Meaning of David Bowie’s Heroes

In the late 1970s, David Bowie traveled to Berlin with Iggy Pop to try to recover from drug addiction and work on new songs in a more relaxed environment. They did not succeed with the first one, but the musicians did an excellent job with the second task.

In particular, Bowie, collaborating with Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, recorded the albums Low, Heroes and Lodger, which are commonly called the Berlin Trilogy. This article is devoted to the history of the creation of the title track from the second disc of the “Berlin Trilogy”.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Heroes

Bowie co-wrote Heroes with Brian Eno. The title of the song is a reference to the track Hero by the German band Neu!, which they were into at the time. David said from the very beginning that he composed “Heroes” after he saw a couple in love near the Berlin Wall. He imagined a touching story of a guy and a girl who can’t be together because they live on opposite sides of the border, and wrote a song about them.

However, over time, interesting details about the source of inspiration came to light, which David revealed only a few years ago:

Now I can talk about it. Then it was impossible. I always said that the idea came from a couple of lovers near the Berlin Wall. It was actually Tony Visconti and his girlfriend . Tony was married at the time. And I couldn’t explain what it was about. But now I can say that those lovers were Tony and a German girl he met when we were in Berlin. I actually asked his permission to tell me about it. I think his marriage then lived out the last months. It was very touching, because I saw that Tony had fallen very much in love with that girl. Their relationship pushed me to write the song.

Performing Songwriter, 2003

Release and achievements

Work on Heroes was carried out at the Berlin studio Hansa Tonstudio. The song was recorded and released in several versions and in different languages ​​(English, German and French).

Despite the active promotion of the single, in the UK it only reached number 24 in the charts, and did not hit the Billboard Hot 100 at all. But that didn’t stop Heroes from making it to various top song rankings over time, including the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone) and the 100 Greatest Singles of All Time (Q) lists.

Video Heroes David Bowie

Let’s watch the music video for the song Heroes – David Bowie.

Interesting Facts

  • In 1987, Bowie performed the song Heroes near the Berlin Wall. Although the stage was set up in the western part of the city, thousands of people gathered to the east of the wall to listen to the concert.
  • Heroes was played on guitar by Robert Fripp, a member of the band King Crimson.
  • Moby has named Heroes as one of his favorite songs.
  • Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan was recruited after Vince Clarke heard him perform Heroes at a jam session.
  • Heroes is the second David Bowie song in terms of the number of covers recorded on it (the first is Rebel Rebel).

Heroes Lyrics

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins
Like dolphins can swim
Thought nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes just for one day

I, I will be King
And you, you will be Queen
Thought nothing will drive them away
We can be heroes just for one day
We can be us just for one day

I, I can remember
(I remember)
standing by the wall
(By the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads
(over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
(Nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes just for one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can be heroes just for one day
We can be heroes

Heroes Lyrics – David Bowie

I, I wish you could swim
like dolphins,
How can dolphins swim
Though nothing, nothing will hold us together
We can beat them forever
Oh we can only be heroes for a day

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can only be heroes for a day
We can only be ourselves for one day

I, I remember
(I remember),
Like standing against the wall
(near the wall)
And shots were fired over our heads
(over our heads)
And we kissed like we weren’t in danger
(no threat)
And shame was on the other side
Oh we can beat them forever
Then we could be heroes for just one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can only be heroes for a day
We can be heroes

Song quote

This is a wonderful song. But at the same time, she is incredibly melancholic. We may be heroes, but in fact we know that something is missing, something is missing.

Brian Eno (“Q”, 2007)

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