As a 13 year old musically obsessed kid I knew something was special when during the usual Thursday evenings Top of the Pops tv show, a misty figure appeared through the haze on our black and white tv accompanied by an ethereal guitar sound; every hair on the back of my neck stood up. "Heroes" was the first Bowie album I was really into (too young for Ziggy proper). As a student of German history to post grad, then to meet, (in Australia of all places), a German girl (born "behind the wall" in the old DDR), then marry and move back to Germany and now be lucky enough to have two wonderful little boys who are predominantly German speaking... well, the song has many resonances for me as you can understand.
I've visited Berlin now for about 15 years, but recently I was lucky enough to be taken around the city with Berlin Music Tours. The trip into the Hansa Studios (the "Hall by the Wall") was a real thrill and to be in the control room with Mr Edu Meyer, engineer on "Low", "Lust for Life" was one of the greatest musical thrills of my life. (You can see Edu's signature on Bowle's hand on the cover). It's perhaps a cliche, but it's difficult to fully understand "Low", "Heroes" and "The Next Day" without visiting the city and reading a bit about the cities - and Bowie's - history, especially with a track like "Heroes". When asked by a German reporter around the turn of the century where he lived in Berlin, he immediately replied "Hauptstraße 155 in Schöneberg". The interviewer was startled. "You still remember it after 25 years?". "I will never forget it", Bowie said to him, "they were very important years".
Berlin was the place that both saved him and made Bowie and where he changed the face and sound of popular music. Bowie, "Heroes", Berlin and Germany have all been references and references throughout my life, consciously or not... so much so our 2nd Son is named "Ziggy" ... but that's another post!