It's overcast with flurries at AllMusic HQ today, so it's time to dust off one of the all time great gloomy day records, David Bowie's Low, which also celebrates a birthday this week. Low is invariably referred to as part of Bowie's "Berlin period," a partial misnomer as the album was also recorded in France, and is often mistakenly said to have been produced by Brian Eno, though he did have a significant hand in its creation. The album is structurally cleft in twain, with side one featuring seven fractured, driving pieces of avant pop, while the four mostly instrumental tracks that make up side two are far more cold and bleak. Maybe it's not quite as grim wherever you are today, but you can still enjoy these Low-related odds and ends.

Bowie toys with the pacing of "What in the World" in this live performance from 1978, delivering the first half of the song at a noticably slower tempo, then bringing it up to full speed two minutes in.

"Warszawa," the icy opening track of side two, immediately declares its separation from the upbeat tempos of everything that came before it. Before Joy Division became Joy Division, they took inspiration from this song and went by the name Warsaw for about eight months.

In his 1999 episode of VH1's Storytellers, Bowie delivered an acoustic-based version of "Always Crashing in the Same Car," an eerie side one standout.

Driven by a simple piano figure, "Be My Wife" was deemed worthy of music video treatment in 1977. The video isn't much, just Bowie noodling on a guitar against a white background, but there are enough close-ups to make one appreciate the dental work Bowie would receive in subsequent years. Marilyn Manson played this song in the background while proposing to his Dita Von Teese. Bowie had written the song in a failed attempt to save his marriage with his then-wife, Angela, but Manson neglected to pay heed to the precedent and the marriage barely lasted a year..

Low peaked at #11 on the Billboard album charts, with its only charting single, "Sound and Vision," ending up topping out at #69. Despite not being a chart smash, Bowie continued to perform songs from the album well into his career.

In 2003, minimalist composer Philip Glass released his "Low Symphony" as part of a two-disc set, along with one focusing on Bowie's "Heroes" album. The orchestral reworkings of two Low cuts and one B-side from the sessions is longer than the entire actual album itself, but offers some interesting meditations on the themes from the record's darker moments.

AllMusic editor Chris Steffen once bought author Rob Sheffield a beer to thank him for first exposing Chris to 'Low' as a youngster.