Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Bowie’s Way : une analyse harmonique de « Life on Mars ? »

Abstract : Backed up by a precise harmonic analysis, this paper sets out to show that “Life on Mars ?”, on the album Hunky Dory (1971), is emblematic of David Bowie’s writing at the beginning of his glam Bowie’s Way : une analyse harmonique de « Life on Mars ? » period. This song, which revisits “Comme d’habitude” (which became “My Way”) in the verse, has a special form and follows a tortuous harmonic path, is also a work that plays its cards closeto its chest : its lyrics are openly referenced, its mode of writing is both cryptic and parodic. The personnel accompanying Bowie on Hunky Dory, Mick Ronson and Rick Wakeman in particular, fully participate in the development of a singular glam aesthetic, linked to progressive rock and serious music. In the ubiquitous use of the chromatic bass and the minor subdominant, Bowie reveals two ingredients of his composition recipes that definitively mark his style in the early 1970s – as will ultimately show a sketch of comparison with some contemporary songs of “Life on Mars ?”.
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Grégoire Tosser <>
Submitted on : Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 1:42:47 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 1:00:11 PM

Links full text




Grégoire Tosser. Bowie’s Way : une analyse harmonique de « Life on Mars ? ». Miranda : Revue pluridisciplinaire sur le monde anglophone. Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world , Laboratoire CAS (Cultures anglo-saxonnes), 2018, Paysages et héritages de David Bowie, ⟨10.4000/miranda.12965⟩. ⟨halshs-01894960⟩



Record views