The Thin White Duke: David Bowie’s Darkest Character

100 thoughts on “The Thin White Duke: David Bowie’s Darkest Character

  1. If you want to help support the show and keep yourself safe, please go to http://www.NordVPN.com/polyphonic and use the offer code POLYPHONIC on check-out to get 77% off.

  2. Genius money Fame adoration are all recipes for disaster it is amazing and it shows you what a resilient and incredible man he was that he survived it as long as he did I love him rest in peace💔

  3. Wild is the Wind was originally recorded by Nina Simone I think. Also I remember Bowie saying he doesn't remember recording that album apart from the feedback at the start of the eponymous track. Thanks for the analysis mate.

  4. I've been a Bowie fan for over 30 years and feel compelled to make a couple points:

    Firstly, that this is an excellent commentary on One track of the album. I love this track very much, but if I were to attempt a critique on TTWD as a character then I would have to consider the other tracks. The next track is 'Golden Years' – "I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years …", then 'Word on a Wing', which has a heap of Christian symbolism thrown in. To cap it off, the last track 'Wild is the Wind' is a heart-wrenching plea for Love, and (IMO) is the artist's greatest performance.

    As for TTWD being the "darkest" character, think of the whole catalog:
    Okay so 'Scary Monsters' doesn't have a character as such but the album is pretty dark.
    Screaming Lord Byron ('Tonight') is (albeit comically) pretty dark.
    The whole of 'Outside' is dark as fuck and has at least 3 named characters, plus a 'Spaceboy'; ALL of whom are pretty dark.

    (Ok, Bowie rant over – I did enjoy this clip and loved hearing the title track again, so thanks.)

  5. We all have the potential for darkness within us, the darkness was the thin white duke but he was Bowie, the duke was Bowie's darkness. If only everyone realised their darkness through fiction and realised it was thus thereby keeping control of it

  6. THE SO CALLED "NAZI" SALUTE IS IN FACT THE ANCIENT ROMAN SALUTE..BROUGHT BACK TO GLORIOUS LIFE AS THE FASCIST SALUTE OF IL DUCE– BENITO MUSSOLINI AND HIS FIGHTING BLACK SHIRTS!!! THE GREAT MUSSOLINI CAME TO POWER IN THE 1920'S…THE GERMANS HIGH JACKED THE FASCIST SALUTE AND SULLIED IT IN THE 1030'S…IT WAS PROPERLY DEPLOYED BY HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL FRANCO OF FASCIST SPAIN, DR. ANTE PAVOLICK OF FASCIST CROATIA, THE IRON GUARD OF FASCIST ROMANIA, THE HUNGARIAN FASCIST MOVEMENTS , SLOVENIAN FASCIST MOVEMENTS ETC. AND IT IS STILL USED TODAY IN ULTRA LEFT WING CALIFORNIA BY MEMBERS OF THE FAR RIGHT OPPOSITION SUCH AS THE GLORIOUS FASCIST PARTY OF THE GOLDEN WEST!!! NAZISM WAS A CULT IT WAS NEVER A POLITICAL PARTY IT DID NOT EVEN HAVE A PARTY PLATFORM..!!!!! SO IT IS WRONG TO CALL THE ROMAN/FASCIST SALUTE A "NAZI" SALUTE!!!!! FASCISM AND NATIONAL SOCIALISM ARE TWO STAND ALONE MOVEMENTS THIS IS WHY THEY ARE CALLED DIFFERENT NAMES!!!

  7. Fideism – isn't "Fascist mythology", are you ok? Did you google search what fascist mysticism is? This information is on Wikipedia, it's not a secret. great job painting an icon as a nazi.

  8. But Low and Heroes continue the same character, but maybe more depressed and thoughtful. And talking about Nazi adulation, listen to the words of the song Heroes: sounds like Adolphe and Eva to me. I think he left this period behind when he left Berlin and started to do 'happy' music again.

  9. Can't think of too many albums that are both as thematically interesting and as musically solid as Station to Station. Thanks for the good analysis. Only thing I differ on is Word on a Wing and Wild is The Wind. I see these less as cries for help than examples of the Thin White Duke's emotionally empty romanticism. The vocals are so overwrought, they seem like a hamfisted simulation of romantic feeling. This has been true of the histrionics on other Bowie albums, but here the effect is more conspicuous. It's impossible to imagine, for example, that an actual person has elicited he feeling in Wild is The Wind because it's so hyperbolic. The unusually showboating approach to the vocals adds to the effect, great though they certainly are.

  10. Yes I was hooked on DB so much so I had to unhook and clean up.. I have not listened to his stuff in a long time but I still have the old LPs. I at least need to listen to his last piece of work. He was one of most original artist for me in the 70s , first album purchased was young American along with dark side by PF

  11. Wow, this shit is reaching now, isn't it. This is all subjective rubbish. People do the same thing with the bible. Just pick something and spew a bunch of stupid garbage. This album is, and was genius for it's time in particular. Let's see you pull off anything Bowie did, ever. This is low grade want to be journalism.

  12. I'm saying you're calling him evil but I just need to say just because he went through some heavy crap it doesn't mean he's evil

  13. interesting and verbose commentary, most of his mind set can be explained by his exessive use of blow. not his most creative phase.

  14. Good job on this video. I haven't seen a lot of focus given to this era of Bowie. A couple of minor criticisms …

    After Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust he transformed into "Halloween Jack". This was his character for the Diamond Dogs album. You never mentioned that. Also, it would have been very interesting to get your take on TVC 15 and Stay, the two songs from Station to Station that you didn't discuss. An analysis of those two songs would have added to the strength of your thesis.

    But, overall, well done. Thanks for the post.

  15. I love the duke because of yoshikage kira from jojo thats why this was my favorite character of david bowie

    Dio brando is still better

  16. The way you mispronounce the names Prospero and Alistair Crowley undercuts any point you're pompously trying to make. Makes you sound dumb.

  17. You do an excellent job of analysis. I've listened to these songs for literally decades and never read the lyrics with your insight. Thank you.

  18. Millennials trying to find reason to ruin what is great again. God forbid you’re an artist or comedian these days.

  19. So, it was when he was at his darkest, most unempathetic that he went right-wing facist? I mean that wasn't what I was expecting when I clicked on this video but hey

  20. Bowie was the best! The Thin White Duke was a sexy period. I can imagine how pounds of cocaine could get you a little crazy, especially the best cocaine of the 70's.

  21. bowie thin white creep one of his many fallen angels manifestation, a satanist to the end, and now the wicked witch is dead. oh i don't support companies that finance occultism

  22. Nice analysis. I know all about his cocaine addiction during this period, but I honestly I had never really tried to break down the lyrics of the album. But I love the music and think you're right that it's some of his best work. He has said many times that he has no memory of recording the album, and yet musically and artistically it is stunning from start to finish. Crazy.

  23. The thin, white Duke was the best thing he ever did. As soon as he stopped taking drugs, around 1980, his music went down the pan.

  24. But Hitler WAS like the first rock star on the arena scale. I hate the sound of millennial voices pontificating about history they can't remember.

  25. I saw the Diamond Dogs and Young Americans tours in 1974 and then the Thin White Duke/Station to Station tour in 1975. All 3 were brilliant….but STS was his last great tour. People left stunned,awed and thoroughly transported. Unmatched perfection.

  26. its funny, he learned something. and finally took an offer. he kept his end, they let him leave. rock star means light from a crystal. we only die where the sun spirals overhead. that light is IMPOSTER light from manmade IMPOSTER pyramids… real pyramids would have 4sides. not 5. the golden dawn is the moment he walked away. all that glitters IS GOLD!

  27. PEOPLE!!! aliester crowley, the occult, illuminati, and freemasons all use jacob boehme's works as basis to entrap us ALL!!! european cannon is MONEY!!! FUCK!!! gold is something else!! hes waiting for SOMEONE to FINALLY make a spiral go FULL CIRCLE!! i have found the path. im on the path. he tried.

  28. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the incarnations of Bowie's alter egos, is how utterly normal he actually was as a human being.

  29. David: Creates a new persona in an attempt to spice up his music career and personal reasons
    Polyphonic: His fall into darkness…

  30. Well, we mighht never really know where to draw a line, maybe even Bowie himself wasn't sure about that anyway. However, I just now watched the video and i gotta say, I hope he made peace with his past in the end – it's something i struggle with a lot as well these days. and i'm also approaching 30 lol.
    I also hope he found a way of sorting this weird nazi-aesthetic out for himself; it's a difficult topic. And of course, everyone has a dark, twisted phase in their life, at least once, where they say things that should have been left unspoken and were fascinted by things that should repell us. Still leaves a bad taste though, as much as i love Bowie and his art.

  31. This was my favorite Bowie era. The fashion, the music, and the art still hold up today, and I believe Bowie when he says his comments were performance art.

  32. Who else thinks this is just the opinion of someone who don’t know the first thing about David Bowie…….next thing you know they will start playing the records backwards to see if they can pick that apart 🙄 inserting extreme eye roll to this stupid shit!!!

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