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David Bowie — Panic In Detroit
Album: Aladdin Sane
Avg rating:
7.2

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1799









Released: 1974
Length: 4:15
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Ooh

He looked a lot like Che Guevara, drove a diesel van
Kept his gun in quiet seclusion, such a humble man
The only survivor of the National People's Gang
Panic in Detroit, I asked for an autograph
He wanted to stay home, I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit

He laughed at accidental sirens that broke the evening gloom
The police had warned of repercussions, they followed none too soon
A trickle of strangers were all that were left alive
Panic in Detroit, I asked for an autograph
He wanted to stay home, I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit

Putting on some clothes, I made my way to school
I found my teacher crouching in his overalls
I screamed and ran to smash my favorite slot machine
And jumped the silent cars that slept at traffic lights

Having scored a trillion dollars, made a run back home
Found him slumped across the table, a gun and me alone
I ran to the window, looked for a plane or two
Panic in Detroit, he'd left me an autograph
"Let me collect dust," I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit

Ow
Comments (241)add comment
Prescient. And '5 Years' is more apropos now then when it was written.
This song just cooks. Always has, always will. 
 nicknt wrote:
One of the best Bowie songs.
 
Fixed.  Thanks friend.
One of the worst Bowie songs.
 chinaski wrote:
Yes! When freeform FM radio ruled the airwaves! Yes to WGTB-FM! Thank you Bill!
 

WGTB. 41 years ago I ran into Ken Sleaman(sp?) in the Maryland Food Coop cooler.  How odd was that!
I'm a BIG Bowie fan, but come on, RP...this is the third time in a week I have hard this song. 
Yes! When freeform FM radio ruled the airwaves! Yes to WGTB-FM! Thank you Bill!
 westslope wrote:
So what exactly is Bowie saying about the '67 riot in Detroit?
 
I'd always heard these lyrics were based on descriptions Iggy Pop had told Bowie about the '67 riots.
Ooooh, Mick Ronson on guitar? 

He never got much acclaim. 

Love the rythm and percussion behind. Still on 10 cause 11 is not possible ;)
Thanks for playing this right after The Orb, what a relief! {#Sunny}
Love the song, but a bit overplayed lately? There are other great Bowie tunes too.
So what exactly is Bowie saying about the '67 riot in Detroit?
Hearing these mad raucous guitar slashes made me think of Blue Oyster Cult's fab masterpiece "Astronomy;" same time period, too... 
So, picture it.  Me, friends, in a really nice space.  Downtown to Detroit to Olympia to hear David - waiting for Panic in Detroit, I mean, in Detroit.  Waited, waited, never came.  He decided that night to be a crooner and ditch Ziggy.  Rats.  Still giving the tune an 8.  Dressed like this on Halloween 1974. 
{#Dancingbanana_2}As a young man, this songs intro ranked very high with me....still enjoy it !
meh
"Panic in Detroit" is a song written by English singer David Bowie for the album Aladdin Sane in 1973. Bowie based it on friend Iggy Pop's descriptions of revolutionaries he had known in Michigan. It is also interpreted as being written about the 1967 Detroit riots. Rolling Stone magazine called the track "a paranoid descendant of the Motor City's earlier masterpiece, Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run"".
 hayduke2 wrote:
Excellent Artist in so many ways



 
Looks a lot like Che Guevara.
Bill didn't let us Sat niters down!!
 treatment_bound wrote:

 You've arrived on a rather special night. It's one of the master's affairs.

 
Hey mom what's for dinner?  Oh no, not meatloaf again!
 kingart wrote:

Frank n Furter before the change. 

 
 You've arrived on a rather special night. It's one of the master's affairs.
 On_The_Beach wrote:

https://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/list_item/mick-ronson-20101202/mick-ronson.jpg  Mick!

 
Frank n Furter before the change. 
10 for sure,,,,,,
It is hard to understand how one man could make so much great music.
 kcar wrote:

Beg to differ. To each his own. Just pushed it from 9 to 10 after seeing your comment.  {#Bananajam} {#Bounce}

 
Ditto here
Huh. I thought Bill was playing Tenacious D.
 
10
I keep clicking the 10 button but the overall rating does not go up.   It still says 7.2.  Shome mishtake, shurley?
 whomhow wrote:
It's just awful... 3->2.

 
Beg to differ. To each his own. Just pushed it from 9 to 10 after seeing your comment.  {#Bananajam} {#Bounce}
My folks moved to Detroit when I was in college, and this was on the radio constantly, it really rocks. you always want to turn up early Bowie loud and clear.
Bill's dealing again
this set is rockin'
Hard to understand the rating on this one. Such strong arrangement and production and such powerful performances. And unique! Unlike any other track I can think of. Special appreciation for the ultra-dense percussion and riveting guitar work. IMO, this one stands out in the amazing Bowie catalog, at least among the hard edged tracks.
 sirdroseph wrote:
Bowie at his best and yes that guitarist kicks arse!
 
https://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/list_item/mick-ronson-20101202/mick-ronson.jpg  Mick!
So much love for Bowie and his legacy
Bowie at his best and yes that guitarist kicks arse!
It's time to celebrate Bowies life and all the good stuff and great spirit he left behind. Your imagination is the limit.
 Grammarcop wrote:
Sorrow in Detroit.

 
And all over the world.
RIP indeed.The world is no longer the same.No more Bowie music.
R.I.P. David.  Your creative genius will always be appreciated and hugely missed.  Thanks for the memories.
Excellent Artist in so many ways


One of a kind. We were lucky to have him on earth while we did.
Sorrow in Detroit.

I used to work in the late 70's with this meathead ex-Marine at GE designing nuclear power plant components. At the time there was some pointless riot somewhere in the US - can't remember the incident- and I said to my scurrilous jinker pal 'Deadboy', "I bet there's a panic in Detroit too!" Just a little joke, to pass the time.  Mr. Meathead overheard my remark and wheeled around, totally sincerely saying something like "No kidding! THIS COUNTRY IS COMING APART AT. THE. SEEEEMS!" How correct he was, but never knew it. There were so many people high on so many kinds of drugs then; I can't remember them all, but Bowie was the soundtrack, drongos!


 Grammarcop wrote:

Sloggy:

I like the way you do business. 

 
Absolutely! Speaking as a lawyer and Doctor of Divinity, there's a right way to handle matters like that and Slogggy choose the RIGHT WAY!
It's just awful... 3->2.
This still rawks.
Great song, great album.
 Sloggydog wrote:
No need to panic in Detroit (even when you find yourself drunk out of your skull with a girl you just met being presented with an $800 bill because the rest of your group, whom you only know 1 of,  bailed when the birthday girl threw up at the bar).  Just dodge the bouncers, hide in the Limo and call the girl who's birthday it is to round everyone else up.  Thanks for the free night out in the end MGM Grand. 

 
Sloggy:

I like the way you do business. 
 GTT wrote:
Can someone please explain to me how David Bowie's music can possibly be so good?  I guess what I mean is that all of the greatest R&R music seems to be made by bands, not by one person with backing musicians.  Did he write all of this wonderful music by himself?

 
Simple answer, IMHO, Bowie is a musical omnivore and a brilliant composer and singer who also happens to have been smart enough and/or lucky enough to have brought into his orbit an incredible array of wonderful musicians over the years to support him on his records and tours.



 DD gypsyman wrote:
After thorough Googling, I am more confused than ever. Apparently, Alomar played on the Isolar tour, in Springfield, in 1796, after getting canned by Bowie's managent just after the Young Americans tour, in 1975, which came out right before the Station to Station tour. Stevie Ray Vaughn was gonna take the reigns after that, but it never happened.

So, it looks like Alomar played the live tour, and Ronson played the studio version. Help! 

 
Stevie didn't come into Bowie's orbit until 1982, shortly before the recording of the Let's Dance record on which Stevie played and for which Nile Rodgers was musical director, taking the role previously held by Alomar and before him Ronson.

Things didn't work out for Stevie or Nile to tour with Bowie on the Serious Moonlight tour supporting Let's Dance, so Carlos was back again as rhythim guitar player and band leader, with the great Staten Islander Earl Slick taking over on lead guitar.
Can someone please explain to me how David Bowie's music can possibly be so good?  I guess what I mean is that all of the greatest R&R music seems to be made by bands, not by one person with backing musicians.  Did he write all of this wonderful music by himself?
 Sloggydog wrote:
No need to panic in Detroit (even when you find yourself drunk out of your skull with a girl you just met being presented with an $800 bill because the rest of your group, whom you only know 1 of,  bailed when the birthday girl threw up at the bar).  Just dodge the bouncers, hide in the Limo and call the girl who's birthday it is to round everyone else up.  Thanks for the free night out in the end MGM Grand. 

  wow
No need to panic in Detroit (even when you find yourself drunk out of your skull with a girl you just met being presented with an $800 bill because the rest of your group, whom you only know 1 of,  bailed when the birthday girl threw up at the bar).  Just dodge the bouncers, hide in the Limo and call the girl who's birthday it is to round everyone else up.  Thanks for the free night out in the end MGM Grand. 
 unclehud wrote:

Fabulously wry lyrics, done with literacy, compelling percussion, and rocking guitar work.  One of dozens of underrated Bowie tunes.





I find myself playing this over and over from my vinyl- it just defines an era somehow. Outstanding performance by Ronson! What a hook!!

{#Eek}  Detroit really is in a panic.

 

(it went bankrupt)

 


you'd think, since I built this bleeding amp, I'd have put in a special Bowie volume setting. Next time.
After thorough Googling, I am more confused than ever. Apparently, Alomar played on the Isolar tour, in Springfield, in 1796, after getting canned by Bowie's managent just after the Young Americans tour, in 1975, which came out right before the Station to Station tour. Stevie Ray Vaughn was gonna take the reigns after that, but it never happened.

So, it looks like Alomar played the live tour, and Ronson played the studio version. Help! 
Mick Ronson at his god-like best. Ranked # 64 by Rolling Stone as Top 100 guitaristas of all time. This was considered his seminal performance.

This was the set March 31st, Springfield Auditorium, Massachusetts, 1976:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Panic is back in Detroit. With the city government teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, there's real fear that the city will be forced to sell off some of the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts to meet creditors' demands. 

Anybody want a Van Gogh? 

Fabulously wry lyrics, done with literacy, compelling percussion, and rocking guitar work.  One of dozens of underrated Bowie tunes.


Astonishing album.  Still stands up to it today.  Godlike artist.
 gypsyman wrote:

Carlos Alomar was the guitarist.

 
Sorry but it was the Spiders on this.... not bad for a boy from Hull!

Personnel David Bowie – guitarharmonicakeyboardssaxophonevocalsMick Ronson – guitar, piano, vocalsTrevor Bolder – bass guitarMick "Woody" Woodmansey – drumsAdditional personnel Mike Garson – pianoKen Fordham – saxophoneBrian "Bux" Wilshaw – saxophone, fluteLinda Lewis – backing vocalsJuanita "Honey" Franklin – backing vocalsG.A. MacCormack – backing vocals
Thought I was headed out on errands in the Honda but apparently stumbled into my time machine by mistake. They do look very similar. Oh well, like they say: when in Detroit...
 Shouc wrote:
Is this a reference to the current Panic in Detroit and the installation of the Technocrat who has usurped the power of city council?
 
No(I know you were kidding)
It is a reference to his time with Iggy Pop while in Detroit 
 lemmoth wrote:

Absolutely
 
Carlos Alomar was the guitarist.
Is this a reference to the current Panic in Detroit and the installation of the Technocrat who has usurped the power of city council?
He played this on the Young Americans tour in 1975 in Springfield. Unforgettable.
 merkin_muffley wrote:
Is this Mick Ronson era? Love that guitar.
 
Absolutely
OF COURSE!  Next year's Halloween costume: Aladdin Sane face paint and no shirt!  I'll be the coolest kid at the assisted living facility!
Absolute. Great. Rock n' Roll. 
And the Nobel prize for drumming goes to..................

THIS GUY!!! {#Drummer} {#Drummer}{#Drummer}
Is this Mick Ronson era? Love that guitar.
Panic at my work...
Quick hit the PSD button!
Bill - you're spoiling us!!
Used to listen to this album in car on way to band practice near Chicago in early 80's. Takes me back there instantly. Great song.
"Panic" is not a word I would use to describe my city. At least not today.
Superb song from a great album
One of my favorite intros
 Boy_Wonder wrote:
Can't believe this only rates a 7.3!  C'mon guys, it's genius!!
 
Truly awesome!!  A real classic.   The whole album is Bowie at his best and that is saying alot.
{#Skull} Like Bowie but not this one.

 
Hr-Rosendahl wrote:
Love Bowie!

Panic in Detroit is awesome.
 


A salute to the late great Ronno.....RIP
Love Bowie!

Panic in Detroit is awesome.
 cyesp wrote:
....the police had warned of repercussions..
 
...they followed none too soon.
Can't believe this only rates a 7.3!  C'mon guys, it's genius!!
My little tube amp loves this

 Randomax wrote:
so much Quicksilver Messenger Service guitar sound/beat in here....anyone else hear that?
  
 
Bleyfusz wrote:

It´s the Bo Diddley what I hear.
 

I hear both—more Bo than QMS ("Who Do You Love", maybe). 

Love Bowie'scream and descending guitar wails at the end. 



David! Panic in Detroit! Tuesday morning housework. Brilliant. Thank you, Bill.
Being from Detroit originally, I gotta like this. Kind of like when Cleveland Rocks gets played in my new home.

Awesome guitar riff!{#Guitarist}
 hollirg1 wrote:
Sorry, Bowie sounds terrible.  I'd rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.
 

Personally, I always thought this tune sounded great, but some variation of the clichéd simile "nails on a chalkboard" probably appears in the comments for almost every song on the RP playlist.  It's often caught, red-handed, shooting itself in the foot by biting the hand that feeds it, while running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  Experts agree that it's use should be avoided like the plague. 
Anyhow, opinions may vary about language and music.  Perhaps there are only a few descriptions of aural discomfort, so the old "nails" phrase may never go away.

 hollirg1 wrote:
Sorry, Bowie sounds terrible.  I'd rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.
 
Sorry, this commentary is terrible.  I'd rather read the unintelligible keystrokes of a monkey on a keyboard.

....the police had warned of repercussions..
 Randomax wrote:
so much Quicksilver Messenger Service guitar sound/beat in here....anyone else hear that?
 
It´s the Bo Diddley what I hear.

Sorry, Bowie sounds terrible.  I'd rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.
Ahh.....This is the good stuff !!!!!
7 -> 9. What was I thinking?{#Doh}Great song!
 SuzG wrote:


*bump*

(had to get some Bowie love to the top of the page)
 
Me Three!
 MannAudioltd wrote:
best ever Bowie song , who cares what its about
 


Absolutely spot on
Woah: Bill's on a seque-binge: Save it for Later into Message of Love into Nowhere Again into Panic in Deee-troit. Pull out, Bill, pull out - no-one can survive this speed!

brilliant screaming backup singers by the Astronettes


best ever Bowie song , who cares what its about
Bowie is such a legend {#Bananajam}
One of the great things about RP is Bill's ability to segue music together that really make sense.  However, that means sometimes you really dig what you hear for a while, and sometimes ... well .. not.
Not my favorite Bowie {#Doh}
I hadn't heard this one before. (I am so ashamed...)   "A Lad Insane."  Pretty good schtuff!
 tapatia1072 wrote:

Me too, me too!

 

*bump*

(had to get some Bowie love to the top of the page)

I respect the guy, but I just can't get in to him. I'm getting in the habit of tuning away when he comes on.
Well, better than say.....Princ and Patty at least.....what ever....is it over?
Wow! Dave and Mick making the big noise!
 
love these drums!
Nice and funky!
 Giselle62 wrote:
i like the guitar. what's this song about??
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Detroit_riot

 Giselle62 wrote:
i like the guitar. what's this song about??
 

The song refers to the 1967 race riots in Detroit:
https://www.67riots.rutgers.edu/d_index.htm
Pretty funky for a white boy from the UK
i like the guitar. what's this song about??
 Stefen wrote:

Wikipedia says that you could have done so.
 
I know I did!

 Stefen wrote:

Wikipedia says that you could have done so.
 
Thanks, I feel better now.   Regardless.... it is probable my fav album of all time.  

 sirdroseph wrote:
One of my Bowie favs!{#Bananajam}
 
Me too, me too!