David Bowie - Heroes - 1977

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David Bowie - Heroes - 1977


Heroes is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released as a single in 1977. It was co-written by Bowie and Brian Eno, produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, and recorded in West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. The song's title is in quotation marks because it reflects a sense of irony about the concept of heroism. Bowie's performance is noted for its emotional intensity and the innovative production that blends electronic and rock elements. Here, we'll explore the song's background, lyrics, and lasting impact on music and culture.


Heroes was written during Bowie's Berlin period, a time when he was living in West Berlin and collaborating with musicians like Brian Eno and Iggy Pop. The Berlin Trilogy, consisting of the albums Low, Heroes, and Lodger, is seen as some of Bowie's most innovative work. This period was marked by experimental sounds and a departure from the glam rock style that had made Bowie famous in the early 1970s.

Composition and Recording

The song features innovative production techniques, including the use of a technique called 'gated reverb' which gives the drums a distinctive, echoing sound. The track blends elements of rock, electronic, and ambient music, creating a unique sound that was ahead of its time.

Lyrics and Themes

The lyrics of Heroes were inspired by the sight of Bowie's producer Tony Visconti and his girlfriend embracing by the Berlin Wall. The song's narrative focuses on a couple who meet by the Wall and dream of a better life together, symbolizing a yearning for freedom and escape from political division. The recurring line "We can be heroes, just for one day" emphasizes the fleeting nature of this escape and the irony of the concept of heroism in such a constrained context.

Impact and Legacy

Heroes has become one of Bowie's most iconic songs, representing not just a high point in his career but also a cultural symbol of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. It has been covered by numerous artists and featured in various films, TV shows, and advertisements, cementing its place in popular culture.

External Links

For more in-depth information on David Bowie and his music, check out these resources:

MOOCit David Bowie's Wikipedia Page Berlin Wall's Historical Context

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

In which city was "Heroes" primarily recorded? (Berlin) (!London) (!New York) (!Los Angeles)

What is the distinctive production technique used in "Heroes"? (Gated reverb) (!Auto-Tune) (!Distortion) (!Reverse echo)

Which album is "Heroes" a part of? (The Berlin Trilogy) (!Ziggy Stardust) (!Aladdin Sane) (!Diamond Dogs)

What inspired the lyrics of "Heroes"? (Sight of Bowie's producer embracing his girlfriend by the Berlin Wall) (!A fictional superhero story) (!Bowie's own romantic relationship) (!The political climate of the 1970s)

What musical elements does "Heroes" blend together? (Rock, electronic, and ambient music) (!Folk and pop) (!Jazz and blues) (!Classical and hip-hop)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What was David Bowie's real name? (David Robert Jones) (!David Edward Smith) (!David Brian Wilson) (!David Michael Johnson)

In which decade did David Bowie rise to fame? (1970s) (!1960s) (!1980s) (!1990s)

What was the name of David Bowie's alter-ego, introduced in 1972? (Ziggy Stardust) (!Aladdin Sane) (!The Thin White Duke) (!Major Tom)

Which of the following genres did Bowie NOT significantly experiment with? (Country) (!Rock) (!Electronic) (!Jazz)

Which famous musician was Bowie married to in the 1990s? (Iman) (!Bianca Jagger) (!Angie Bowie) (!Debbie Harry)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which line is repeated in the chorus of "Heroes"? (We can be heroes, just for one day) (!We will be heroes, forever and always) (!Heroes live forever, in our hearts) (!Heroes never die, they live on)

What does the Berlin Wall symbolize in the song? (Division and the desire for freedom) (!The strength of love) (!The end of a relationship) (!Historical battles)

How does the song portray the concept of heroism? (With a sense of irony) (!As a noble pursuit) (!Through acts of bravery) (!As a journey of self-discovery)

In which part of Berlin was the Wall located that inspired "Heroes"? (West Berlin) (!East Berlin) (!North Berlin) (!South Berlin)

What theme is NOT directly addressed in "Heroes"? (Space exploration) (!Love in the face of adversity) (!The desire for escape) (!Political division)


David Bowie's real name David Robert Jones
Main recording location of "Heroes" Berlin
Bowie's alter-ego introduced in 1972 Ziggy Stardust
Production technique used in "Heroes" Gated reverb
Bowie's spouse in the 1990s Iman

Open Tasks


  1. Research the Berlin Wall: Explore the history of the Berlin Wall and its impact on the city of Berlin and global politics.
  2. David Bowie's Discography: Listen to the albums in Bowie's Berlin Trilogy and note the differences in style and themes compared to his earlier work.
  3. Cover Versions: Find and listen to different cover versions of "Heroes" and compare how each artist interprets the song.


  1. Music Production Techniques: Investigate gated reverb and other production techniques used in "Heroes", and try applying them in your own music.
  2. Bowie's Influences: Research the musical and cultural influences that shaped David Bowie's work during his Berlin period.
  3. Lyric Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of "Heroes" and write an essay on its themes of love, heroism, and political division.


  1. Creative Writing: Write a short story or a play inspired by the themes and setting of "Heroes".
  2. Music Composition: Compose a piece of music that blends rock, electronic, and ambient elements, inspired by "Heroes".
  3. Film or Art Project: Create a short film or art project that interprets the themes of "Heroes" and reflects on contemporary issues related to division and unity.

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Oral Exam

  1. Comparative Analysis: Discuss how the themes in "Heroes" reflect the political and social atmosphere of the late 1970s and compare it with current global issues.
  2. Influence on Music: Analyze how "Heroes" influenced subsequent music genres and artists.
  3. Cultural Impact: Examine the role of "Heroes" in popular culture, including its use in films, TV shows, and other media.
  4. Bowie's Artistry: Discuss the evolution of David Bowie's musical style and how it is reflected in "Heroes".
  5. Lyric Interpretation: Provide a personal interpretation of the lyrics of "Heroes" and discuss how it relates to the concept of heroism in everyday life.

OERs on the Topic


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