David Bowie has gone through a fair few phases in his time. Starting with his rock and spiralling though all sorts of genres into experimental weirdness, there’s not many bases he left untouched.
A song like this owes an awful lot to funk, but it’s still undoubtedly a rock song. Either way, it’s brilliant. The groovy bongos assert themselves from the beginning and give the tune a real rhythmic zest. The bassline is front and centre, a fat and driving metronome pushing the song forward.
The guitar riffs are sublime, with the main strumming hook emphasising the bassline more than anything else, and the wailing solo by Earl Slick slots in perfectly to the solid rhythms of the rest of the song.
The vocals, in a typical Bowie fashion, are a bit hard to understand, although they are well sung. As far as I can work out they’re about asking a woman to stay with him even though his whole life is plagued by addiction.
“Stay” is from the 1976 album Station to Station, which is undoubtedly a masterpiece, even though by Bowie’s admission, it was completely driven by quite obscene cocaine binges. Either way, there’s not a bad track on the album, and “Stay” is one of the best on there.
Great music from The Thin White Duke!