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David Bowie - Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Ohhh how how how, you're a rock n roll suicide

Youre too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don't eat when youve lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you're a rock n roll suicide

Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don't let the sun blast your shadow
Don't let the milk float ride your mind
Youre so natural - religiously unkind

Oh no love! You're not alone
Youre watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only
Make you care
Oh no love! You're not alone
No matter what or who youve been
No matter when or where youve seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
Youre not alone

Just turn on with me and you're not alone
Lets turn on with me and you're not alone (wonderful)
Lets turn on and be not alone (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you're wonderful (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you're wonderful (wonderful)
Oh gimme your hands.

Often used as a closing song for the Ziggy and Aladdin Sane tours, Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide is not only the thematic death of Ziggy Stardust on the album, but the real life end to the character as portrayed by Bowie. Before playing the song at The Hammersmith Odeon in London (The last date of the tour), Bowie announced… “Of all of the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest because not only is it–not only is it the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do. Thank you.” With this, the Ziggy Stardust era had ended. The only member of the band to know David was going to do this was Mick Ronson. In the context of the album, the song depicts the final fall of Ziggy Stardust – the washed up superstar as the crushing weight of stardom and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle (highlighted in Suffragette City the preceding song) takes its toll. However, the song on its own tells another story. Away from the extremely loose narrative of the rock opera it is an incredibly powerful song, about watching someone close to you as they struggle with their problems and deal with depression. The crescendo throughout the song (starting with a simple acoustic chord and building to a quasi orchestral climax) is symbolic of the growing problems in the person, starting off as a mild cynicism or depression before spiraling down into the depths of helplessness. This is exacerbated by Bowie’s increasingly desperate lyrics and attempts to reach out and connect with this unknown person. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide has a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll.

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