David-Bowie-Station-To-Statio-553865The world is a more interesting place when David Bowie is in the news. Anything could happen. A pope could be appointed, the Veronica Mars movie could finally get a Kickstarter campaign, you name it. Reading about the Zigster last night, I came across the Wikipedia entry on his 1976 record Station to Station. I’d always enjoyed its icy euro-funk vibe but never counted it among my favorites. I certainly never listened to the words very closely; I figured they were nothing but the cocaine-fueled nightmares that critics seemed obliged to mention when talking about the album and its tour. Little did I know that it’s considered his most explicitly religious piece of work! That it dovetailed with an extremely painful time in his personal life is perhaps no coinkydink. Two quick things to note:

1. According to Bowie:  “The ‘Station to Station’ track itself is very much concerned with the stations of the cross… I’ve never read a review that really sussed it. It’s an extremely dark album. Miserable time to live through, I must say.”

2. Then there’s “Word on a Wing” which may not be his only prayer song, but it is his most direct. Some commentators dismissed the religious sentiment as Bowie in full Thin White Duke character, but the man himself has claimed that “the passion is genuine”. When performing it live in 1999, the singer described it as coming from “the darkest days of my life … I’m sure that it was a call for help”.

Without further ado, then, the European cannon is here:

In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
I don’t need another change
Still you forced your way
Into my scheme of things

You say we’re growing,
Growing heart and soul
In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
Sweet name, you’re born once again for me
Sweet name, you’re born once again for me
Oh sweet name, I call you again
You’re born once again for me
Just because I believe, don’t mean I don’t think as well
Don’t have to question everything
In heaven or hell

thin-white-duke1Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I’m trying hard to fit
Among your scheme of things

It’s safer than a strange land
But I still care for myself
And I don’t stand in my own light
Lord, Lord, my prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
My prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
Does my prayer fit in
With your scheme of things?

In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
Sweet name, you’re born once again for me
Just as long as I can see, I’ll never stop this vision flowing
I look twice and you’re still flowing
Just as long as I can walk
I’ll walk beside you, I’m alive in you
Sweet name, you’re born once again for me
And I’m ready to shape the scheme of things

Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things
Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things

Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I’m trying hard to fit
Among your scheme of things

It’s safer than a strange land,
But I still care for myself
And I don’t stand in my own light

Lord, Lord, my prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
My prayer flies like a word on a wing
Does my prayer fit in
With your scheme of things?