Quicksand (David Bowie song)

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Song by David Bowie
from the album Hunky Dory
Released17 December 1971
30 January 1990 (Rykodisc Reissue)
RecordedTrident Studios, London, 14 July 1971
GenreArt rock, folk rock
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)Ken Scott, David Bowie

"Quicksand" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory; it was recorded on 14 July 1971.[1] This ballad features multi-tracked acoustic guitars and a string arrangement by Mick Ronson. Producer Ken Scott, having recently engineered George Harrison's album All Things Must Pass, attempted to create a similarly powerful acoustic sound with this track.[2]

Lyrically the song, like much of Bowie's work at this time, was influenced by Buddhism, occultism, and Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the Superman.[3] It refers to the magical society Golden Dawn and name-checks one of its most famous members, Aleister Crowley, as well as Heinrich Himmler, Winston Churchill and Juan Pujol (codename: Garbo).[4]


NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have described it as "Bowie in his darkest and most metaphysical mood",[3] while a contemporary review in Rolling Stone remarked on its "superb singing" and "beautiful guitar motif".[5]

Marilyn Manson has stated that "Quicksand" and Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" are his favorite songs.[6]

Other releases[edit]

  • It was released as the B-side of the single "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" in April 1974.
  • RCA included the song in the picture disc set Life Time.
  • A studio demo version of the song was released as a bonus track on the Rykodisc release of Hunky Dory in 1990.


Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: pp.223-224
  2. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.115
  3. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.41
  4. ^ David Sheppard (2007). "Wishful Beginnings", MOJO 60 Years of Bowie: p.24
  5. ^ John Mendelsohn (6 January 1972). "Hunky Dory". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 27, 2007.
  6. ^ Scaggs, Austin (October 14, 2004). "Q&A: Marilyn Manson". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved June 14, 2017.


Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links[edit]