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Bowie in Berlin: The ultimate quiz

How much do you really know about those Berlin years?

Image for Bowie in Berlin: The ultimate quiz
Immortalised: Bowie in Berlin. Photo: imago/Peter Homann


We all know that David Bowie lived in Berlin during the late 1970s with his annoying housemate Iggy Pop. But how will you fare with our comprehensive Bowie-in-Berlin quiz? Answers below – no cheating.

1. How old was David Bowie when he moved to Berlin?

a) 27

b) 29

c) 30

d) It’s a myth – Bowie never actually lived in Berlin

2. Which of the following has NOT been cited as a reason for Bowie’s alleged move to West Berlin?

a) He wanted to kick his coke habit and he thought of Berlin as a temple of sobriety

b) For research purposes: he originally intended to develop Ziggy Stardust into a German character, Siegfried Stardüst

c) He had fallen in love with beautiful, transgender entertainer Romy Haag during his spring Isolar tour

d) He was fascinated with krautrock, Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Kirchner

3. Which three albums make up the so-called Berlin trilogy?

a) Low, “Heroes”, Lodger

b) Station to Station, “Heroes”, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

c) Aladdin Sane, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), Let’s Dance

d) Diamond Dogs, Station to Station, Young Americans

4. Which 20th-century artistic movement provided inspiration for the Berlin trilogy?

a) The German expressionist group Die Brücke

b) The Berlin Dada movement, particularly Max Ernst

c) The Dutch De Stijl movement

d) The performance artists of the Fluxus movement, particularly Joseph Beuys

Image for Bowie in Berlin: The ultimate quiz
Bowie performs at the Reichstag in Berlin in 1987. Photo: imago images / BRIGANI-ART


5. Why do some people object to the title ‘Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy’?

a) Technically the ‘Berlin Trilogy’ consists of four albums

b) Because the production, songwriting, and music was mostly done by Iggy Pop

c) They are widely regarded as his worst albums and Berliners find it embarrassing

d) Only one if the albums was entirely recorded in Berlin; the others were made in France and Switzerland

6. Which of the following was part of Bowie’s Berlin eating habits?

a) Caviar and chocolate from KaDeWe

b) Scrambled eggs and brains at Exil

c) Romy Haag’s homemade club sandwiches

d) All of the above

7. Which Iggy Pop albums did Bowie produce while he was in Berlin?

a) The Idiot and Lust For Life

b) Raw Power and Kill City

c) Soldier and New Values

d) Lust For Life and Raw Power

8. What inspired Bowie to write the riff of Iggy Pop’s song “Lust For Life” while he was in Berlin?

a) The Morse code jingle on the American Forces Network News broadcast

b) The sound of construction work happening outside

c) Listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 in A Major while stoned

d) The music in a 1977 Volkswagen ad

9. Bowie famously used the ‘cut-up’ technique to piece together lyrics for his ‘Berlin Trilogy’. From which song are the following lines taken?

The weather’s grim, ice on the cages

Me, I’m Robin Hood and I puff on my cigarette

Panthers are steaming, stalking, screaming

a) “Changing Hearts”

b) “Boys Keep Swinging”

c) “Blackout”

d) “Yassassin”

10. Which of these West Berlin clubs was NOT one of Bowie’s regular haunts?

a) Transvestite bar Lützower Lampe in Charlottenburg

b) Basement jazz club Quasimodo in Charlottenburg

c) Hedonistic disco Dschungel in Schöneberg

d) Punk hangout SO36 in Kreuzberg

11. How would Bowie soothe his vocal chords before a recording session at Hansa Studios?

a) Swallow a teaspoon of baking powder

b) Crack a raw egg into his mouth

c) Guzzle olive oil from the bottle

d) Eat a whole bulb of garlic

12. Bowie would occasionally visit East Berlin – what did he do there?

a) Smuggle drugs and fancy booze to his friends on the other side of the Wall

b) Play secret gigs for GDR political higher-ups in return for huge sums of money

c) Go into supermarkets and buy up all the Spreewälder Gurken to sate his pickle addiction

d) Catch a Brecht play at the Berliner Ensemble before dining alongside members of the GDR elite at the nearby Ganymed restaurant

Image for Bowie in Berlin: The ultimate quiz
Hauptstraße 155 in Schöneberg, where David Bowie and Iggy Pop famously lived together in the late 1970s. Photo: imago images/Schöning


13. When they lived together, what would Iggy do that annoyed Bowie?

a) Throw impromptu house parties with his groupies

b) Play The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust on repeat “for inspiration”

c) Eat all of Bowie’s favourite food out of the fridge

d) Roll around in broken glass in a drug-induced fit of hysteria… in Bowie’s bedroom

14. The single “Heroes” was inspired by the sight of two lovers kissing beside the Berlin Wall. Who were they?

a) Two gay West German punks

b) Romy Haag and an unknown figure, who later turned out to be fashion designer Claudia  Skoda

c) An East German border controller and his girlfriend

d) Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti and his mistress, backup singer Antonia Maaß

15. Which Berlin landmark does Bowie NOT mention in his 2013 comeback single “Where Are We Now?” 

a) KaDeWe

b) Potsdamer Platz

c) The TV Tower

d) Bösebrücke

Answers: 1=B, 2=B, 3=A, 4=A, 5=D, 6=D, 7=A, 8=A, 9=C, 10=B, 11=B, 12=D, 13=C, 14=D, 15=C