3 Songs You Didn’t Know David Bowie Wrote For Other Artists

David Bowie is known today as the proverbial frontman. Glamorous, handsome, compelling, and magnetic, Bowie has played celestial characters like Ziggy Stardust and produced hits, “Under Pressure” and “Let’s Dance.”

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Bowie, born in London on January 8, 1947, passed away at 69 years old on January 10, 2016. In between, he released 26 studio LPs, including his last, Blackstar, in 2016. But while being known as one of the most important and celebrated songwriters and performers, Bowie wrote a number of songs for other artists along his journey.

[RELATED: Top 10 David Bowie Covers]

Below, we wanted to share with you three of those very songs that you likely didn’t know David Bowie wrote for other artists, including legendary performer Tina Turner.

1. “Girls,” Tina Turner

Written by David Bowie, Erdal Kizilçay

“Girls” appeared on Tina Turner’s 1986 album, Break Every Rule, and was released as a single that same year. It was a top-20 track in Europe with drums played by Phil Collins. Later, Bowie recorded his own version of the song for his 1987 LP, Never Let Me Down. It ended up as a B-side with his single “Time Will Crawl,” that same year. The song is about love and loneliness—what better material is there for rock ‘n’ roll?

Girls, we take our loves away 
Like spirits living so far away 
Girls, pretending to break down and cry 
Girls, whispering wind, what are we giving away 

We used to be so happy 
Remember, remember, so happy 
I never knew how lonely 
Could feel

2. “Oh! You Pretty Things,” Peter Noone

Written by David Bowie

Written by Bowie and released on his December 1971 LP, Hunky Dory, “Oh! You Pretty Things” was first recorded by Peter Noone for his April 1971 LP and released as a solo single. That version also includes Bowie on piano. While some believe the song is Bowie’s best-ever composition, it was Noone who got it on wax first.

Noone’s version of the track, which includes some structural and lyrical differences from the one Bowie eventually cut, is about an evolution of life on Earth—the homo superior is here.

The earth is a beast, we’ve finished our news
Homo sapiens have outgrown their use
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay

Oh, you pretty things, don’t you know
You’re driving your mamas and papas insane?
Oh, you pretty things, don’t you know
You’re driving your mamas and papas insane?
Let me say it again
You gotta make way for the homo superior

3. “I Am a Laser,” Ava Cherry and The Astronettes

Written by David Bowie

Cherry, a Vogue model, and artist, and Bowie met in New York City in the early 1970s when she was a nightclub waitress at Genesis. At the time, Bowie was on tour. They worked together from 1972-75 and, later, Cherry began a career as a solo singer. She worked as a backing artist for Luther Vandross and Chaka Khan, among other projects. During her career as a singer, Cherry released six records and “I Am a Laser” appeared on her album, People From Bad Homes. Listening to the track, it’s clear to see Bowie’s influence, from the guitars to the vocal delivery.

Before the two met, Cherry was already a big fan, having heard about Bowie through her agent. At the time, Cherry was friends with Stevie Wonder’s then-girlfriend, who introduced them at a party one night. Bowie liked Cherry’s short, bleach-blonde hair. He invited her to sing with him on the spot as a backup vocalist on a tour in Japan. Not long after, they began dating, even though Bowie was married (though in an open marriage).

Cherry later became influential on Bowie’s music, especially during the recording process for his LP, Young Americans. While the relationship didn’t end very well, Cherry says that Bowie wrote “Golden Years” and “Stay” about her, though some Bowie biographers claim that not to be the case. Either way, Bowie is credited with writing “I Am a Laser,” a song Cherry put on wax before anyone else.

I saw him by the dj
The way he danced was cool
They said I stood no chance
They called me little fool
Well here I am before you
And all your friends can see
You roasting like a turkey
It’s just this flame in me

And no one can burn like me

I am a laser
Burning through your eyes
And I know what kind of man you are
And I long to hold you tight
I am a laser
Knowing right from wrong
And I know what kind of heart you have
A heart so big and strong

Photo by NILS MEILVANG/AFP via Getty Images

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