David Bowie

"Heroes"

Composed by David Bowie / Brian Eno

Song Review by

Not even ending up as a Microsoft commercial theme could quench the sheer power and beauty of "Heroes," arguably David Bowie's finest individual song throughout his varied, fascinating career. The story of its inspiration got a bit muddled over time -- it might have been two employees at the recording studio near the Berlin Wall who Bowie saw in an embrace, or simply two random strangers in the shadow of that Cold War symbol. But inspired by that and with the collaborative help of Brian Eno and, with a jaw-dropping set of solos, guitarist Robert Fripp, Bowie, his backing band and producer Tony Visconti created a true classic. Clearly drawing from the various German influences he had absorbed while still relying on the dramatic power of rock and roll, the song becomes an anthem, Fripp's exquisite work at once celebratory and an electric requiem. That feeling of valediction is reflected in Bowie's lyric about individual connection and response in the face of a crushing, anonymous outside world -- but it wouldn't be half so grand without Bowie's simply breathtaking vocal. Starting with an almost conversational tone, by the end of the song he's turning in a performance that could almost be called operatic, yet still achingly, passionately human.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Heroes 1977 Virgin 6:07
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
Fame & Fashion 1984 RCA 6:09
No Image 1985 Polygram
Glass Spider 1988 Virgin
Changesbowie 1990 Rykodisc 3:38
No Image 1991 Rykodisc
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 3:35
The Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 3:37
Alternative Biography 1997 Alter Ego
The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 1998 Virgin 3:33
Personal Effects 1999 EMI Music Distribution 3:32
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal International 6:09
The Singles Collection 2 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:37
Best Anthems...Ever! [2000] 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:32
Moulin Rouge: Music Inspired by the Film 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:36
Best of Bowie 2002 Virgin 3:37
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 3:40
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:36
The Platinum Collection 2006 Virgin 3:33
Mini Best of David Bowie 2006 EMI Music Distribution 3:35
No Image 2008 Universal Distribution 6:06
What Goes Up 2009
Original Soundtrack
Amherst Records 6:10
Isles of Wonder: Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games 2012
Various Artists
Decca 3:18
The Perks of Being a Wallflower [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2012
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic / Summit Entertainment 6:08
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Columbia / Legacy 3:33
No Image 2016 Columbia/Legacy / Sony Music 3:33
A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982) 2017 Parlophone / Rhino 6:20
"Heroes" Parlophone / Warner Music 6:09
Rockwiz: Uncovered
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music 6:07