Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide by David Bowie Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Anxieties of Stardom

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for David Bowie's Rock 'N' Roll Suicide at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger
Then cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers
Then you forget
Oh oh, oh, oh, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide

You’re too old to lose it
Too young to choose it
And the clock wait’s so
Patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don’t
Eat when you’ve lived too long
Oh, no, no, no
You’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide

Chevy brakes are snarling as you
Stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead, so you hurry home
Don’t let the sun blast your shadow
Don’t let the milk float ride your mind
You’re so natural, religiously unkind

Oh no, love, you’re not alone
You’re watching yourself
But you’re too unfair
You got your head all tangled up
But if I could only make you care
Oh no, love, you’re not alone
No matter what or who you’ve been
No matter when or where you’ve seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I’ve had my share
I’ll help you with the pain you’re not alone

Just turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on and be, not alone (Wonderful)
Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful
Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful
(Wonderful) oh, gimme your hands

Full Lyrics

In the tapestry of David Bowie’s illustrious career, there lies a hauntingly potent thread titled ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide.’ Within the final crescendo of Ziggy Stardust’s apocalyptic vision, Bowie invites us into a raw confrontation with the isolated and desperate corners of fame.

This track paints a poignant picture of the dichotomy between the glamor of rock stardom and the profound loneliness that can shadow those bright lights. Let us delve into the rich layers of symbolism, emotion, and existential contemplation that make ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’ a timeless piece.

Time, The Quiet Villain – Exploring Temporal Themes

The song opens with the menacing march of time represented by a cigarette—the metaphor for a life burning away. The pressure of aging in an industry worshiping youth surfaces in the line, ‘Too old to lose it, too young to choose it,’ suggesting that rock stars are caught in a vicious cycle of irrelevance and inability to change.

As time waits ‘Patiently on your song,’ the cruelty of an industry that discards its stars becomes apparent. The character cannot escape the exhausting, relentless wall-to-wall ‘calling’ of fame and the expectations that linger even as they forget themselves in the process.

An Ode to the Desolate – Dissecting the Song’s Hidden Meaning

What resonates deeply is the hidden meaning—a reflection on the loneliness of the human condition. The ‘rock ‘n’ roll suicide’ is a metaphor broadly for those who feel outcast by the glitz of society, a silent scream from the depths of desolation.

It’s Bowie contending with the ethos of a generation succumbing under the weight of their own hedonistic lifestyles. He conveys a somber introspection that transcends his Ziggy persona to tap on the shoulder of every listener who’s felt like they’ve ‘lived too long’ for a world that undervalues them.

Shadows and Milk Floats – The Cinematic Imagery

The third verse opens up a cinema of the surreal right before our eyes, urging the character not to let the ‘sun blast your shadow’ or let the ‘milk float ride your mind.’ Bowie, the ever-painterly lyricist, encapsulates the struggle to retain one’s identity against blinding fame and the mind’s own betrayals.

These lines serve as a dramatic plea to maintain self amidst the chaos of success and a reminder of the importance of grounding in a landscape designed to overwhelm and overtake the psyche.

You’re Not Alone – The Anthem of Commiseration

In its climactic turn, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’ shifts from despondency to an anthem of solidarity. Bowie extends a hand to the listener, reminding them, ‘You’re not alone,’ channeling a message that pierces through the veil of alienation to offer a lifeline.

This is a call to community, a recognition of shared pain, and an offer of support—it’s Bowie’s way of weaving himself through the very fabric of our universal struggles, uniting us in both our joy and our suffering.

Gimme Your Hands – The Memorable Lines That Seal the Connection

The lyrics crescendo into a participatory plea, ‘Gimme your hands, cause you’re wonderful,’ perhaps the song’s most memorable and moving lines. It is a cry for engagement, for recognition of worth amidst chaos and self-doubt.

It’s Bowie’s masterful, empathetic beckoning that turns ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’ into not just a song, but a movement, a moment of connection in which every outcast can partake. These words are more than lyrics; they are the outstretched arms of Bowie himself, enveloping us in the understanding that indeed, we are wonderful.

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