Quicksand (4:43)

Cover of 50 Dead Dogs (disc 1)

From 50 Dead Dogs (disc 1) and 8 other releases

“Quicksand” is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory; it was recorded on 14 July 1971. 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. Lyrically the song, like much of Bowie’s work at this time, was influenced by Buddhism, occultism, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the Overman. 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).

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

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