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These Desert Island Discs choices show just how influential David Bowie was

The iconic musician has been chosen by 38 castaways on Desert Island Discs - from Brian Cox to Ralph Fiennes, as well as famous figures from the arts, science, sport and politics

Published: Monday, 11th January 2016 at 1:15 pm

David Bowie will leave an immense music legacy behind from the sheer number of fellow musicians he's inspired.


But he's also been a source of inspiration for people from all walks of life – as proved by the number of times his songs have been chosen on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

38 different castaways so far have picked Bowie tracks for their Desert Island Discs.

You'd expect figures from the world of music to choose a Bowie track as one of their songs they would want to save from the waves. Noel Gallagher followed the lead of Neil Tennant and Lulu when he chose Bowie's Let's Dance when he appeared on the show last summer.

What we didn't expect is for him to be so popular with leaders of the Liberal Democrats, with both former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy choosing Bowie for their desert island.

"I couldn't exist on this island without Mr David Bowie's presence and sound," Kennedy said when he appeared on the show in 2003.

Bowie was one of the first musicians to blur the lines between music and art. Artists Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley take 'Young Americans' and 'Starman' to their desert island respectively.

From art to science: Nobel Prize-winning chemist and Nasa researcher Baruch Blumberg said Bowie's Space Oddity was "reminiscent of my experience working in the space programme" during his interview in 2003.

Notable actors that chose Bowie's music when they appeared on Desert Island Discs include Damian Lewis, Ricky Gervais, Timothy Spall and Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes, who played Voldemort in Harry Potter and M in Spectre, recalled buying Ziggy Stardust from WHSmith in Salisbury in his early teenage years and feeling like he was buying something "illicit".

Castaways have chosen from the whole range of The Thin White Duke's back catalogue: currently Currently Life on Mars, Space Oddity and Let's Dance are the joint most requested songs according to the Desert Island Discs Archive.

The full list of guests who chose David Bowie songs when appearing on Desert Island Discs is as follows:

Marti Webb, actor and singer, chose 'Space Oddity' in 1982

Various member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra chose 'Space Oddity' in 1982

Lulu, singer, chose 'Let's Dance' in 1987

Pete Waterman, record producer, chose 'Let's Dance' in 1995

Hanif Kureishi, novelist, chose 'Buddha Of Suburbia' in 1996

Archie Norman, Conservative politician, chose 'Heroes' in 1998

Antony Gormley, sculptor of the Angel Of The North, chose 'Starman' in 1998

Richard Dunwoody, jockey, chose 'Life On Mars' in 1999

Ralph Fiennes, actor, chose 'Ziggy Stardust' in 1999

Timothy Spall, actor, chose 'Ziggy Stardust' in 2002

Baruch Blumberg, nobel prize winning chemist, chose 'Space Oddity' in 2003

Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrats politician, chose 'Young Americans' in 2003

Jeremy Clarkson, former Top Gear presenter, chose 'Heroes' in 2003

Tracey Emin, artist, chose 'Young Americans' in 2004

Andy McNab, thriller writer, chose 'Sweet Thing' in 2005

Mario Testino, fashion photographer, chose 'Life On Mars' in 2005

Ricky Gervais, comedian, chose 'Letter to Hermione' in 2007

Neil Tennant, musician from Pet Shop Boys, chose 'Changes' in 2007

Alan Johnson, Labour politician, chose 'Drive In Saturday' in 2007

Beryl Bainbridge, novelist, chose 'Space Oddity' in 2008

Bill Bailey, comedian, chose 'Rebel Rebel' in 2008

Sanjeev Bhaskar, actor, chose 'Life on Mars' in 2008

Shami Chakrabarti, political campaigner, chose 'Heroes' in 2008

Julia Donaldson, children's writer, chose 'Remembering Marie A' in 2009

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, TV chef, chose 'Five Years' in 2009

Frank Cottrell-Boyce, screenwriter, chose 'Golden Years' in 2010

Jimmy Mulville, comedy writer, chose 'Jean Genie' in 2010

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats politician, chose 'Life On Mars' in 2010

Brian Cox, TV physicist, chose 'Queen Bitch' in 2011

John Bishop, comedian, chose 'Let's Dance' in 2012

Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, chose 'Drive In Saturday in 2013

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of EasyJet, chose 'Dancing In The Street' in 2013

Chris Packham, TV nature presenter, chose 'Rebel Rebel' in 2013

Tanya Byron, TV psychologist, chose 'Absolute Beginners' in 2013

Damian Lewis, actor, chose 'Quicksand' in 2014

Dan Pearson, garden designer, chose 'Wild Is The Wind' in 2015

Bradley Wiggins, cyclist, chose 'Sound & Vision' in 2015


Noel Gallagher, musician, chose 'Let's Dance' in 2015


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