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Req: Bowie - Five Years (see video)

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
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Maybe someone would be willing to explain the strumming patterns, chords, transitions, & outro used by Brian Molko in his cover of Bowie's "Five Years" ... here's a video of the performance


My school has a band competition coming up & it's usually filled with noisey, grindcore, screamo bands, & so I was hoping to introduce my class to some good ol' Bowie. It's just that I don't know how to play any, so any advice is welcomed! Many thanks in advance.

Edit: it shouldn't be too hard to pick up from the video for any somewhat experienced guitarist, but I'm afraid that he's going a bit too fast for me.

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1086

It looks to me as though he uses the same chords as Bowie but there are a few little walk-downs from one chord to another.
These are the chords I use for this one
[G]Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing
[A]News had just come over, we had [C]five years left to cry in
[G]News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying
[A]Cried so much his face was wet, and I [C]knew he was not lying
I heard [G]telephones, opera house, favorite melodies
I saw boys, toys, electric irons and TV's
My [A]brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to [C]cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny [Am]people, [C]and all the tall-short [Am]people
[C]And all the nobody [G]people, [C]and all the somebody [D]people
I never thought I'd need so many [C]people

[G]A girl my age went off her head, hit some tiny children
[A]If the black hadn't a pulled her off, I [C]think she would have killed them
[G]A soldier with a broken arm, his fixed stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
[A]A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, and a [C]queer threw up at the sight of that
[G]I think I saw you in an ice cream parlor, drinking milk shakes cold and long
[A]Smiling and waving and looking so fine, [C]don't think you knew you were in this song
[G]And it was cold, and it rained, so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your [A]face, your race, the way that you talk
I [C]kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk

We got [G]five years, stuck on my eyes - Five years, what a suprise
We got [A]five years, my brain hurts alot - [C]Five years, that's all we got
We got [G]five years...

As far as the walk-downs go, he seems to go from G to Em by the following method
G Em


And then again the same sort of thing from the Em to the A

Em A


You could do something like this for every chord change using walk-ups as wel as walk-downs.

As for the strumming pattern

Its sounds very much like a D-DUD D-DUD pattern to me (D meaning down and U meaning up)

Hopefully this will help you out and good luck with the competition.

Rod. :wink:

Be excellent to each other & party on dudes!