Skip to main content

Watch David Bowie's Stirring 1996 Acoustic Performance of "Heroes"

With all the talk about David Bowie the fashion icon, David Bowie the actor and David Bowie the "glam-rock alien," we might be in danger of forgetting that he also was David Bowie the guitar player.

Below, check out a clip of Bowie performing an acoustic version of "Heroes" on October 20, 1996, at a benefit show for the Bridge School, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs.

For this part of the his set, which took place in Mountain View, California, Bowie is joined by Reeves Gabrels on guitar and Gail Ann Dorsey on bass; and let's not forget the bottle cap taped to the bottom of Bowie's shoe.

A product of Bowie's "Berlin" period, 1977's "Heroes" has gone on to become one of Bowie's signature songs and is considered his second-most-covered song after "Rebel Rebel." Bowie's performance of "Heroes" on June 6, 1987, at the German Reichstag in West Berlin is considered—by some—a catalyst to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall, similar to that of Bruce Springsteen's show at Radrennbahn Weissensee a year later.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.