really powerful stuff, and surprisingly, also catchy as hell. Menacing, but still with a lot of punch, it's only interrupted by the sudden mellowness in the breaks of "the return of the thin white duke"; more of that delicious, subtly acrobatic organ and muted guitar-plucking along with Bowie's slightly distant vocals. Suddenly it erupts (to great effect) in the near five minute finale part, with higher tempo in its distinct and repeated parts. A triumph through sound - with catchy keys and steadily forward-and-upward-moving melodies and riffs. Just listen to the organ in the background - delicious! A worthy, generous conclusion inflated with loads of energy and an odd, almost desperate sense of joy. The shift in style over to Golden Years is impossible to miss. This one boasts a cool, danceable beat with funky overtones riddling the guitar and bass. For some reason Talking Heads always comes to mind, due to the song's strong rhythmic base and Bowie's somewhat stressful vocals and the background vocals that drops in and out of the picture. A smooth, detached art-pop song, which is richer than what's hinted initially.

Next up is the albums emotional high-point. Sincere, naked vocals together with matching piano and sweeping string (-Mellotron) arrangements and church organ. A guitar crying from a distance. Really lovely and lively piano work. That deserves to be mentioned a second time. This song has its roots in an earlier, brighter period of Bowie's career. Another reviewer mentioned Hunky Dory, which isn't far off. Called Words On A Wing, the near hymnal qualities of this one are almost guaranteed to touch your soul.

TVC15 is once again dabbling in funk-infused, attitude-filled rock territory. More pronounced guitar work and again great layering, making the background busy all the time. Classic rock feeling and great drive, with the piano and guitar lending influences and sounds from many of the genres Western music has to offer. It builds up into a rich, almost orchestrated conclusion positively buzzing with excellence. Another great track.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, but Stay is also quite funky, with intense guitar work and solid percussion (feels slightly Latin). Seemingly quite straight-forward, but suspended on Mellotron in the background and with detached, clinical vocals (leaves me a bit cold, to be honest). Has an air of anticipation to it, but that doesn't help, as it still feels like the weakest track on the album.

Wild Is The Wind is a cover of a song originally made in 1957, but Bowie really makes it his own here. A perfect fit on one of his early albums, it's a gloomy, slightly oppressive ballad where acoustic guitar is playing a dominating role for the first time on the album. Nothing extraordinary instrumentally (typical 60s vibe with 70s production), but a truly great vocal performance. Exposed, honest and fatalistic, it's a mesmerizing and beautiful ending to an odd, but rewarding album.

Might take some time getting used to, and perhaps not the best starting point if you want to explore and understand Bowie's massive career. But I discovered him with this album, so it might just work the other way around.

4 stars.


Review by fuxi
5 stars STATIONTOSTATION is one of David Bowie's greatest masterpieces, but when I used to listen to the album on LP, I routinely skipped the ballad "Word on a Wing" (too boring, and painfully sentimental!) and the B-side opener, "TVC15" (too lightweight). That's more than a quarter of the original album gone!

Fortunately, the remainder of the material was on an astonishingly high level, and even more fortunately Ryko's "Sound and Vision" edition from 1991 (for those who can still get hold of it) contains two bonus tracks which will give you a new perspective on some of the studio material, viz. a live version of "Word on a Wing" which sounds far less lethargic and more urgent than the original, and a soaring live performance of the gorgeous "Stay", curiously without Earl Slick on lead guitar but with a certain Stacey Heydon fulfilling the same role. (Both bonus tracks are from a 1976 gig at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, and Yes freaks may be pleased to know Tony Kaye plays keyboards on them. Which makes me wonder: when will Bowie finally get to use Patrick Moraz?)

If we take a quick look at the four original studio tracks that can, without a shadow of a doubt, be called "strong", it immediately becomes apparent that among the many rock stars who were addicted to cocaine in the mid-1970s only someone of Bowie's intelligence could have made an album as playful, profound AND varied as this. To move from the sublime noise-rock of the 10 minute title track (with its Kabbalah-inspired lyrics) to the (doo-wop inspired!) blue-eyed soul of "Golden Years" without losing your grip is pure genius. And to follow the heavy guitar-rock of "Stay" with the most cinematic ballad of your career must be considered another masterstroke, especially when the ballad in question ("Wild is the Wind", written by Dimitri Tiompkin and Ned Washington) is only accompanied on strummed acoustic guitar, gossamer-thin electric guitar (played by the trusty Carlos Alomar), bass and drums.

STATIONTOSTATION was a winner. Bowie used the strongest elements from his previous album (YOUNG AMERICANS), including his newly-gained penchant for crooning, and already seemed well on the way to carrying out the sonic experiments of his Berlin trilogy. All he needed was a new producer (well, actually an old one would do!) and a new career in a new town.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bowie's Berlin years (77-79) albums are often hailed as his artistic highpoint but I've never been much impressed by those albums. Not for the music, nor for its ground-breaking qualities. Besides, Bowie had already made the move from glam-rock to a Roxy Music styled art-rock before the Berlin years team-up with Eno.

The album preceding Station To Station was a hit and miss, but the grandiose hit Fame had sure raised hopes that the man was onto something. And the first half of the 10 minute Station To Station deliver on that promise. It's textured, groovy, slightly experimental and atmospheric. It's every bit as fresh as Heroes but it deosn't indulge in the contrived and artsy pose of that album. The second half of the song is entirely different, a kind of up-beat funky pop that sounds as old and stale as the first half sounded cool and exciting.

I've already admitted before to liking Bowie especially for his hits, and Golden Years is no exception. Not his best, but a solid pop song, and at least a whole lot better then the bland crooner ballad pop of Words on a Wing. Also TVC15 is an average song that hesitates between aged rockabilly and Roxy Music glam-rock. I quite like the chorus on this one though

Stay gets the momentum back with a decent art-rock song. I can't help finding Roxy Music and John Cale more convincing at this but it's ok, great groove and good vocals here. The most consistent song here. The album ends with a decent ballad Wild is The Wind that avoids the sentimental pitfall of Words on a Wing by the smallest possible margin.

Summed up, we get a promising opening track that crashes somewhere half-way in, a nice pop-hit with Golden Years and the solid funky art-rock of Stay. Around 15 minutes of good music, but never exceptional. Sounds like 2 stars.

Review by tarkus1980
5 stars It was cocaine that got him into his mid-70's creative funk, and by gum it was cocaine that was going to get him out of it. Years onward, this album makes plenty of sense in the context of Bowie's overall career arc - it's just about the textbook "transitional" album, and the only conceivable way to link Young Americans and Low in any rational manner - but I'd have to imagine that hearing this for the first time in early 1976 must have been an incredible shock. Young Americans made it seem like Bowie was pretty much finished, lost in a sea of sporadically interesting dance music and ballads, but this album, while certainly containing some strong funk/disco/soul influences, stretches into bizarre territories that Bowie had either not touched before or hadn't approached in a very long time. "Heroes" might contain stronger material overall, but it's Station to Station that stands as the quintessential consolidation of all of Bowie's strengths. It's funky and dancable and poppy and rocking and largely accessible, yes, but it's also noisy and menacing and largely inaccessible, and the combination is a joy to behold.

And to think, all that needed to happen for this album to come about was for Bowie to go insane. There have only been a few albums where the drug use that went into its creation has reached legendary status (like Syd Barrett with Piper at the Gates of Dawn), and Station to Station certainly qualifies for this list. No matter how many times I read about it, it's almost impossible for me not to giggle uncomfortably when reading about Bowie's experiences during this time; from the diet of cocaine, peppers and milk to the series of hallucinations of witches coming after his semen and Jimmy Page plotting against him, to whatever other horrible things may have happened but were lost to the winds of time, it seems almost a blessing that Bowie's recollection of that time escaped him in later years. His cocaine use of the time (in the sessions, but also in the Young Americans tour) also prompted the creation of a new persona, The Thin White Duke, who was basically an expression of whatever latent fascist/nazi tendencies Bowie might have had deep down inside. All in all, this was not a happy time to be David Bowie.

It was sure a happy time to be a David Bowie album, though. The album has but six tracks, three on each side, and each side follows the same approximate pattern; sci-fi guitar- rocker with lots of great piano, followed by funky poppy guitar-rocker, followed by epic anthemic soul-influenced ballad. Not too surprisingly, I find that the ballads let down the album a bit, but only a bit; "Word on a Wing" threatens at times to get tacky, and "Wild is the Wind" threatens to get boring, but thankfully they never cross their respective lines. "Word on a Wing" apparently meant a lot to Bowie, reflecting his struggle to find spiritual meaning in a world fogged up by cocaine, and while there are a few too many levels of cynicism built up in me to love this (I'm still not ready to take the falsetto singing of "My breath is like a word on a wing" fully seriously), I definitely enjoy it much more than not. "Wild is the Wind," a cover of an old Johnny Mathis song, is given a tasteful, low-key guitar-driven arrangement, and while I'm not sure about the length or much of Bowie's singing here (waaaaaay overdone in the second half especially), I have to admit there's some strong emotion in the moment that he sings, "Don't you know, you're life itself!" It's a strangely unsatisfying way to end the album, but it's a good song regardless.

The funky poppy guitar-rockers are way better, anyway. "Golden Years" has to be one of the most impressive "multi-purpose" songs I know of; you can dance to it, you can play air guitar to it, you can sing it in karaoke, and you can put it on at a party and suddenly make the room seem a lot cooler than before. It's definitely one of the most impressive pop songs Bowie ever did, and boy howdy is it catchy. "Stay," on the other hand, doesn't earn its keep through catchiness, but through some of the best funk, groove-based guitar playing you'll ever hear on an album made by a British white guy. It's not just the guitar playing that makes this groove work so well, though; the bass and the bongos and the mellotron (!!) make the whole thing as addictive as could possibly be. The song doesn't rely solely on the merits of the groove, though; the whole chorus, starting from "Stay, that's what I meant to say ..." is impossible to resist, and the verses definitely have their charms as well. Yup, if anybody ever tells you, for whatever reason, that they dislike "Stay," they're probably lying to you.

It's the two representatives of the first category, though, that make this album so immortal. The opening of the ten-minute title track would have been a total shock to listeners back when this came out (as if seeing a ten-minute track on a Bowie album wouldn't have been shock enough); the first minute combines AWESOME hellish guitar noises with actual train noises, before transitioning into a stomping noisy groove driven by a simple bass line, a two-note piano line and those wonderful guitar textures. The introduction ends up lasting more than three minutes, which on paper seems way too excessive for such a simple set of phrases, but while I might have gotten slightly bored with it the first couple of times I listened to it, I'd never dream of it now. The introductory groove is then used to underpin a "normal" song for a couple of minutes, and then, just when it seems things are starting to run out of steam, the song completely changes directions and becomes some of the coolest five minutes of rock music made in the 70's. This is close to the ultimate nonsensical 70's rock groove, combining lively piano (without which the groove wouldn't be half as interesting), some great understated guitar licks and some of the most hilariously paranoid and confused lyrics ever. Aside from the awesome line, "It's not the side effects of the cocaine, I'm thinking that it must be love," it also has one of the greatest "I can't believe somebody actually wrote and sang these lines" stanzas of all time: "It's too late to be hateful/it's too late to be late again/it's too late to be grateful/THE EUROPEAN CANON IS HERE!!!!" Look, this song is completely ridiculous on paper, but put it all together and it works as well as anything Bowie did in his whole life.

And yet, "TVC15" is even better. Listen to it for thirty seconds, and you'll think it's going to be a throwaway barroom piano song; listen to it for another couple of minutes, and you'll realize you're listening to a song about his girlfriend crawling into a TV and getting lost inside. Listen to the rest, and you'll hear a combination of lyrics ("My baby's in there someplace!!!!"), melody and arrangements that surpasses even the second half of the title track. The metallic guitars, the lively piano playing, the incessant "Oh my T V C 1 5, oh oh, T V C 1 5," chants, and that nagging piercing sound that should be a saxophone but may be just some bizarre keyboard sound (I don't see a saxophone listed in the official credits for the track) ... all of this adds up to nearly the best argument ever made in favor of cocaine usage by major rock stars. Well, if you ignore the massively debilitating physical and mental side effects, of course.

This album, simply put, is stupendous. All Bowie fans should own it, of course, and anybody who claims to be a serious fan of 70's rock music but doesn't own this album is a liar. Plus, if nothing else, it's probably the single strongest counterexample to the general idea that Bowie never actually innovated; the raw materials might all be familiar, but the synthesis of the various parts here pretty much has to be considered one of the main roots of the post-punk movement that would start a few years later.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After Young Americans introduced us to a completely new image of David Bowie, Station To Station revamped it up a notch!

The second half of the '70s must have been a tough period in David Bowie's career, although it's hard to tell when looking back at his output from that time. Station To Station might not be a part of the famous Berlin trilogy, recorded in collaboration with Brian Eno, but it can definitely be seen as a prequel to that era. Not only is the album's opening title track the longest and most ambitious piece of music that he had recorded up to that point, but it also marks a completely different approach to music making. Yes folks, this is definitely Art Rock as we know it!

Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the next track - Golden Years. It might have been the album's biggest hit, but it makes as much sense here as Rebel Rebel on Diamond Dogs, i.e. none whatsoever. Word On A Wing is a nice transitional track, but then comes TVC15 and pulls the album into another moment that makes me wonder what Bowie was going for with this whole release. I mean, it definitely has its share of moments but those moments don't exactly give me a feeling of a complete satisfaction. Stay and the cover of Wild Is The Wind do manage to finish off the album with a bang but fail to wash away the bad taste that was left by the album's middle section.

Overall, I'd say that Station To Station shows Bowie moving towards a new and existing phase of his career. It's not among his essential albums for me but I do listen to it on a few occasions when I'm in that particular creative mood halfway between experimental Art Rock and pure pop.

***** star songs: Station To Station (10:14) Wild Is The Wind (6:00)

**** star songs: Word On A Wing (6:04) Stay (6:15)

*** star songs: Golden Years (4:01) TVC15 (5:34)

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of Bowie's best. Not his progiest album but one of his most consistent. Bowie was doing so much cocaine at the time that he literally does not remember recording this album. In the title track he says: "It's not the side effects of the cocaine". Yes David, it is. It's a shame he doesn't remember recording one of his best albums. Maybe he would have some interesting things to say about the writing and recording process of Station To Station.

This album does not sound like either it's predecessor Young Americans, or the follow-up Low. Somehow it sounds a little like both at the same time. The 10-minute "Station To Station" begins with what sounds like a train. I think it's really a sequencer part put through a flanging effect. Some piano, guitar and bass follow. When the drums kick in there is a nice groove. The parts with "the return of..." have a nice guitar arpeggio. When it gets to the part that goes "Once there was mountains..." the song is in funky prog mode. Or proggy funk mode if you like. Starting with the "It's too late..." part it goes into disco-rock territory. Some great piano and guitar before the "it's not the side effects..." comes back again.

"Golden Years" was originally written for Elvis Presley(he can remember that much anyway). It's one of the best songs here. Love the finger-snaps and handclaps. Some whistling near the end. "Word On A Wing" is the weakest song of the bunch. A mediocre ballad. "TVC15" is one of the most interesting songs Bowie ever did. The lyrics are about some evil TV from the future, I think. It starts with some honky-tonk piano. The verses and chorus are so different they could have come from two different songs. During the verses you hear some Fripp-like guitar. This was before the Frippster worked with the Thin Cokehead Duke.

"Stay" is another highlight. Great proggy funk-rock. It features the Chamberlin which was the American-made precursor to the British-made Mellotron. The bongos/congas are a nice touch. "Wild Is The Wind" is the obligatory cover song; one of Bowie's best covers. Overall a great album from the 1970s but might not appeal to every prog fan. 3 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Recorded whilst Bowie was in the depths of a horrifying cocaine habit, Station to Station salvages the soul stylings of Young Americans and makes it progressive, experimental, and weird, injecting heavy doses of Krautrock and concentrating on the most emotionally fraught moments of the previous record. The proggy epic Station to Station which opens the album has Bowie yelling "It's not the side-effects of the cocaine", and whilst there's good reasons to doubt that there's no denying that the album is far more compelling than its predecessor, transitioning as it does between frenzied, out-of-control soul and motorik rhythms and pointing the way to the classic Berlin Trilogy. Although Bowie wouldn't release another masterpiece until he got to Berlin and got himself sobered up, Station to Station is most of the way there.
Review by Matti
3 stars Stationtostation is among Bowie's most peculiar and eclectic albums, and stylistically halfway between the preceding and following albums, without sounding quite the same in either directions. Soul grooves of Young Americans continue here (especially 'Golden Years'), and the somewhat bizarre, paranoid and alienated art rock of the long title track or 'TVC 15' lead the way to the Berlin era albums Low and Heroes - though there are no parallels to the instrumental collaborations with Brian Eno that make those works so great. Someone here mentions Roxy Music and John Cale. Yes, a good comparison.

Funky 'Station To Station' is said to be among Bowie's proggiest songs, and against that expectation I found it a bit boring and monotonous in its 10 minutes. All in all, a respectable and original Art Rock album from our musical chameleon, and it would become influential to Post-Punk, but I'm afraid it won't enter my list of favourites. The highlight for me is easily the very emotional and elegant cover of 'Wild Is The Wind' (a Dmitri Tiompkin composition, originally? performed by Nina Simone).

Review by admireArt
4 stars In 1976 David Bowie was reborned and self-renamed as "The Thin White Duke".

Station to Station a shameless mainstream release, is probably one of Bowie's most passionate works. This album's most notable attribute is Bowie's dexterity as songwriter and vocal/actor performer.

This work is rich in variety yet it is quiet lineal, like an unfashionable/retro styling , moving along very focused & straight forward music compositions (Rock, Funk, Krautrock, Art rock, Blue-eyed soul, etc.). The list of tracks sound like a future "greatest hits" , which they actually turned out to be.

Another turning point in a vast discography full of ups and downs. Its flawless song disposition as its "un-conceptual" concept and heart felt lyricism sure add up to conform one of Bowie´s most famous albums and a very enticing one.

To hold on to, in your "not all that Prog" Rock collection.

****4 PA stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Many critics agree that 'Station to Station', David Bowie's 10th studio album, was one of his best, and I have to agree. Even though it was finished before he started work on the movie 'The Man Who Fell to Earth', there is a lot in this album that was inspired by that movie, including Bowie's performance character Thin White Duke. The album even features a still from the movie, where Bowie's character is entering the space ship that will take him back home. It was also a time when Bowie was abusing Cocaine and living off of a diet of peppers and milk, and he later claimed that he recalled nothing of the production sessions because he was always high.

The album reflects Bowie's obsessions of the time, namely with Crowley, Nietzsche, mythology and religion. The lyrics in the album prove all of this. The album was also important because it marks a transitional period in Bowie's music, which saw a lot of style mixing involving danceable funky music with the music of electronic bands like Neu! And Kraftwerk. The album was the 'gateway' to Bowie's 'Berlin Trilogy' which was recorded with Brian Eno between 1977 ' 79. Shortly after the release of Station to Station and with the culmination of all of Bowie's paranoia (which included a fear of Jimmy Page), Bowie decided to give up his bad habits of drug abuse.

The album also got him into trouble because of the character he created, the persona he put on during his concerts and in interviews. The Thin White Duke was not a pleasant persona, and the statements Bowie made while playing the role got him into trouble because it dealt with the character's views on Hitler. Bowie later said that the character was a 'nasty' person. Bowie eventually retired the character quietly.

The original album ended up with a total 6 tracks and a run time of just under 38 minutes. Every one of the tracks on the album ended up being released as a single of some sort along the way. Beginning with the title track 'Station to Station', Bowie presents his longest studio recording at over 10 minutes. Bowie stated that the song is about the Stations of the Cross, but the lyrics hint at Crowley, Kabbalah and Gnosticism. The lyrics also reference the Thin White Duke. It was released as a promo single in France, but edited way down to 3:40, and the track TVC 15 was the b-side. It begins with the sound of a train increasing speed, which is then copied by a droning guitar and a rhythm that increases in speed which is created by piano chords and drums, and the music continues to speed up. In the background, you can hear the famous harmonica riff that underlies the track. The track settles in at a moderate tempo and Bowie's warbly vocals start. After 5 minutes, the music suddenly becomes more upbeat as a new melodic section is introduced, and Bowie's vocals continue with hardly a pause. The 2nd part of the song continues in the upbeat, danceable manner for the remainder of the song.

'Golden Years' has the distinction of being the first track recorded for the album. It is also one of Bowie's most famous tracks. At one point, this was going to be the album's title track. The track is a funkier track than most of the other tracks on the album, more reminiscent of the previous album 'Young Americans'. The song was inspired by the topic of the song 'On Broadway' and has a lot of the same feel. Bowie was actually playing 'On Broadway' when he came up with the song. Bowie wanted Elvis Presely to perform it, but he declined. The song was the first single from the album, and it was quite successful and has been used in several TV series and movies.

'Word on a Wing', according to Bowie, was a revolt against some of the elements he was uncomfortable with in the filming of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth', and he wrote it in a depressed state. The vocals are quite emotional, and Bowie says that there is a real emotional attachment for him to the song, that the passion there is genuine. The song was edited and released as a b-side to 'Stay' in July of 1976. Where on the song 'Golden Years', Bowie was singing about his strong beliefs, in 'Word on a Wing' he is singing about the doubts he was beginning to have about his blind faith.

'TVC 15' was inspired by an incident when Iggy Pop hallucinated that the TV was swallowing his girlfriend while he was partying at Bowie's house. The song was released as the 2nd single from the album, but was more of a minor hit for him. The lyrics talk about wanting to crawl into a holographic TV so that the narrator can find his girlfriend, who crawled in before him. The melody is quite catchy as is the overall track, accentuated by mostly piano improvisation. The chorus is quite memorable, even though it is a bit quirky. The b-side to this single was a track from the previously released 'Diamond Dogs' album, 'We Are the Dead'.

'Stay' is based off of a funky guitar riff and a 'Shaft'-like feel with r&b rhythms, thick mellotron and percussion. The song was also released as a single, again in an edited version. It was also a minor hit in the US with 'Word on a Wing' as it's b-side. The song also is reminiscent of Bowie's own song 'John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)'. The song also has the most memorable guitar riff on the album. The beat is solid and infectious.

'Wild is the Wind' was originally recorded and written for Johnny Mathis and has been covered many times by a wide array of artists. Bowie's version is to a moderate rhythm and also contains one of his most heart-felt performances. It was released to help promote the compilation 'Changestwobowie' along with 'Golden Years' a few years later, thus allowing that every song on this album was released on a single.

This album was released before the production of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' was finished, and Bowie hoped to be able to write the soundtrack to it. However, he was told by the producers, that his music would have to be considered along with all of the other submissions. Bowie got very upset and gave up working on the soundtrack, and then toured to support this album.

After all these years, the album is recognized as one of Bowie's best and most important albums as it marks the entry into his most influential and creative periods, but it also seen him break out of his addictions. For me, this is an essential album as it shows Bowie's transition and entry into his most creative period, but also because of the influential sounds of the album which would go on to influence punk and post-punk, not to mention several new wave bands and glam rock bands in the future. While it is true it might not be strong in it's progressive traits, I feel it is important especially as one who feels that progressive rock does also encompass other glam rock bands such as Queen and Roxy Music, not to mention early Genesis. So, I don't have any problems rating certain important Bowie albums such as this one at 5 stars.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nş 453

"Station To Station" is the tenth studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1976. It's generally regarded as one of his most significant musical works. "Station To Station" is also notable for being a vehicle for his last great persona, the Tim White Duke. Impeccably dressed in a white shirt, black pants and vest, Duke was a hollow man who sang love songs with a desperate intensity while feeling nothing. The character has been described as a dement aristocrat, a zombie amoral and an Aryan superman without any kind of emotions. This character greatly inspired David Sylvian to create his own style. Japan's sound was still noticeably influenced by music acts such as David Bowie and Roxy Music.

"Station To Station" was a transitional album for Bowie. It presents a new direction with the use of synthesizers and motorik rhythms influenced by German electronic bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! This trend would culminate in some of his best and most acclaimed studio works, the "Berlin Trilogy", "Low", relesed in 1977, "Heroes", also released in 1977 and "Lodger", released in 1979, all recorded with the participation of Brian Eno. It has been described as one of his most accessible albums and at the same time more impenetrable. It was recorded soon after he completed filming for Nicholas Roeg's movie "The Man Who Felt The Earth". The cover of the album even shows a scene from the movie.

The final result of "Station To Station" is that this is an album that is both, musically accessible and lyrically elliptical, a transition between the plastic soul of "Young Americans" and the chilly electronic hum of his "Berlin Trilogy" that would follow. But, if "Young Americans" often felt like a studied genre exercise, "Station To Station" filtered that rhythmic influence through some of Bowie's obsessions at the time, the austere Krautrock of Kraftwerk and Neu!, and his occult obsession by Nazism. But, perhaps the most bizarre thing about "Station To Station" is that an album of such sinister origin would turn out to be Bowie's highest charting album ever in the U.S. A., until "The Next Day" in 2013.

"Station To Station" has six tracks. All songs were written by David Bowie, except "Wild Is The Wind" written by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin. The first track is the title track "Station To Station". This is Bowie's lengthiest song on any studio album of him, with above 10 minutes. The lyrics contain several literary and mystical references and it's also the song that presents Bowie as Thin White Duke. Musically, this is a fantastic musical journey in rock and funky music styles and became as one of the best and most important tracks of Bowie's musical career. The second track "Golden Years" became the first song to be released as a single. Originally was written for Elvis Presley, but was rejected by him. Written under the musical influence of funk and soul, it's a very good song, but it's more similar in style to his previous studio album "Young Americans" than the rest on "Station To Station", which received more influences from electronic music. The third track "Word On A Wing" was written while he was filming "The Man Who Sold The World". The Christian element of this song is another form of Thin White Duke tests his indifference through religion. This is a wonderful song full of emotion and with a beautiful piano performance that reminds us, his previous musical style. It's a very touching song where Bowie exposes his weaknesses with truly sincerity. The fourth track "TVC 15" was the second song chosen to be released as a single. This song was inspired by an episode, during a drug period, when he was hallucinated and believed the television set was swallowing his girlfriend. It's an excellent funk rock song very catchy and very intense. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the most interesting and original songs that Bowie ever wrote. The fifth track "Stay" was the third song of the album to be released as a single. Like many of the tracks on the album, this is one more piece of music driven by a funk riff. It features a chamberlain, the American precursor of British mellotron and it features also an excellent guitar performance all over the song, and a very solid percussion work. The sixth and last track "Wild Is The Wind" is the only cover song on the album. This is a great version of the original song and represents one of the best musical moments on the album. I agree with ZowieZiggy when he wrote that we are in presence of one of the best vocal performances from David Bowie and, like him, I can also listen to the song till the exhaustion. This song represents a perfect way to close this magnificent, surprising and excellent musical work.

Conclusion: "Station To Station" belongs to my old vinyl collection as one of my oldest albums. "Space Oddity", "The Man Who Sold The World", "Heroes", "Stage", "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Let's Dance" are the other oldest Bowie's albums in my musical vinyl collection. So, I know it since it was released and it was always one of my favourite Bowie's albums too. It's true that "Station To Station" isn't a really progressive album. However, it's an excellent art rock album and very experimental too, to be loved and appreciated by any true progressive fan. So, I can strongly recommend it for all progressive people with a very open mind. If David Bowie was never a truly progressive musician, he always was an aesthetic artist and an experimental rock musician that explored several styles of music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars When Young Americans was a transitional album, Station to Station is a full-fledged and competent excercise in funk and blue-eyed soul. The change seems natural to Bowie and he fits well in the new realm, although it's definitely far from the best works create in funk/R&B not is it a revolutiona ... (read more)

Report this review (#2311916) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of Bowie's best. Bowie is at his best when he is innovating, and this is one of his more innovative and musical albums. Station to Station follows came right after his American funk-soul album 'Young Americans', where he first developed his lower register crooning style. But on that album he ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698180) | Posted by Walkscore | Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think before talking about this album, I should at least explain some of the history behind it. After Bowie's rather dangerous flirtations with soul music in the 'Young Americans' album, he decided to...experiment a bit with his next release. Now at this point he was already drugged up to t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1009075) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Station To Station" is a great classic album from the ever changing Mr Bowie, this time he retained some soul and funk from "Young Americans" but there's still a new musical direction again. The persona dominating is an aristocratic European fellow called The Thin White Duke who likes to cruis ... (read more)

Report this review (#564134) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Tuesday, November 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Woah, hold that thought, Bowie is back, now this is the album i knew he could make again, Station to Station is the return of the 'Thin White Duke' and is a fantastic mish mash of funk, 'blue eyed soul'and of course that proggy arty side that the first few Bowie albums had that was so interesting ... (read more)

Report this review (#283117) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars David Bowie is delivering here a great piece of art-rock. Station to station begins with a spychedelic spacerock intro with locomotive sounds. This all will change into a rock & rollsong. Well, it seems to work, really a nice introduction of this record wich shows a lot of what this record has t ... (read more)

Report this review (#185558) | Posted by the philosopher | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars THE EUROPEAN CANON IS HERE So here it is: the album where The Thin White Duke makes his debut, while claiming it is his return. For those not in the know, The Thin White Duke was David Bowie's alter ego at the time. A cocaine guzzling, shallow hearted monster of a person, that would take con ... (read more)

Report this review (#175040) | Posted by burtonrulez | Tuesday, June 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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