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Changes Lyrics

Artist: David Bowie
Album: Changes

David Bowie

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strain)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

(Turn and face the strain)
Don't tell t hem to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the strain)
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I'm going through

(Turn and face the strain)
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
(Turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time


by Dayne on 5/11/2008 3:51pm
I'm pretty positive that it's not turn and face the strain, but turn and face the STRANGE insead.
by sam on 5/18/2008 8:05pm
i love dis song
by Bowie on 5/20/2008 9:25am
It's strain.

Trust me.
by Joshua on 5/23/2008 11:13am
Yeah, I agree with this Dayne guy. It is strange because that would be stupid if it was strain, why would it be strain??Exactly our point.
by Brett on 6/4/2008 12:46pm
This sounds like the Beatles.
by Kailea on 6/5/2008 11:06am
Yeah, it kind of does sound like the Beatles. I think it's a really good song. David Bowie's got a fabulous voice.
by B-B-B-Bowie on 6/6/2008 10:06am
You should give some evidence, rather than just say: Period. Idiot. It kind of sounds like strange.. hard ot tell
by funkdog on 6/6/2008 9:15pm
what would be strange, is if you guys actually got a life!
by Ren on 6/7/2008 5:25am
Its "turn and face the stranger"
by nice.. on 6/12/2008 12:50am
ROFL you guys are retarded. it's strain. and it's very clear that it's strain. whether that makes sense to you or not. if you actually think about it the entire song isn't completely clear on what it's talking about. [and of course i'm referring to those who don't believe it's 'strain' as retarded.]
by Jemaine Clement on 6/12/2008 9:29pm
I have the Hunky Dorey lyric booklet. It's strain.
by prettymaryk on 6/13/2008 7:23pm
How can you say it's "strain" if you can CLEARLY hear the "g" at the end every time he sings it? You can hear it. And it's not "turn and face the strain --- Changes"; it's "turn and face the strange changes". It's an actual sentence, which is what makes Bowie's songs so wonderful: he actually uses sentences instead of random exclamations and words.
by david bowie on 6/15/2008 10:56am
of course its 'strain ive listned to this song loads of times its not hard to hear that its 'strain'. Its really not that difficult.............
by Peter Gammons on 6/18/2008 11:50pm
fuck you, my brain hurts!
by Gammo Simgmal on 6/21/2008 11:59pm
I can't believe you guys are arguing over Bowie Lyrics. HE doesn't even know what half his songs are about.
by george on 6/22/2008 7:04am
it is strain. it kinda sounds like strange because the next syllaball is ch
by pam on 6/22/2008 3:46pm
actually, you guys, its turn and face the stranger. i just went on 10 different lyric websites and they all say "turn and face the stranger"
which totally makes sense because he's talking about how time changes himself over time. he views himself as the stranger.
by Bewlay Brothers on 6/23/2008 8:23am
In an interview from Musician magazine in 1990 Bowie himself confirmed this.
As in strange fascination.....
it's kind of Syd Barrett-esque.
by josie on 6/23/2008 7:59pm
sorry to piss anyone off but pam is right- i have the cd
by Agent Al on 6/24/2008 8:51am
No "right" answer here. A good song means different things to different people. Many song writer/singers will change songs when done live or later in their careers. It is fun to read each of your thoughts. It says more about each of you than it does about the song.....
by kate on 6/24/2008 1:09pm
omg you guys are so sad
its stain
it sounds like strange because of the chh that comes next and how they have mixed it
i have the sheet music
its not stange or stanger
its stain get over it lmao
by oya on 6/29/2008 2:20am
Turn and face the stain? Wtf? Srsly? What stain?
by Dude on 7/4/2008 1:37pm
YOu guys are fucking dumb.. the song is about The strain of getting older, and going through changes in your life... of course it's fucking strain.
Ch ch ch changes is the hook, the words that come before it don't correlate..
by Tim on 7/8/2008 5:10pm
Using Prettymaryk's logic, Bowie's next lyric would be:
"Don't want to be a richer man changes...
What is a richer man changes?
I don't want to be one.
That STRAIN's logic...
by cheftz on 7/9/2008 3:21pm
well i tell you what i have just called David and he confirms it is strain! these comments are very amusing.
by prettymaryk on 7/10/2008 2:38pm
Tim: I don't really see how that's my logic, since I was only talking about the strain/strange issue - and that's the beginning of the chorus, so it doesn't have to tie in to the previous phrase.

cheftz, the amusing one is definitely yours.
by another point of veiw on 7/14/2008 3:19pm
look at it without changes in the chorus
Turn and face the strain
Just gonna have to be a different man
(Turn and face the strain)
Don't tell t hem to grow up and out of it
Turn and face the strain
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Turn and face the strain
Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older
these things seem like they might be strenuous
by Strange Strain-ger on 7/14/2008 6:43pm
It is 'straight'

'Turn and face the straight changes'

I heard it in slow motion.
by ahahahahahahahahah WOW on 7/17/2008 9:06pm
"another point of veiw" makes alot of sense. but really, why argue, if you wanna sing it how you want go for it, David knows wut it is and he doesnt need anyone to remind him, OR correct his fans. im sure hes happy even if someoen messes up one word.
by zac bowie on 7/22/2008 2:17am
its strain
coz he is my dad and he told me

by zac bowie on 7/22/2008 2:36am
yer its me again its true add me on
by lost on 7/22/2008 5:47am
Arseholes. It's "Turn and take the train." Obviously. Think about it - "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?" David's going on a train journey and has to change at different stations on his route. Wankers.
by zac on 7/23/2008 4:58am
its strain and add me
by Bowie the dog on 7/29/2008 1:47am
It's true. It's a train journey;
Ch ch ch ch changes,
(Turn and face the train)
Pretty soon you're gonna get off in Dover.
by A on 7/30/2008 1:24am
oh my lord you people are pathetic, it is what ever you think it is, stop arguing its just a song, but an amazing song at that :)
by Ch-ch-ch-ch on 8/2/2008 12:12am
so many people arguing for lyrics , this reading its been really funny , keep the hard work!! guys , Ill check later ..
by tori on 8/3/2008 3:19pm
amazing song, i dont think one word makes that much of a diference, think what you want so it means what you want :) (its strange =p)
by Kakko on 8/11/2008 6:51am
The cover by bananarama is much better!
by huckleberry hound on 8/11/2008 11:48am
I thought it was turn and face the strange. I checked out a bunch of lyric finder web sites and they say turn and face the stranger which makes sense in the context of the song. I have no vested interest one way or another, just reporting what I found.
by Tarvo Wargambler on 8/11/2008 1:07pm
Actually, the line is "Churn your face in Spain." Bowie told me so himself when we were snorting coke with Marc Bolan in Ibiza in 1974.
by oh dear on 8/20/2008 11:47am
guys, you realize that whatever word you fight for, they can all make sense in their own way. its a beautiful song, nonetheless.
<3 bowie
by Lindy on 8/20/2008 3:19pm
All sad.... Bananarama...i ask's got to be 'strain', think about it in the context of the do they teach A level English!
by Arad on 8/23/2008 1:31am

For those of you arguing if it's "strain" or "strange", here's an excerpt from 'Station to Station', a book written by Geoff MaCormack (a.k.a Warren Peace), Bowie's backup singer in the mid-seventies. This will resolve the argument:

"On another occasion, again towards the end of the tour, we were singing 'Changes' for the purposes of a sound-check. When we reached the chorus David stopped the band, walked over to Gui and me, and asked us to sing our part. We duly obliged. David doubled up with laughter. For two-and-a-half months we had been singing 'turn and face the strain' instead of 'turn and face the strange'. From then on, every time we performed that song David would stick his arse out towards us and make like he was trying to squeeze one out, which would make us both laugh and fluff the line even worse."
by matthew m. on 8/24/2008 10:34pm
its funny because someone said it sounds like the beatles (i wish it was) but its notbecause i own every beatle a freak arent I?
by Debbie on 8/28/2008 3:05pm
Yes, but don't beat yourself up about it x
by Isabella on 8/30/2008 5:29am
I've always sung it pronouncing 'strange'.
Love that fact about him making fun about their mistake. God how I love that man x
by Dj Oystein on 9/3/2008 5:55pm
Changes is the definetaly most requested song when I`m around spinning records in Norway. And I Like it:)
by kaitlin on 9/6/2008 9:31pm
wow i'm glad i stopped to read these! haha it's definitely strange cause strain does not fit at all
by Mr Rebecca on 9/7/2008 9:17am
on the L word, Billy Blakie sings "turn and face the strange" but that may be just due to the situation =P
strange sounds funkier though :D
by fishmouth on 9/7/2008 2:00pm
I hope mr Bowie is reading and enjoying this. If you care to peruse the entire thread, it's clear we should split into two religious factions, adopt separate and distinct flags, the 'strain' & the 'strange' and start blowing each other up. These last few minutes have provided a sobering snap of how much emotional e energy is available to be harnessed to nothing at all. Am I on the fence? Naaah. How the F can you 'face a strain' ?. PS I am a big fan of words meaning something
by The only smart one here on 9/22/2008 3:54pm
I've talked to david bowie several times and its obvious that he's saying turn and face the struggle, i can't believe you guys didnt know that and you call yourselves fans please you guys make me sick
by G-dog on 9/23/2008 10:36pm
It's "turn and take this train." And the train y'all should be taking is to Dumbsville. Oh wait ... y'all's already there. Lordy, I'm da bess.
by gigi on 9/30/2008 5:07pm
funny shit!
by aladinsane on 10/5/2008 10:49pm
by rjbbjg on 10/12/2008 9:32pm
i have frome the 70's an original bootleg copy of this album ...hmm maybe i should sell it??
by reefshark on 10/20/2008 6:45pm
...Ground control to Major Tom...
...Ground control to Major Tom...
...Take your lyricosis...
...put it in your song....
by Bugjuicer on 10/23/2008 11:55pm
I wonder what David Bowie thinks about having all you morons as fan, that must make him turn and "face the strain."
by Wendy Boatcomesin on 10/25/2008 3:40pm
Strange. Obviously. Although it might be Stranger. Both make sense. Strain doesn't. Having said that we are talking about a songwriter whose lyrics include "the Jean Genie loves chimney stacks" so logical narrative might not be top of his agenda.
by Dan Levitan on 10/29/2008 11:45am
Thank you all, this is one hilarious thread
by stonehammer on 11/5/2008 4:33pm
i just wanted to check the lyrics 'cause i though Obama should have sung it last night in his acceptance speach - but what do i find? a discussion of the lyrics that sound like the whole 2 year election campaign all over again... and then if you think of it in light of Mr Obama's next four years; strain OR strange will fit nicely...
by jaybee on 11/10/2008 1:18pm
LOL! This is the best one I've read so far!! I've always said "strange". Changes bring strange (new, different, foreign) circumstances and surroundings. I've never once thought it might say STRAIN. Changes aren't a strain unless you view life like that. I guess some people are opposed to changes... CHANGE IS GOOD. STRANGE IS GOOD... :)
by tom bowie on 11/11/2008 3:59pm
my brother is david and he says its STRANGER but because the back up singers sing it,he cuts in when they say the ER IN strangER.
by Hello on 11/16/2008 8:11am
Okay. I just assumed it was strain. As some people fear changes, and some changes are negative but the outcome hopefully positive, and so he could be saying to face the strain of the thing before the change. However, does it actually matter?
by Anthony D.A. on 11/18/2008 5:25pm
Oh, get off it -- let's not drag politics into this too... if you've made B.H. Obama your savior, it's a losing prospect in the end.
Bowie clearly sings "strain," and to me the song speaks of personal identity and generational issues. And btw, it sounds Beatlesque because John Lennon sings back-up: the "turn and face the strain," parts.
by LyricMeister on 11/20/2008 12:31pm
Unbelievable. Are you all deaf? You're all thrashing it out: strain, strange, stranger. When it's clearly 'train'. He's talking about suicide, man, throwing himself under the 6.03 from Birmingham to avoid the babble of you psycho afficionados...
by too much reading on 11/20/2008 6:29pm
-peace in-
it's strange... i dont know how anyone got train. but thats what i hear so im stickin with strange. get a life and stop screaming at each other.
-peace out-
by queenbitch on 11/30/2008 6:48pm
its strain.

this has been quite entertaining though.
by mmmm on 12/2/2008 3:17pm
by Bowie's Bartender on 12/3/2008 2:30pm
It's "turn and chase the grain". Bowie drinks whiskey with a beer chaser. After a few "bats and balls", he's a little hard to "unnerstan". I can't believe you morons didn't know that!
by hmmmmm on 12/8/2008 10:03pm
The first one is "Strange"
The second is "Strain"
Then "Strange" again

Why is it like this? Who really gives a crap. Im making you all happy. Stop bitching and moaning over it.
by overandout on 12/9/2008 5:18am
Bowie doesn't need to sing about facing the strange - his whole artistic life is about facing the strange. And that's what makes him fantastic. He obviously sings about facing the strain, as that is what would be the troubling (straining!) aspect for him.
by amazing! on 12/9/2008 7:28am
the way he sings fascinating is pretty fascinating. maybe th real issue here is whether you "can" or "can't" trace time......

is that true about lennon singing on this record? it's such a great song. thanks to everyone xx
by beach babe on 12/31/2008 9:00am
As Bowie gets older it will be '"Turn and get my cane." We got to wondering about the lyrics because my son suggested ChChChChanges as a name for a new kitty (not under serious consideration as a name!).
by peta on 1/5/2009 6:03pm
wat kind of name is amazing or hmmmmm?
by Chizzle on 1/9/2009 12:20am
Woah!!! man u all need to get a life! i just stumbled across this website coz i wanted to sing the right words when my mum plays her bowie cds... oh and i agree with zac bowie. it is so strain
by sailormoon on 1/13/2009 4:59am
Oh my God, you made my day. I'll never tell you if it's strange, strain, train-because this is all too entertaining. Why ruin everyone's fun?
by flastar on 1/13/2009 11:33am
love the song... love the strain strange kkkkkkkkkkk
by chris on 1/13/2009 2:39pm
Its definetely strange
by Stu on 1/14/2009 10:20pm
"Pretty soon now you're gonna get older"... don't know if that one was fielded.
by Chizzle on 1/15/2009 10:35pm
wow this gets funnier everytime i go on!!! u guys are hilarious! what does feilded mean tho....?
by JaliL on 1/17/2009 3:28am
and its is not ripples is nipples :O
by I Am Nomad on 1/19/2009 2:15am
I can't believe none of you picked up on the other meanings of "strain," which is music. A strain is a section of a piece of music, more or less complete in itself.
Bowie is saying to turn and face the music, and accept the changes.
by Ravi on 1/22/2009 2:30pm
I like the "Churn your face in Spain on a train" idea.... This is getting to be like a Dr. Seuss story.
by keli on 1/27/2009 4:09pm
this was one of the most entertaining things i've ever read. thank you all for your passion. it created good humor. :)
by rose on 1/28/2009 6:53pm
this song is cool but what i dont get is that it saids ch-ch-ch
by Brent- on 1/28/2009 9:24pm
It is strange!! Simply because Strange, rhymes with Change!! I have a GED.
by Spikeasaur. on 2/1/2009 10:38am
How about all of you shut the fuck up and enjoy the music?
Christ you're like a bunch of fucking politicians.
Fantastic song, so try enjoying it.
by nigel on 2/9/2009 2:58am
the most convincing argument here was from the bloke who placed a quote from a book written by the fella who did back up vocals- which revealed it to be 'strange'. if it is 'strange', and, obviously, david bowie is sure of it; why does the hunky dorey album booklet (as previously mentioned) say that it is 'strain'? were the lyrics not confirmed with david before they were published?
by Rogers on 2/9/2009 1:19pm
The real lyrics are "Turn and face the strange bloggers who, for some reason, feel a strong need to edit my original song lyrics with their own Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes." The reason you don't hear the last part is that Bowie sings over it.
by Chizzle on 2/13/2009 9:28pm
guys... just enjoy the bloody song!!! everytime i sing to it i dont know whether to sing strain or strange wheras i used to just sing strain and that was all goods but u guys have made me all confused. i think we need to put it to a vote aye.
i vote strain
That makes it Strain 1. Strange 0

by irisrara on 2/14/2009 12:48pm
It is strain-I'm 47, been a Bowie fan for years, think about what 'Changes' do to us!!!
by STEVE on 2/22/2009 11:08pm
Definitely strain noobs. and lol, closet heterosexual, what a guy!
by sac master on 2/25/2009 5:17am
but slamed on ur face
by JamieW on 2/25/2009 3:22pm
Wow, I was just looking up the lyrics when I saw this thread of hilarious comments. Awesome! Keep up the entertainment. We've only got a couple million people to call onto the battle field. I'm not taking any sides, but I've always sung strange. Let the battle sommence once more!!!

With humor,

Jamie W
by sammy on 3/1/2009 3:16pm
is it strange? is it strain? is it rain? is it train? is it stain? who am i? where am i? what year is this?
by The Chapcheval on 3/3/2009 4:35pm
by Alexi Nobody. on 3/3/2009 10:50pm
does the space cold make you nipples go pointy bowie?

haha i love FOTC.

and im pretty sure its strange, not strain!
by becc on 3/5/2009 12:14am
by bubbakanoosh on 3/6/2009 5:04am
and what about the last line of the chorus - clearly its i can't change time
by Bowie is Buddah on 3/10/2009 1:42am
You're all wrong - he's not even singing 'Changes" it's actually "Strangers", Bowie stutters a bit during the lead in due to his coke habit at the time of recording this album. Buddah bless the thin white duke. BTW, his other hit song from this time with John Lennon - "Dame" totally rocks, "Dame, what you need is her number . . . "
by Unreal on 3/11/2009 10:54am
Anyone who isn't deaf could clearly hear that it is strain. Pretty simple don't need any evidence other than simply listening to the song.
by Mogul on 3/12/2009 4:29pm
Just got off the phone with David Bowie. It's STRANGE.
by wow on 3/21/2009 2:40am
wow we've spent almost a year arguing about it, yet i have the CD and it says strain in the strain in the lyrics that comee with it
by SPQR4 on 3/23/2009 2:03am
The strain refers to the strain of age (getting old).Once you start getting a little older you will know exactly what he is referring to.
by bilabong on 3/23/2009 12:34pm
im singing this in school with my friends
cool or what
by mim on 3/24/2009 9:46am
haha great thread.
Everyone round me sings 'turn and face the change. changes'
It does my head in. I've always alternated between strain and strange. I think I now opt for strange on the rhyming basis.
by cora507 on 3/24/2009 6:23pm
um i think its turn and face the strained
by KDub on 3/28/2009 12:21am
I have truly enjoyed this debate! Funny Stuff! I have always said "strange", however, the argument that I am Nomad had is a good one; I didn't think of that! It's definitely not "stranger", that's too many syllables to fit! This and Ziggy Stardust are 2 of my fav songs of all time! David's voice can make me melt!!!
by A horse on 4/6/2009 4:35am
by A horse on 4/6/2009 4:36am
by ThatSteven on 4/7/2009 12:04am
Sadly, I am too familiar with all of Bowie's songs and covers. The word in Changes is "strain".
Check out and see lyrics.
by diamonddogs on 4/7/2009 7:57am
I love David Bowie and I really love this song. It's the second best song on the CD "Hunky Dory". The best for me is "Life On Mars?"!!!!!!!!!:):):)
by jimmy on 4/7/2009 10:52am
haha just to wade into this debate...

i always said strain

i just watched an episode of Heroes called 'Turn and Face the Strange' and on the HeroesWiki thing it said this is a line from the Bowie song, which led me here to check if it was true. Just listened to a live version of Changes, and a cover version, they both sound like STRAIN.

by lobotomia on 4/9/2009 9:38am
Ive bin a Bowie-fan since -71 and I use to sing "strange". It makes sence.
So I go for the Chizzle-vote and vote for strange.
That makes Strain 1, Strange 1.

This battle must continue a while yet
by :l Your Mom on 4/13/2009 5:27pm
I couldnt care less about any of this crap, but im usin it for an English project xD
by a lion on 4/24/2009 6:41pm
by Rocksanne Redlite on 4/25/2009 10:58am
I've always thought it was "strange" but what do I know? Who cares, really--I LOVE this song.
by strainchange on 4/28/2009 1:50am
ch-changes turn and face the STRAING

at first i thought it was strain and when i put my ear directly to my speaker i heard a very faint "g" at the end of strain as the CH-CH started.

very split decision here, everyone else listening to the song, put ur ear close and tell me if you hear the ''g'' at the end of strain. strain/strange.. hmm
by Rusty on 4/30/2009 5:52am
I vote strange. Rhymes the best with change and makes the most sense.
by Coffee/Tea on 5/1/2009 12:45pm
Years ago, my now wife made me a cup of tea, which so happened to have coffee in as well, only my wife could do this, shes special like that. Anyhow I sat there almost to the end of the cup of tea/coffee and everytime I drank some my brain said it was Tea because I could taste tea then it would say NO its coffee and on it went.

It has just occurred to me that maybe that Bowie being Bowie as created a cup of tea/coffee and sings changes, turn and face the strain

and then sings ch... ch... ch... changes turn and face the strange.

Typical Bowie creating a Labyrinth.

Any Takers?????
by R2 on 5/3/2009 11:06am
I put my ear next to the speaker (had to climb on a la-la-ladder) and n-n-now I c-c-can't hear a th-th-thing. You all have made me howl! If you play it backwards (vinyl only!), I think it sounds like "regnarts eht ecaf dna nruT". D-D-Done deal.
by R2 on 5/3/2009 11:12am
I can't believe no one has mentioned listening to Changes while watching On Golden Pond with Jane and Henry Fonda. The part in question here (strain, strange, stranger, train, falls right into place when Henry's character (suffering from Alzheimers) turns around to face Jane (playing his daughter); Henry doesn't recognize her at all. Therefore, it HAS to be "Stranger".
by on 5/8/2009 8:15pm
It's turn and face the STRANGE - check the album lyrics or cduniverse.
by jane on 5/10/2009 6:30pm
If its when he faces Jane maybe its "turn and face the Jane"
by Loraine on 5/25/2009 3:12pm
yeah or maybe its, turn and face loraine, in reference to the morning after we slept together, and in bed he turned and faced me. Maybe hes saying its something we should all experience.
by Joe on 5/27/2009 8:35pm
Its strain i have best of bowie
by A Cockerel on 6/5/2009 11:16am

Erm unless you're an American reading this, in which case I'm a ROOSTER!
by harvard79 on 6/15/2009 12:53pm
i'm pretty sure it's "learn to place the blame." no matter how shitty your situation is, you should never take the blame. never.
by Idontevenreallylikedavidbowie on 6/20/2009 5:03am
funny to read the whole thing, then look back at the first and third comments which are so simple, and yet started this huge debate. i think it says strange. someone tally all the different votes and we will decide a year from now. because in the book 1984 it says the truth is whatever people believe it is. even though that idea is meant to be satirical, we will use it. so everyone get online at 4 a.m. mountain time on june 20, 2010, and we will have a party. we will also purge the people who were decided to be wrong.
by wans on 6/28/2009 6:47pm
I think it might be 'turn and face sit trane' referring to jazz saxophone great John Coltrane because bowie sucked at the instrument and now unconciously wants to sexually control the mighty Trane.
by David Bowie on 7/1/2009 6:20pm
Everyone sux. It says "Time to eat chow maine (sic)". I wrote it. I should know.
by truth guy on 7/21/2009 2:38am
If you lifeless peeps actually listen to the song itself, you can hear he sez strain, but if you listen carefully he sez a quite ge on the end of strain, so it is strainge (strange)

its not that hard
by Epidemiologist on 7/23/2009 8:57am
Bowie was secretly aware of alien plots to release deadly viruses on earth. Therefore it is "turn and face the strain...changes". Look up the movie Andromeda Strain that came out earlier the same year. Bowie, an alien himself, wanted people to passively accept their alien fate. Not sure how earth escaped certain disaster, but now we are all free to argue about song lyrics instead of worrying about aliens.
by SpaceOddity on 7/26/2009 7:00pm
This song is a reference to Strange Days by the Doors, one of Bowie's favorite song. The whole idea of this song comes from there, according to an a interview on one of Bowie's back up singer published in Rock & Folk. It therefore cannot be anything else than "Strange".
by hutchcat on 7/28/2009 5:54pm
It could be "stain". There's a stain on his pants and he cannot for the life of him remember how it got there.
by The Truth on 8/26/2009 12:29pm
"Turn and face the strain" refers to straining against the will of the older generation who resist change. The whole song is about society accepting change as well as accepting the change in yourself... At least that's what my cat Scout told me...
by Sophia Loren on 9/4/2009 4:52am
Thank you all for several of the most satisfying guffaws I've had the pleasure to loose in months.

I would echo the sentiment of "ahaha wow" on 7/17/08, "A" on 7/30/08, and "oh dear" on 8/20/08 in saying that regardless of what particular word Bowie used in writing the song, what he or his bandmates may or may not have sung at any given point or on any particular recording... no matter what any published biography or internet lyrics site or David Bowie fan page and shrine may confirm or deny... if you enjoy the song, then enjoy it! Sing whatever the hell you want to sing, as long as you're singing with your own real emotion. If you can't sing it without someone else deciding for you how you should feel and the exact words to quote, perhaps you should find another song to which you *can* just rock out and enjoy life?
by Ryan Boyd on 9/6/2009 12:15am
It's strange. There's no question in my mind.
by Blue on 9/13/2009 12:56pm
It's actually "turn and face the lame", which is actually all of the 'affirmations' above.
And for the ones suggesting Bowie would read this... sweet Jesus, I sure hope you get some serious ch-ch-ch-changes.
by vikki n mike :) on 9/21/2009 1:01pm
its not strain/strange/train/lame/cain/insane/macarane or juvinile its bababoooosk
by juno who on 9/27/2009 6:54pm
LOL! It's "strain". Honestly, don't depend on the internet for everything, get the cd (or the vinyl like us old peeps have) and read the lyrics.
by dave on 9/29/2009 3:46am
its strain. the song is about changes and lots of changes are a strain on life. it would be silly for it to be strange and all that other rubbish you keep saying.
by Emme on 9/30/2009 2:04pm
It's strange. Just listen.
by Hooc Aires on 10/3/2009 5:24pm
You guys make way too big a deal about this. It should sound like strange, because of how he sang it, but he says strain. it doesn't matter though because he says strain because it is about him making a comeback and facing the strain in his life. Therefore "look out you rock-n-rollers" and how he talks about past failures in the past verse and CHANGE throughout the song
by Hooc Aires on 10/3/2009 5:26pm
oh and SpaceOddity, rolling stone says otherwise...
by Nicoremo on 10/12/2009 5:39pm
Emme, what are you talking about? What is strange?
by Rita on 10/13/2009 8:54pm
Time may change me, but I can't RACE time. Come on, people!!
by bbbb on 10/17/2009 5:25pm
it's strange!

I'm David mum.
by Merkins on 10/24/2009 1:51pm
I'm sorry but I just can't get past this now and enjoy the song like I always have before reading all this. Can anyone please contact someone in authority and get a definite resolution to this.
by penrod59 on 10/28/2009 11:56am
Bowie is a shrieking hag.
by asdf on 10/29/2009 10:02am
fuck u aaaaaalll
by Hollywood James on 11/5/2009 5:20pm
You guyz are all wankers, It's strange, read the words to the rest of the song and it leads to that. There was a period when David's Backup singers were singing it wrong at rehearsals for the 78 world tour and he started making fun of it but it's strang, Now go on with your lives and quit quipping over bloody stupid things. PS David and I had spoke about this song on numerous occasions. Watch the ripple change it's course but never leave the stream
by corey on 11/13/2009 8:00pm
dayne is right its strange no strain.
by Mariah on 12/8/2009 10:01pm
I've listened to this song so many times and even watching the videos of him singing it, also the comical quoted evidence, it is strange! Turn and face the strange, in otherwords move out and face the unknown, that my opinion. But it is obviously face the strange, also I've seen lyrics written wrong before in places and many times people mishear lyrics. Still it's strange.
by bowiesbestlover on 12/10/2009 7:38am
its strange, nuff said....♥
by audiophile on 12/11/2009 3:57am
It is "strange". Check out the lyrics on Bowie's website.
by old rocker on 12/16/2009 9:17am
I wish I had a rocket lawn chair...
by David Bowie on 12/20/2009 3:02pm
I am David Bowie and I say it is Turn and face the strain.I also say all you fans of mine out there are cool!
by socks on 12/20/2009 3:09pm
I'd say Bowie is right, but I also think it sounds like turn and chase the train!
by Zepp on 1/4/2010 3:32pm
I think its really amusing this argument has gone on for more than a year.."pretty soon your going to get older"
by mel on 1/4/2010 8:55pm
BAHAHAHAHA you sorta just made my day.
by Maximum Jay in the uk. on 1/7/2010 4:33pm
Just rehearsed this song with my covers band. I sang "strain", for all the reasons above. When we next play this live, do you really think anybody will give a f*#%?
by LMFAO!!! on 1/21/2010 8:11pm
Stop ur petty bickering! It's been a year and a half!!! LOL!!
by blazenhayzen on 1/23/2010 2:36am
I can't believe I just read all of that.... I must be really bored.
Check out Opeth - Blackwater Park and get sucked into another world.
by Lalalala on 1/25/2010 9:51am
Haha,this is fabulous.
by Gee Mac on 1/27/2010 8:44pm
I thought maybe it was 'too tired to face the strain'....
by dd on 1/29/2010 4:23am
ihate you get life itbs been two years
by Monica L. on 1/29/2010 10:07am
It is not "turn and face the stain", as this was a full 17 years before the Bill Clinton incident.
by The Virgin Mary on 2/3/2010 7:04am
You fucking time vampires just wasted 20 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. The song is fucking good! Who gives a fuck about one word? That said, I think the evidence pretty strongly favors "strange"...if I were David Bowie I'd give two seperate interviews and "clarify" the lyric as "strange" in one and "strain" in the other just to fuck with people. Jesus, I'm gunna try to forget about what I've seen here tonight.
by Iona Raft on 2/3/2010 5:45pm
Triffic, I've just realized that it is supposed to be 'strange' and 'race time' at a time of life when I'm so old I might as well not bother and just go la la la like my gran always did. I blame Bowie and he ought to clarify this - in big print - now he's as old as Terry Wogan and eligible for a bus pass. He should write one about stairlifts and step-in baths for his loyal fans, we've been singing it wrong since before they invented mobile phones.
by fwegis on 2/8/2010 4:36am
this song makes me far to happy!!!!
by Pockets on 2/8/2010 7:02pm
I seriously laughed my ass off the entire time I read this thread. I'm laughing still as I write this. You internet ragers are truly something else. I'm going to cast my vote with no explanation whatsoever. "strange"

Cheers to everyone and keep this spirit alive! Please try not to call each other names, you're just degrading yourself, since no one cares what they're called on the internet.
by Pockets on 2/8/2010 7:08pm
oh yeah and Iona, Bowie is 9 years younger then Wogan, and has been since he was born... just a thought.
by R. Martin Basso on 2/19/2010 10:19pm
You are all quite wrong. I just had lunch with David Bowie and he told me that it is actually:
by Annie on 2/21/2010 3:01am
Bowie is a poet. Change and strange rhyme. Case closed.
by Bowie to Bowie on 2/21/2010 5:33pm
I bet Bowie doesnt even know which word it is anymore.
by Bowie to Bowie on 2/21/2010 5:39pm
David Bowie to David Bowie: Bowie I just listened to that song again and I believe whole heartedly that I sang "strange".

David Bowie to David Bowie: Bowie my good man I believe you're right.
by Bowie Fanatic on 2/22/2010 5:33am
You are all wrong. I have the original lyrics by David Bowie and it is "Turn and face the "stranger" changes
by Laurelbrook on 2/24/2010 5:57pm
The Song Makes Me Feel Free To Change! And Be Me! An Excellent Song! Thanks for giving my emotions back!
by Lori Freeman Flanigan on 2/24/2010 7:56pm
Change-Makes Me Feel ALive! Open To New Ideas and growth!
by Mark Treais on 2/26/2010 3:16pm

I still don't know that I was late before,
and my time was running while a million deaf end peeps were
Every time I thought I got it made
It seemed the taste was hot so sweet,
So I turd myself to makepeace
Butt I never caught the rim
How the smother was seen as faker
How much two arses take that test
Ch ch ch ch ch changes and face thes train
J J Janes says
Don't want to be a rich Erman
Ch ch ch ch Urn and face the same Ch chc changes
Just gonna have two bees a different, man
Time may change me
but I can't change. Time.
by bo on 3/3/2010 2:29pm
Suppose it is "turn and face the strain" : what does it mean??
by MassiveBallerDon8-check da 8 on 3/5/2010 8:32am
Betta get me one a dem hotdogs.
by booboo on 3/14/2010 9:32am
He's giving instructions for fixing a leaky tub:

"Turn and glaze the drain..."
by Major Tom on 3/16/2010 2:33pm
Just gotta nu massage from the action man, and he says this strange discussion is a strain in the neck region...
by LaLaLa on 3/18/2010 5:57pm
@ everyone at the top:
IT'S *~*STRANGE*~*!!!! You can definitely hear the "g" sound. and there is NOT an "r" sound at the end either, so it's not stranger either.
by Adam Sandler on 3/21/2010 10:40am
It's turn and face the TRAIN. Geez guys.
by Mel on 3/24/2010 12:43pm
Actually, I used to think it was "strange," but if Jemaine says it's "strain" it has to be "strain" because nobody knows more about David Bowie than the Flight of the Conchords who are even better.
by Starman on 3/27/2010 11:21pm
Wow! what a deep thread lol, Well I always thought it was "STRAIN" and still think it's "STRAIN" as I have listened to "Changes - David Bowie" about 5 times in the past 20 minutes and it is DEFINITELY "STRAIN" because it is a STRAIN in growing older and changing, it is not "Turn and face the strange ... Ch Ch Changes" as that is just ridiculous and people are only thinking it is strange as you hear the "ch" sound at the end of "STRAIN". As for "Stranger" that is even more ridiculous as there is not "r" sound. as for the "Stain" and "Train" theories they can all go take a hike because they are way off!!

by on 4/13/2010 7:58pm
it's "turn and face the strange" straight from the horses mouth
by Bono on 4/14/2010 7:55am
my fsvorites been the "Churn your face in spain" one
by michele on 4/30/2010 4:36pm
Stranger... Any songwriters out there would understand the play on phonics within songwriting... And lyrically would make in changed so much you don't recognise yourself...
by alley cat on 5/2/2010 12:09am
Wow. Just stumbled in here to clarify some other lines of the lyrics i realized i never had been sure of. I always thought it was "strange fascinations are telling me." As for the long, long discussion above, i never had any doubt that it was "strange" and never even considered it could be "strain."

Unbelievably, one thing i don't think anyone has mentioned yet is that it's obvious (to me, anyways) that, musically, the lines run together, so the whole line is actually, "Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes." Looking at it that way, it can't possibly be "strain."

by bluntmaster on 5/3/2010 12:44am
420 bowie was talking about facing the strain of weed... stream, floating come one its all about weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed
by dogluvah on 5/10/2010 11:16pm
i luv david bowie
by Songbook on 5/16/2010 12:29pm
I have the original vinyl and the CD. I have the lyrics booklet. It is "turn and face the strain". I am OLD. I know what I am talking about. Do not argue with my wisdom. Some of you could do with spelling and grammar lessons too. I am sure David would be pleased to advise you 'though the strain may be too much for him these days. Peace and love.
by Choo Choo on 5/18/2010 8:46pm
"Turn to take the train Ch- Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes" clearly he is looking for change in his pocket to take the train, it just makes sense
by leshie on 5/25/2010 2:33am
omg guys are u seriously that retarted its just a fuckin song sing it the way u want instead of arguing jeeze everyone has their own opinion but their is lots of people that dnt really give a fuck!!
what eva u think the lyrics are keep it to urself no one is really agreeing here so shut up ur hurting my head i can't think anymore its goin to explode

love ya's xo
by Anonymous Bowie Fan on 6/2/2010 9:47pm
It is in fact "turn and face the strange." I bought a music book made by a company that made albums for him and it says strange.
by shroggy on 6/4/2010 5:42pm
not sure what you're all going on about. why wouldn't strain make sense? if you're over 30 you would know that a lot of thing in life pose a strain.Getting older, trying to make a difference, etc. As to what is written on lyric pages and song books, there are a lot of misprints in them so do place your faith in that.
by Researching For A Movie Script on 6/4/2010 10:59pm
This thread has me laughing so hard I almost peed in my pants. I always thought it was "strange" but does it really matter? All I can say is that I was listening to the song in my dorm room at college in June of 1973 as I was getting ready to graduate, so if you hear it in a movie, say, three or four years from now, you can tell your friends you heard it here first!
by hay on 6/5/2010 7:55pm
every one i don't know what it is and also they delay strain till they say ch-ch-changes
by Rock and Roller on 6/10/2010 10:46am
Hahahaha do you guys realise that this argument has been going on for over 2 years!?
I read the first 20 or so comments then thought id scroll down till the whinging stopped. I ended up having to scroll right to the bottom and SURPRISE you are all still arguing about it haha it made me laugh :D

I'll just jump on the band wagon here though. I always thought it was strange. One of the more obvious reasons for that is that it rhymes with change! Also "strange fascination" and I think its a complete sentence as in "Turn and face the strange changes" not "Turn and face the strain, changes" I dunno, it just flows better.
People behind "strain" are making some good points though.
Either way, its not worth arguing about over the world wide web :P
by Grew Up On Bowie on 6/10/2010 7:54pm
Rock and Roller, my learned friend, I concur, its "strange" not "strain". It's about growing up... turn around and confront the stuff you are thus far unfamiliar with, ie turn and face the strange...
I didn't read all the comments either. but those that I did read quite amusing.
That having been said, Thank you very much "bowie" for having posted these lyrics. Much appreciated, it's a beautiful song.
by one of those songs on 6/14/2010 8:36am
Either way, this song was playing when Judy let me go where I had never been before. I have always loved the song since, and it took 34 years for me to get curious enough to see what the lyrics actual (?????) are.
by Great song on 6/16/2010 7:11am
"turn and face the stranger ch ch ch ch changes" it's clear reference to both strain and strange, telling us to big up even to the point when changes get so far out they're stranger than ever, and possibly not even real. He says earlier he's a faker but too fast to be tested out. Are the changes real? or a strange strain dramatised by a fake?
by haha on 6/25/2010 11:12pm
What a great thread. My arbitrary vote is on strain.
by OMFG on 6/27/2010 1:08pm
I can't even be bothered to read all these comments any more.

It's strain 100%

If you don't understand "turn and face the strain" as a sentence you need to re-learn English.
by Whoopdy Do on 6/27/2010 2:17pm
Although I'm going to come down on the side of "strange" (I suspect the quality of your copy of the music has something to do with your choice; I hear a "G" sound at the end of a drawn-out "strane," all but mixed-in with the "ch" in "Changes") may I suggest that Bowie would laugh to read this thread?

Like all great art, it's not only what the artist expresses, but how the observer interprets it, and clearly many of us interpret this song in different ways.

However, "face the strain. Changes" and "face the strange changes" are not all that different in meaning.
by Whoopdy Do on 6/27/2010 2:19pm
Next question: In "Purple Haze," does Hendrix sing. "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky," or "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy?"
by Tehe:] on 7/10/2010 7:24am
Who Cares What It Is?
Just Enjoy The Song And The Genius Of Bowie! :)
by mmk on 7/10/2010 6:25pm
wow can't believe this argument has gone on for TWO YEARS! Come on people any .com source is NOT RELIABLE and btw sing it whatever way you want or email bowie himself and settle it cause really..... TWO YEARS!
by ali. on 7/10/2010 11:16pm
yea, def. strain.
by David Bowie's Frog on 7/19/2010 7:18am
Uh, It's "turn and face Lestrange" as in Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. Bowie was a massive fan at the time. I should know, I'm his pet frog. Ribbit.
by allie on 7/20/2010 2:06am
....either way, david bowie is god
by THE LOWER FOURTH on 7/22/2010 3:13am
by worshipper on 7/22/2010 8:50am
and David is proclaiming Christ's message: Repent!
by At 11:41 AM I am still not God on 7/30/2010 1:41pm
It always sounded like "strain" to me, but it would be kind of cool if it was "stranger" and "strange" would make sense, too.

Now isn't it

"Pretty soon now you're gonna get older"


"Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older"?

The funny thing is, Bowie has the talent to take a mouthful of words and make them sound as smooth as something much simpler, and it really gives him a freedom of expression. A great song n omatter the lyric details...
by Francois Paufique on 8/7/2010 1:27am
Then the booklet is wrong. It IS "STRANGE". If not, then BOWIE was wrong, or under it.
by Francois on 8/7/2010 1:36am
actually, there is an alternance of strain and strange that make the song. For Bowie, facing the strain was like facing the strange -actually, maybe it is still so, like for most of us-. Also, don't forget he was under drugs when he wrote this, and maybe when he sang this, so... who cares !
by Francois on 8/7/2010 1:44am
Ok, guys, there is another one :
I wish from times to times, Bowie sang :
And also, it's not "I can't trace time" BUT "I CAN TRACE TIME" !!!!
That's great, I love this song.
by Francois on 8/7/2010 1:53am
Question of Culture. I mean Your parents taught You to face the strain, then You cannot hear You have to face the strange, in no effort, other than opening Your ownself. This is what the guy at the type-machine did. He thought Bowie had just wrote it wrong, and changed "Strange" into "Strain". And this mistake is still here, but "WE CAN TRACE TIME".
by Francois on 8/7/2010 1:56am
Anyway, brothers, how can You seriously think it is "strain" ?!?
It is so obviously "Strange".
Just listen to it !
This feed is good, because I have good reasons to keep playing the song.
I turn and face the strange
and I can trace down
by Francois on 8/7/2010 2:18am
You scary monsters ! Super-creeps !
by sooz on 8/10/2010 3:16pm
You've heard about having to "face the music"...'Strain' is an old word for a snippet of music. My take is that to "face the strain" is to face the music, ie...take responsibility for your life and decisions.
by Zippy on 8/24/2010 7:49am
I'm just glad I'm not this Analytical...or Anal..... :v)
by Zippy on 8/24/2010 1:33pm
It's Strain, as in Strained Peas and all that......
by Bob on 8/26/2010 12:35am
its Strain, not strange
by hah it's not peas! on 8/31/2010 2:17pm
turnip less the sage play seeds
by dildo on 9/1/2010 7:42pm
its strain, you FOOLS
by ziggy on 9/2/2010 9:47am
it's STRANGE. how is it not obvious?!
by peggy on 9/5/2010 5:53am
you are a couple of idiots,all you have too do is look at the album:turn and face the strain !!! David should know ,dont you think,and please stop looking for logic in hes lyrics,because then you are just too dum to listen to any Bowie song !!!!!!!!!!!!!
by John the Philosopher on 9/14/2010 3:14pm
If Mr. Bowie is out there, I would like to ask him if he had read Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" when he wrote "Changes". It hear the lyrics as a beautiful interpretation of Nietzsche's works.
by zippo on 9/17/2010 12:28am
Wow, music was a little different back then. I mean, it had such a laid back "production ethic" you might say. That really wasn't very clean compared with professionally produced stuff I hear now. Not really my thing, though it has that nice catchy refrain. And of course, there's the genuine feeling of artistic integrity in it.
by Rfi on 9/17/2010 9:43pm
I can't seem to find the lyrics to that Bowie song about changes. Can anyone here help me out with this one? Any version that is even close would be fine...
by brian halloween jack on 9/22/2010 9:22am
At least he got "but I can't trace time" correct. People often mis sing "but I can't change time". Anyway, it's "turn and face the drain", refering to life being washed away, I met Bowie in Tesco's yesterday, and he told me that himself
by The Walrus on 10/8/2010 12:56pm
having just listened to the song backwards, it says Paul is dead.
by grizmusic in pa on 10/10/2010 6:40pm
In the official music for this song, it says "stranger." however, if you pan your recording to one speaker, you can isolate the voice that sings it and they leave off the "er". it is clearly not strain.
by Mrs. David Bowie: on 10/18/2010 11:52am
And the verdict is in!! After almost three years of watching this ridiculous debate, I have tallied the votes and I am here to advise you of the winner. STRANGE wins with a vote of 54! STRAIN was a close second with an even 50. STRANGER was a distant third with 10 votes. However, all other combinations such as train, chow mein, stain and Lorraine, combined made 17 votes.
We want to thank all who came out to vote, Now please, go get a life.
PS The pole is now closed no other votes will be accepted at this time.
by Who Knows on 10/18/2010 7:38pm
Check out the book BROKEN OPEN by Elizabeth Lesser on Google Books. She talks about the problems of growing older, using her confusion over the lyrics of "Changes" to make her point. For 30 years she thought it was "changes" until she read the album lyrics. Of course, lyrics can change. (See: BEP's "Let's Get Retarded")
by EC was here on 10/20/2010 5:27pm
all this crap about a bowie lyric when you should all be listening to Robert Johnson
by phil on 10/27/2010 9:19am
album:"hunky dory" I bought it, the lyrics are inside and it's TURN AND FACE THE STRAIN !!!!!!!!!!
by Hispano on 10/27/2010 9:36am
He clearly says Spain. Trust me Ive got the original LP in Spanish
by aaaa on 10/31/2010 12:54am
omg you are all so fucking annoying who cares it sounds good both ways you all are fucking dumb fucks
by aaaa on 10/31/2010 12:57am
and the song he did with lennon wasn't Dame fucking ass it's Fame fucking losers
by yamum on 11/4/2010 1:33am
by Lololololol on 11/8/2010 5:41am
My favourite part of this was the trolls. :)
by Ignatious on 11/12/2010 2:16am
It's Strengths
by kkkkk on 11/23/2010 4:43am
It is freakingly wierd you guy are argueing over this!!!
by ROFL on 11/24/2010 9:07am
Just did an office poll. Got 1 vote for Strain, 3 for Strange and 12 votes for "Who's David Bowie?"
by Fay on 11/25/2010 8:53am
sorry to interrupt, but ... people who cares !!! what i am trying to say is isn't this one of the best song ever ??!! Because no matter if it's strain, strange, or even stranger ... you can still get good meaning out of the song :D so get a life ... seriously.

but i'm definite that if Bowie came across this ... he would really be rolling on the floor laughing his arse off :DDDDD
by YoungBowieFanGirl on 11/30/2010 9:01pm
I have read in the booklet "strain" BUT I still sing it strange, and even tattooed it on my body as strange because I have a childhood memory of singing it with my grandfather and we sang it Strange, so really, everyone, stop with the arguing and insulting, it's pointless and mean.
by powergirl on 12/3/2010 12:44am
by IggysOnlySon on 12/7/2010 10:49pm
It's, "Turd, your face is strange!"
by IggysOnlySon on 12/8/2010 10:37pm
I just checked with Shelly Marsh from South Park Colorado. She said, emphatically, it is "Turd, your face is strange!" When I asked her about Major Tom, you know, if she knew Major Tom's a junkie. She just yelled, "Leave me alone, turd!"
by Shelly Marsh on 12/9/2010 5:46pm
It is, "Turd, your face is strange." I should know. David Bowie is my boyfriend and we wrote that song together. The song is about my turd-of-a-brother, Stan. He is SO STRANGE.
by Mr. Jones on 12/10/2010 12:41pm
Shelly, I've told you before, I am not your boyfriend. I chose to work with you on that song because you had something substantial to contribute. Most specifically, the line "Turd, your face is strange." Now, I wish I would have gone with my original idea (as I still sometimes sing it), "Burn the lace, it's plain, ch-ch-change it."
by Stan Marsh on 12/12/2010 11:23am
God you guys, I can't believe you're still fighting about this. You wrote a great song together and it has CHANGED a lot of people's lives. You should be happy. Grow up Shelly, you're such a douche! Mr. Jones, I apologize for my sister's behavior. Sometimes, she has a hard time letting go. P.S. I love you. And that's not gay, I'm just a little bi-curious.
by Sorry, y'all... on 12/21/2010 11:42am
"trying to face the strange changes"
by Tom on 1/1/2011 12:10pm
Still don't know what I was painting for
But my crime was being wild
On pillion riding the streets

Just when I thought that I had got it made
I met that copper on his beat
Then he turned to me and chased me
As I rode past all the scummy pimps
A pregnant mother was in the bakers
When I crashed into the sunblest

ch ch ch ch changes
(Learn to race again)
ch ch changes
Don't wanna be a prisoner man
ch ch ch ch changes
(Learn to race again)
ch ch changes
by Old Guy on 1/1/2011 5:28pm
First, it's "Change", not trace. You can "trace" time. What you can't do is change it. We are all subject to the effects of time ("Time may change me"). You can't change time ("but I can't change time") because time will pass and work it's changes no matter what you do. And for god's sake, It's turn and face the "STRAIN". It's about the existential angst of being in transition. Both young and old must turn from the past and face the "strain" of the unknown future.
by strangestumbler on 1/16/2011 12:39am
This tmmd.
by Chick on 1/27/2011 5:16am
damn. one word change caused all this commotion? Get lives people. Its just a damn song. and one word.
by Bowie's Dog Walker on 1/30/2011 12:25am
I don't hear what you people are hearing. I SWEAR he's singing, "Churn and pace yer brains..."
by DUH! on 2/2/2011 2:57pm
It's strange. I'm listenin to the song right now =)
by M on 2/3/2011 2:40am
I've always thought it was strain because strain is similar to stress, and when you are stressed it's usually as a result of bottling things up, not confronting the thing that is causing you stress. Sometimes we even walk away and ignore these stresses, or even run away. But by turning to face them and confront them, we can change things. By turning to face the strain we can makes changes, and become less stressed. Also, when you think about it, music artists have to move with the times and come up with new material if they are going to keep themselves popular. The genius's like Bowie, and Neil Young continually reinvent themselves and experiment and create new works. But this having to reinvent yourself all the time I am sure could be a strain. There is pressure to write good songs, even though it may be what they were born to do and they love it, there is still pressure or a strain to meet the demand of their public. Anyway, that's my take on it.
by M on 2/3/2011 2:53am
...also, when you think about it, making a change can be a strain because some people can't face change. Change means "variation" or "alteration" which is what Bowie is singing about (if indeed he is singing about changing his musical or personal direction in life). It can be a strain to make such changes.
by Hunky Dory on 2/12/2011 4:54am
There should be no doubt about that it says "STRAIN", it says so in the Hunky Dory-booklet and it is to be found many places on the internet.
by Another Person on 2/16/2011 6:45pm
I had a great laugh reading all the posts
Awesome song!
by ah on 2/17/2011 6:39pm
I thought it was "turn and face the strength".. i guess i really got it wrong! lol
by Gratwickdog on 2/23/2011 8:38pm
It's 'strange' - each chorus starts with a sentence, then there's a 'beat' before going into a different verse I guess you'd call it. Listen closely to the band sing the chorus and you can hear them say 'strange' as Bowe starts right at the end with 'ch-ch...'.

(Turn and face the strange)
Don't tell t hem to grow up and out of it.
(Turn and face the strange)
Where's your shame?
You've left us up to our necks in it.
Time may change me,
But you can't trace time.
by Gratwickdog on 2/23/2011 8:49pm
This may be a better way to look at it - sing it with the punctuation and it's no doubt in my mind how it goes, but what the fuck do I know lol?

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange) Ch-ch-Changes, don't want to be a richer man.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange) Ch-ch-Changes, just gonna have to be a different man.

Time may change me, but I can't trace time.
by Tickle My Dickle on 2/23/2011 9:23pm
No, it is obviously "turn and face Mark Twain." Everybody knows that Mark Twain and David Bowie were very close and wrote several songs together. If you took the time to listen to the song you would realize this. I have read several biographies about Bowie and his relationship with Twain is referenced multiple times.
by jeppy on 3/3/2011 1:34am
time may change me but I cant CHANGE time
by Louisa Strain on 3/13/2011 3:53pm
It's Strain as he's singing it about me.
by blahblahblah on 3/13/2011 5:17pm
Good god! No, no, NO!

The title of the song is NOT "Changes" it's "Chains"...... "Turn and face the Chains"..... Duh! .........

It's about the chains of life that strain when we try to catch trains with no change in our pocket, which is strange.

Originally written by Mark Twain.

I think that sums it up.
by The voice of reason... on 3/15/2011 2:59pm
Wow! One hell of an argument going on here.

Bowie sings Strain or Strange, it's not 100% clear as the Ch-Ch overlaps.

Butterfly Boucher sung STRANGE on the cover for Shrek 2.

Lindsay Lohan sings Strain quite clearly (however the youtube vid with lyrics shows it as CHANGE).

Fact is, nobody knows. Sing whatever you want, you wont get caught out. It makes no difference really does it?
by Me on 3/30/2011 11:56pm
Everyone wish for the Goblin King to appear and we'll ask him for certain.
by David Bowie on 3/31/2011 11:14am
It's my song.... and its:
Turn and face the strange!
Time may change me, but i can't trace time!
by The consultant on 4/4/2011 9:11am
It's strain. But since strain is a response to stress, it really doesn't make sense. Turn and face the stress, I think, is what makes the most sense. Actually, I take that back, it would make just as much sense as saying "so I turn myself to face me" as it would to say "turn and ace the strain." Never know never know-
by sj vajayjay on 4/8/2011 8:33am
this has got to be the most random popular, longest running thread on this site. and we all have one thing in common, we like this song and cant understand some parts of it! and only people like us will discover and be surprisingly entertained by this thread. anyway, my version goes like,
ch ch changes, gotta face the strange chchchanges..
time may change me, but I cant change time. :))
by DrMorbius on 4/10/2011 11:20am
This is funny as hell; I come hear to double-check on some of the lyrics for this song, and discover a discussion thread that has been going on for very nearly 3 years!

That has got to be some kind of record; if Bowie has seen this lately he must take some pleasure in knowing that one of his songs is worth discussing for 3 years straight...

"We poets do crave our immortality, after all..."

Lt. Harry 'Breaker' Morant, 'Breaker Morant', 1980
by an armadillo on 4/15/2011 11:40am
I'm an armadillo
by Glenn on 4/19/2011 12:47am
How about just choosing whatever you prefer? I strain. Makes it a bit eastern philosophy-ish.
by Glenn on 4/19/2011 12:48am
How about just choosing whatever you prefer? I prefer strain. Makes it a bit eastern philosophy-ish.
by gorce on 4/22/2011 12:19am
I'm leaving this site more confused than ever. agggghhh
by Sephiroth on 4/26/2011 8:37pm
listen to it on youtube. then listen to it really slowly. u will probably notice a change if u listen to it really slowly.
by Sephiroth on 4/26/2011 8:41pm
it's strain. it only sounds like "strange" because of how quickly they say face the strain then ch-ch-ch-changes. idiots.
by Sephiroth on 4/26/2011 8:42pm
it's strain. it only sounds like "strange" because of how quickly they say face the strain then ch-ch-ch-changes. idiots. just accept it.
by Sephiroth on 4/26/2011 8:43pm
also it relates to problems we had in the past and they were still having at the time that it came out.
by Poop on 5/3/2011 2:15am
It's not the "G" you hear after strain. Your hearing th "CH" in changes. It's STRAIN because the literal meaning of the song is about a changing river, the sybolic/metaphoric is comparing where a river use to be to the changes of life as we get older. No joke Bowie says this in an interview with, unless he doesn't know about the songs he wrote?
by anon on 5/3/2011 4:00pm
it's strange
by Me Too on 5/13/2011 10:31pm
I always thought it was "Damn...yo face is it."
by Rick. on 5/16/2011 5:20pm
Listen to the Live Album David Bowie Live in Santa Monica '72. You will clearly hear STRAIN.
by Jay d on 5/23/2011 3:47pm
It can be strange to go through changes, as well as as a strain. Take from that what you will.
by Jay d on 5/23/2011 3:48pm
It can be strange to go through changes, as well as a strain. Take from that what you will.
by dont know on 6/12/2011 8:10am
i reckon its the 'tsch' from the drummer that makes it sound like 'strange'..listen to it to see what i mean..the beat lands on the end of 'strain'
by Janet on 6/22/2011 2:15pm
Wow. How amazing is it that this argument has lasted over three years?
by muneer on 6/29/2011 6:03am
change singer face
by Jim Bowie on 7/17/2011 1:21am
My perception is 'Turn and face the AIDS." Especially all the young dudes. It's common sense.
by Jose Stefan on 7/18/2011 4:18pm
it clearly sounds "strain", followed by ch-ch-changes. that make it sound like strange
by Dylan on 7/20/2011 1:50am
You guys are stupid! You can clearly hear him singing "turn and face the ELEPHANT" not "strain", "strange", "Mark Twain", "stranger", or any of that crap!
by Upton on 7/20/2011 1:33pm
"Turn your face deranged" !
by john pillock on 7/24/2011 4:58pm
I always sung it as "strain", but when I NOW listen carefully, he sings "strain" AND THEN puts a "G" carefully and masterfully in there. Lovely play on words :)
by wally on 8/3/2011 9:07am
I was 13 years old when I bought Hunky Dory two days after it was released, yes aren't I old?. I still have the original vinyl album and play it a few times a year because it sounds as fresh today as it did when I was blown away by it back then. The lyric was strain then and it's still strain now. Bowie was such a good singer that the vocal tracks on that album were all done in one or two takes - one of the reasons it sounds so dynamic. Ken Scott's production was awesome.
by wally on 8/3/2011 11:08am
But, that said, It's the wonderful chord progressions and piano chops that make the song and the album. Rick Wakeman played the Bowie-created piano parts to perfection.
by Cavanaugh on 8/3/2011 12:59pm
Interesting that printed "lyrics" are used to interpret the singer's words in a song. Printed lyric sheets are not always accurate. For example: on the Rolling Stones "Goat's Head Soup" cd, the printed lyrics use the word "starbucker." But the singer (Mick) clearly sings it with an "f" letter (replacing the "b") which shows that printed lyrics are not always trustworthy. Carry on!
by wally on 8/4/2011 1:35am
Absolutely agree Cavanaugh. There are many examples of this. Talking Heads were a great example of it, David Byrne messed with his own lyrics so many times - I couldn't begin to list them here.
by wally's mate on 8/4/2011 1:27pm
This is all very interesting but irrelavent, here's why... On both the lyric sheet provided with the original vynil album and the lyric insert provided with the later CD, the "Turn and face the...." phrase is not written. In both instances it reads..
Ch ch ch ch changes
Ch ch changes
The discussed phrase is not even included in the print. This is fact and is non - arguable.
Later bootlegs and copies may have included it and, of course, it's all over the internet in various forms. By the way, there is no "Live in Santa Monica" album "from '72". This is Rick's idea of irony. He's right about strain though.
by wally on 8/5/2011 1:47am
No no no! You're wrong mate, the Santa Monica album was a bootleg and wasn't legally available 'til 1994. I bought an illegal bootleg of it at Knebworth festival in 1978 and some fucker swiped it later that day! Not only that, the headline act - Genesis - were shite and so were Devo. Tom Petty was great though. Anyway, back to the subject in hand....Rick is right - they sang "strain" ( of course ).
by icky thump on 8/5/2011 7:43pm
This whole thread is amusing as hell lmao. Music is interpretive.

Anyhow, the lyrics are:
'shred and taste the brain'
since we all know the entire song is about zombies. Changes as in turning into one. D'oh.

I like strawberries.
by wally on 8/8/2011 3:50pm
I'm wondering if that twat who stole my Bowie album is still alive or died of some very slow, excruciatingly painful, wasting disease. One can only live in hope.......
by ICURTARTED on 8/10/2011 8:52pm
i definatly think that its, "burn and face the pain." its obvious. God, you guys are all retarded idiots.... I have heard this song like a whole 3 times! I would fricking know! And if its not, "burn and face the pain", then i totally agree with icky thump on this, he know what the heck hes talking about!!! NICE!
by chris on 8/15/2011 8:02pm
you guys are all retarded. he clears say, "learn to rape the crane"
by Magdelene Bowie Kaulitz on 8/17/2011 6:20pm
I'm pretty sure it's turn and face the strange. Because he's calling said changes strange.
by deliciousfishes on 8/28/2011 7:38am
I turned it up really loud and put my ear up to the speaker and now i am deaf so it doesn't matter if it is strain or strange because i can't hear. I am considering litigation against Bowie.
by wally on 9/1/2011 9:56am
Yes, it's official, I am retarded. I have a rare condition related to Autism, which means I have the mathematic capability of a 4 year old and am useless in the company of other human beings. There is, however, one beneficial side-effect, which is an encylopedic knowledge of music. I remember, note perfect, every song I've ever heard in my entire life, and lyric-perfect too. On hearing a song I can work it out, usually, on my guitar and play and sing it within 4 minutes. Then i remember it forever. I know seven versions of Bowie's 'Changes' and they all go 'turn and face the strain'.
by wally's mate on 9/1/2011 10:27am
I turned it up really loud, played it backwards and put my ear to the speaker. It just played backwards, that's all.
by gfunk on 9/3/2011 10:14am
[warm 'impermanence'] leads me to relate 'strain' to suffering and understanding it. The ripples change yet cannot escape the stream. Impermanence is a river that runs through life not a rock that stands in the way. [Strange fascination] also leads to 'strain' as David is a wordsmith & it would be overly repetitive in chorus and profound line. Strain indicates effort which is necessary when seeking change. Lastly, 'strange' is just too easy.
by jenna_dawg_bowie_luva_101 on 9/8/2011 12:04am
*~*~*~ omg guyz its obz train, lyk he is guna cach de train he is american so he cachz the subawai all the tyme hehe u r rong ~*~*~*
by wally's mate on 9/9/2011 9:20am
David Jones, American? I think not young lady. He's a cockney and proud of it. ....niartS, sorry, still listening to it backwards.
by Ro on 9/15/2011 1:06pm
wow this has been priceless lmfao love it keep up the great debate lol
by David Bowie on 9/19/2011 7:39pm
The correct answer is "Yearn to make the stain"
by Kittysafe on 9/20/2011 12:20pm
Growing up I always thought it was 'Turn and face the strange changes"
by Tre' on 9/20/2011 11:17pm
David never sang "turn and face the ______ Ch Ch changes" all at the same time.

It's multi tracked and the track with "Turn and face the strange" was sung at a different time and on a different track than "ch ch changes" and "ch ch changes" overlaps "strange".

So the argument that "it sounds like strange because the next word is "ch" does not hold water because it's not the next word. It's happens at the same time.

My advice is to get a good stereo and listen again.

Tre', Professional recording engineer.
by Joe S on 9/21/2011 12:10am
Its turn and face the Drain like right after you use the can you turn and face the drain
by wally on 9/22/2011 4:17am
absolutely correct Tre', the lyrics do overlap because they were multi - tracked. "turn and face the strain...""ch ch changes..." in fact!
most people wouldn't have heard a hi - fidelity recording of the song, only mp3 or some other compressed format. a trained purist with superb equipment ( such as myself ) can distinctly hear each lyric part, despite the overlap. i would suggest the same as you did, get some serious hi-fi equipment, but not everyone has a few grand to spare.
by Captain Hawke on 9/28/2011 11:50pm
I've known bits and pieces of this song from before I can remember but it wasn't until recently that I found this again. Love it. Thanks for posting.
by Bundis on 10/4/2011 9:27pm
I just wanted to get in on this post. Go Tigers!
by Major Tom on 10/5/2011 1:04pm
Hey, major tom reporting in.

Just wanted to say im very amused by this conversation, could only get half way before feeling the need to post.

Contrary to popular belief, he actually said nothing, your all just subconsciously placing the words you want in that empty slot between face the and Ch Ch Changes.
by Chris on 10/6/2011 2:03pm
The song is about changes people...

"Turn and face the strange changes!"

End of story...
by wally's mate's mate on 10/11/2011 8:36am
Now don't be silly, Chris. You know it's not as simple as that. Get rid of that crappy mp3 player and listen to it properly. You'll find that it's 'strain'. The track I find this most clearly on is the live version on 'David Live' where the backing part is only sung by the backing singers. This makes it easy because Bowie only sings 'ch ch changes'. It's an excellent album, by the way, recorded live at The Tower, Philadelphia in about 1975.
by Now I get it! on 10/13/2011 10:31pm
I'd never heard of the Lennon connection, but now it all makes sense. Sometimes it clearly sounds like "strain" and other times it clearly sounds like "strange." But if you play them backwards, all the versions say the same thing: "Paul is dead."
by one legged gold-digging geordie on 10/17/2011 4:10am
way-aye man, ya divvant na what ya takkin aboot! if paul was dead i wouldnt've been able to rip him off for millions of poonds!
by aldo on 10/18/2011 6:18pm is my birthday ch ch changes!!!...ooops,I don't remember if the original version is with strain or strange and 3 or 5 ch ch ch?!?anyone?
by wally on 10/19/2011 4:16am
happy birthday! All versions by Bowie are with strain. there are 4 ch's before changes in the first part, and 2 ch's in the second part, of every chorus...
by TimFromHove, Actually on 10/20/2011 4:09pm
Never mind the strain/strange debate, why has no one commented on the incorrect "Strange fascination, fascinating me". It's "Strange fascination, fascinate me". So there!

Of course it's "strange" not "strain". The "'tsch' from the drummer makes it sound like 'strange'", my @rse.
by the12stringslinger on 10/22/2011 12:29am
This song isnt a beatles rip off. The reason it sounds like the beatles is because John Lennon was originally the back up singer on this song. David Bowie had many different people play with him through out time. He does under pressure with queen as well. It's a good song. not a rip off people
by wally on 10/27/2011 3:42pm
Actually Bowie, Ronson and a few others who contributed to the music on the album did all the vocals. Lennon was nowhere to be seen. It sounds fuck-all like the Beatles. It's strain.
by wally's mate on 10/27/2011 3:52pm
In 1971, when Bowie was writing and recording this song at Trident studios, Lennon was writing and recording the 'Imagine' album. A million miles away, wouldn't you agree?
by Bernarduus on 11/16/2011 2:17pm
It doesn't sound like the Beatles, but it has Lennon's confidence, a huge Beatles influence, some songs just come out like that.
by BIG DOC on 11/23/2011 9:32pm
It's turn and face the "strange", as in strange poon. Strange is always the best.
by Bowie's Lover on 12/4/2011 10:08am
after reading this debate the following night I had a dream and Bowie came to me and told me its "Strange people who will never know what I'm singing" we just dont hear the rest of the line as he put the next chorus line over it trying to be all arty farty and he sung it so high that only dogs can hear it, maybe we need to ask a dog
by wally's mate on 12/6/2011 8:51am
i just asked my dog, Zowie, and he said "don't fuckin' ask me, i'm just a dog er... woof"
by Weird Al on 12/9/2011 8:06am
Learn to take the train . . . .
Yearn to clean the drain . . .
Burn your face with flames . . . .
Ferns can harm your brain . . . .

. . . . Watch the river change in size but never leave the stream of one permananet size . . . .

. . . . Crime may change me, but I can't face time
by codfish on 12/13/2011 12:57am
by The Dean on 1/1/2012 8:55am
It says strain on the album liner where the lyrics appear
by Shinola For Brains on 1/7/2012 2:08am
It says "Turn right down the Drain".
by hidee hidde hiddee ho on 1/8/2012 9:58am
this thread is very funny.




strange fascination.

stained fascination.


bowie is 65 today.

happiest of birthday greetings. warmest wishes for your future, and thanks for the tunes.
by wally on 1/13/2012 4:05am
indeed, ditto.
by maddison alexandra marie on 1/29/2012 12:37am
Hi, I like the song of time to change
when ever I wacth the BRADY BUNCH
and when they sang time to change I would always sing to it.
by stacy on 2/1/2012 6:53pm
new music just doesn't get as good as this
by Trishaws on 2/7/2012 6:03pm
Hahaha!! This is hilarious! Well done everybody! Sometimes I say strain and sometimes strange.. ;)
by The Thin White Duke on 2/10/2012 5:14pm
@those you think the word is "strange".....You probably also think CCR is singing "There's a bathroom on the right" :|
by dylan on 2/22/2012 5:48pm
bowie used to cut phrases and words from random newspapers and magazines, throw them up in the air and then sit and arrange them into lyrics .. it could be strange but its not
by harri on 2/24/2012 5:01am
I just read all of this and guys im sorry to cut in but its turn and face the strange. I used to always sing it as strain but after reading his bandmates mag comment about how he sang it wrong and how Dave then Dave had his joke with them from then on me and my sister who has completed at the highest level her university course on music technology we took the song appear so u could hear all the different vocals and it is 100% clear he says strange... try it yourself <3
by harri on 2/24/2012 5:17am
Ps. Ta guys for ruining the song foreveryone ;)
by Wierd and gilly on 3/6/2012 10:46pm
We always did the backing vocal the way ol ziggy said. ya know, strange. Strain i guess would be more poetic and all that rubbish. Americans are quite naive to manipulation, a bloody four years for a word no less
by bb and jay on 3/8/2012 10:14pm
awesome song
by Chris on 3/12/2012 7:10am
Agreed from above. The reason it comes across as "strange" vs "strain", is because of the "ch" sound in the following ch-ch-ch-changes. The lyric strain is correct.
by be mein on 3/16/2012 2:30am
My brain is strained.
by David Himself on 3/20/2012 2:38am
Quite a few of you suffer from Chronic Lyricosis.
by A. Star BowieFreak from the 70s on 3/28/2012 3:51pm
Sophia Loren told Bono that E.C loves Robert Johnson, but THANK YOU Warren Peace who should have just sang STRANGE, but happily didn't, else there'd be nothing more entertaining than LMFAO to argue on about. We believe in you...Soon you'll grow...Isn't it And these children that you shit on...Not the censored spit on...BOWIE SHOULD READ THIS-Whatta great conversation! hallo db
by Bob Montgomery on 3/29/2012 1:52pm
I always thought it was "Time may change me, but I can't CHANGE time"
by Ace on 4/27/2012 9:51pm
Hey all,
Many good alternatives indeed, but what he really sings is "Turningface- this train changes" and it is about the train being re-assigned a new locomotive after reaching the Turningface station. Duh.
by max on 5/7/2012 11:59am
you guys should listen to the people who know what their talking about, for instance, i see davids brother has commented, im pretty sure he knows what hes talking about.
by 'a puzzled man' on 5/7/2012 3:58pm
harri, they haven't ruined the song, you and your sister have. you're only jealous because you didn't do the degree. bowiefreak, yeah, on the 'David Live' album he sang 'shit on' not 'spit on'. chris, you are absolutely correct, it's strain. there.
by David's Brain on 5/9/2012 4:43am
David's brother!! Well, I am David's left hemisphere. So I REALLY know what I'm on about.
It's definitely "burn and scrape the stain".

He's talking about the difficulty of shifting stubborn food residue from cooking pans.
by wally on 5/9/2012 4:00pm
Mmmm, that sounds more like after a night out in Bradford, followed by a Vindaloo....
by Bbe on 5/14/2012 10:06pm
It is strange not strain, strange rhymes with change. This makes the most sense from a musical aspect.
by willy on 5/16/2012 6:05pm
The song is about not being able to see yourself as others see you. "I" can never see "I". Plus it's about being young and affirming being young. Praise the Lord, Bowie still helps keep us young, with this song. Oh and of course it's "face the strain" - kind of like "take the strain". What would "face the strange" mean, unless you were off your face on unknown drugs?
by diamond dave on 5/20/2012 7:07am
Stop trying to explain song lyrics, guys. Great songs have different meanings to different people.
by The Only Sane Person on 5/29/2012 10:49am
LOL! This argument started more than FOUR YEARS AGO! Oh and just for the record, I am entirely sure that the lyrics are meant to be saying STRANGER, because I listened to this song many times on my iPod and the backing singers always dragged it on to say STRANGER even though Bowie did not.
by Sigh on 5/30/2012 3:53pm
Forgetting the entire argument that I had to scroll through, this song is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by Drago on 5/31/2012 9:02pm
So what's the consensus - is it " turn and face the strain" or "strange" or "stain" or "stranger"? I swear i hear Ziggy pronounce clearly "churnin' space refrain, Ga ga ga gauges".
by GD on 6/7/2012 6:08am
Chris was the only person that is correct here. The line is "Turn and face the strange changes." There is no At all in the line. Don't trust what you think you hear on an mp3 because at best you're only getting 20 percent of the information of a cd let alone vinyl, and unless you have a really high end turntable you're only getting a fraction of the information off the Lp. I do admire you all for keeping this going for over 3 years.
by Eiwob on 6/12/2012 4:18pm
It's potato. It clearly says potato. Now stop.
by Sceptic on 6/13/2012 12:02am
GD: 20%? Really? That's amazing. I know MP3 is a lossy compression algorithm, but I didn't know that even at its best, only 20% of the information from the original is encoded.

Is that figure unaffected by the bit rate, the choice of encoder, and the complexity of the incoming signal?
by meow on 6/13/2012 12:19am
I eat vinyl for breakfast and it taste like strange to me
by Sarah on 6/17/2012 12:30am
When I'm married to Bowie, I'll ask him and let you all know whether it's 'Strain' or 'Strange' or 'Potato', or whatever. Until then, just chill. :)
by Terry on 6/20/2012 6:29am
Actually it's
"Turn turn from Hope and Change,
(Ch-Ch-Change him)
He's got us up to our necks in shit

Clearly he's singing about Obama. There...that'll keep this thread going for a few more months.
by Wayne on 7/1/2012 4:35pm
Love the length of time this goes on. I know it is ground control to major tim . If that helps
by Menon on 7/17/2012 3:34pm
Listen properly and you will find that it is indeed: Turn and face the hobbit
by LMAO on 7/18/2012 11:41am
ha ha ha - this has been going on for 4 years!
The lyric is "hang your head in shame" because Bowie knew that decades later, lame-o's would be arguing over it instead of doing something worthwhile like just enjoying it.
by Beth on 7/28/2012 8:33am
I woke up obscenely early today and spent half an hour reading a four-year-long (so far) debate on the lyrics of Changes. Thank you all. For my part, I've always thought it was "turn and face the strange," but I'm no longer certain.
by CEA on 8/5/2012 1:08pm
Like Beth I had a good laugh reading this entire sordid history. I never considered that he was singing anything but "strain" but I always took that as meaning music, as in "face the music", as in "you're changing, you're getting older, deal with it." After this discussion I'm pretty convinced it's "strange."
by Capo 2nd fret on 8/7/2012 6:09pm
Its turn and face the stranger I have the fucking songbook faggots
by Anal on 8/28/2012 7:03am
Fuck off it's turn and face the Cane
by Joyce on 8/31/2012 7:03pm
I have the cd and on the lyrics with the cd says

(Turn and face the strange)
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the strange)
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Thats just one of the verses from the cd Hope this helps :)
by T Mosh on 9/1/2012 2:13pm
Can't someone just phone his agent and get them to ask him? If you can't be arsed doing this, just know.. it's definitely STRAIN!!
by paddy sullivan on 9/9/2012 3:22pm
don't call his agent Mosh. He is sleeping. Bowie as well. Men that age like a kip. Even if you asked them they would not remember.
Poetry gets it's own intrepretation according to the design of each time.
The poet himself changes the rhyme if given a sign.
by jj on 9/12/2012 7:49pm
I have three ORIGINAL albums, youngsters...and it's what he, (Bowie), initially penned: straing
by tophernator on 9/24/2012 5:10pm
To settle this once and for all I was there when Bowie wrote this!
The song wasn't originally called "Changes", it was "Chain-Jizz". The song is actually about David's love of auto-erotic strangulation using a dog's choke chain.

So yes, the line is turn and face the strain (the strain on his windpipe).

You're welcome.
by BloughMee on 9/26/2012 10:50am
I toured with Bowie as a roadie in the 80s. It's STRAIN. I have a hand-written cheat-sheet on eBay to prove it. It's facing the "strain" of life - the changes in life, blah blah blah... .STRAIN. Not "Strange" not "Stranger". Also it's "Time may change me... but I can't CHANGE TIME" The title is "Changes" -it's about changes. You can't change history... the passage of time.. etc. GET IT? Where "Trace Time" came from I have no idea but it is WRONG WRONG WRONG.
by jimmy on 10/4/2012 6:53am
its strain because it makes more sense
by The laughing gnome on 10/13/2012 12:31am
Ha ha ha he he he
by Hey! on 10/14/2012 12:32pm
Dumb cunts. The word is STRANGE. Because that's what things become if you make a change. Suck it!
by jonnywonnyworker on 10/21/2012 3:17am
It's both I reckon. I'm definitely in the strange gang. Strange and change rhyme ffs
by mtlhd1955 on 11/29/2012 1:18pm
The lyrics ARE:"TURN AND FACE THE STRANGE." Here's a little history about the song: The lyrics focused on the compulsive nature of artistic reinvention ("Strange fascination, fascinating me / Changes are taking the pace I'm going through") and distancing oneself from the rock mainstream ("Look out, you rock 'n' rollers").
by VENEZUELAN ELDER on 12/10/2012 12:35am
ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Chevron,
(Turn and face the strain)
Don't want to be a richer man
by CeeCee on 12/19/2012 7:09pm
Oh my....this is truly unbelievable !
by Hey hater on 1/1/2013 7:14pm
Hey! Mr Hey. You only go to prove that you are the ladies genitalia with lesser intelligence by your use of unneccessary profanity. We could all call each other childish, naughty school-boy, names but choose not to. Either way the lyric was 'strain' when it was written and is still 'strain' to this day. BloughMee is 100% accurate, I was there on a tour with him in the 80's. If I revealed my real name, he would remember me and the fun we had. Unless all that coke has taken it's toll, of course.
by Running Tree on 1/3/2013 10:23pm
Who cares whether it's "strain" or "strange". Can't we all just agree that this is a spectacular song without calling each other terrible names and insulting each other? It's very sad to think that we can all be torn apart by something like this.
by any road-up on 1/8/2013 11:25pm
we do. these things have to be correct. i doubt if people will be debating the lyrics of bowie's latest offering, the first for a decade,called 'where are we now' in 40 years' time. as good as it is, it will never be the classic "spectacular" song that 'changes' is.
by bowie12 on 1/9/2013 12:02am
how the feck can you mistake.. strange for strain. turn and face the strange.. it is.. not effin strain.
by S Key Mo on 1/10/2013 7:27am
It's STRANGE. Evidence: 1) You can hear the "ge" sound (barely), but it is there, and it is distinct from the "ch" initial sound of the following word. 2) The quote from bandmate above where Bowie himself (supposedly) says it is indeed "strange" not "strain" 3) Bowie uses the word "strange" later in the song and 4) "strange" goes with the following lyric "changes" as in "strange changes"; strange also makes sense on its own, which I am sure Bowie was aware of. Artists like to play with words, you see.
by ImAlwaysRight on 1/13/2013 12:59am
It's strange. my mommy told me so. She is smart so shut up and listen!!!
by Huh? on 1/13/2013 1:10am
Huh? Oh it's strange so listen for gosh sake yo! :0 peace out
by Mmmmusic on 1/13/2013 9:51pm
Wow- I've always thought this song was by the Beatles!! Shows how much I know... :D
This is a great song, a favorite. But I didn't expect David Bowie.... Hm. Well, nice job, Mr. Bowie!
by Silent River on 1/14/2013 5:08am
Running Tree's got the right idea. This argument has been going on for pushing five years. Can't you people just get a life? Or is that too big of a CHANGE for you?
by lili on 1/20/2013 4:51pm
I love et
by Man on 1/21/2013 2:35pm
I got it!! Its "churn and chase the change"!
by db on 1/24/2013 1:38am
Where are we now? Five years, what a surprise...
by bilbo on 1/28/2013 5:44am
it sounds nothing like the beatles
by amanda on 1/31/2013 3:42am
by The "Flour" Child on 2/3/2013 4:17pm
And sun rhymes with fun, but that doesn't make it "Here comes the sun and I say it's all fun."
by STRANGE on 2/12/2013 2:24pm
Of course it's STRANGE, there can be no peace until everyone sees this fundamental truth!
by 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky on 2/15/2013 3:40am
I have a solution to this problem! Those of you who are displeased with the lyric being "Turn and face the strain," just go to a different site. About half of them say "strange" instead!
by filtered on 2/22/2013 3:52am
"Looks like Naruto is going through some... ch-ch-ch-CHANGES!!"
by Marie on 2/27/2013 1:30am
I actually watched a David Bowie performance, read their lips, and yes. They are saying "strain"
by Strange is Strainful... (Sigh) on 3/5/2013 12:40pm
Maybe he said strain in one line and strange in another. Maybe he did it knowing full well that we would be having this gigantic argument years from when he wrote the song... Maybe he did it just to make us all argue! But on the up side... Everyone would be right! :)
by Ann on 3/7/2013 4:58pm
He says turn and face the DUCK.
by Ann on 3/7/2013 4:59pm
Ok I made that up
by hi fi on 3/19/2013 1:27pm
get a real hi fi and listen to it properly in it's original vinyl glory, or on the digitally remastered CD. not some downloaded, compressed mp3. you will hear,assuming your ears are good enough, that it is - quite clearly- strain. it's 'squishy', compressed mp3's and bad stereo that makes you, mistakenly, hear strange gel into ch ch changes. quality equipment will make it obvious to you.
by Boo on 3/23/2013 10:08pm
What I want to know is can ANYBODY figure out what Elton John's lyrics are in ANY of his songs??!!! :-)
by Angie on 3/25/2013 6:12am
You guys have made me smile BIG TIME!!! Cant believe that this debate has been going on since 2008. Would like to know what other sites you have made comments on (reading your comments is better than reading a book)
by Mr. Nipples on 3/28/2013 11:21pm
I would just like to point out, in reply to posts made four years ago, that if you are facing the strange, you are also facing the nipples.
by Heardmentality on 6/14/2013 7:21pm
It is clearly strain/g in the song.
Don't be fooled bye your brain mixing up the lyrics. It is sung stain and also strange in repetition so clearly I can hear it then I can't.
No serious listening wil help.....
by zeeearrrk on 7/4/2013 6:36am
I'm f****** foreigner and hear things that your dumb ears cannot hear. It's clearly "face the strange".
Use cotton buds, guys.
by Tony on 7/11/2013 6:53pm
Time may change me, but I can't race time. In other words, I can't get ahead of my own timeline to alter it. Just another interesting play with word connections?
by Ainsly Harriot on 7/16/2013 2:54am
Guys, it is Strangle NOT strange or strain. Idiots.
by strain on 7/22/2013 1:36pm
by Skooker on 8/21/2013 6:55pm
Always liked the song but never understood the meaning of "I can't trace time"? Does he mean like trace it with a pencil...or trace it's origin? It doesn't make much sense as far as the theme "changes" is concerned!
by Duffy on 8/25/2013 7:30pm
It was written like this: Turn and face the stranger, I don't want to be a richer man, turn and face the stranger, just going to have to be a different man, time may change me but I can't trace time.

David it writing about the changes time makes in a persons life and saying not to run from those changes or be afraid of them, but face them down. Time and change are inevitable, even our very selves are being changed with time.

The reason it sounds like strain is because David it cutting the word off singing Ch ch ch changes. But the word is stranger not strain. Turn and face the stranger, that is your changed self.
by Duffy on 8/25/2013 7:47pm
"Always liked the song but never understood the meaning of "I can't trace time"? Does he mean like trace it with a pencil...or trace it's origin? It doesn't make much sense as far as the theme "changes" is concerned!"

How about this? Instead of trace he is singing change. Time may change me, but I can't change time. Make more sense that way?
by Duffy on 8/26/2013 5:37am
Okay, I am up early with a clear head, a warm cup of tea, and rested ears. I've ch ch ch changed my mind on this and now understand they're singing "turn and face the strange changes".

But as far as can't "trace time" I am unmoved. The word is change not trace. The reason it sounds like trace in the first chorus is because David was getting ahead of himself a little bit as he was singing and sort of mixed the words change and time, hence it came out trace. But in the last part of the song when he repeats those words it clearly says change.
by Duffy on 8/26/2013 4:07pm
One more thing and I am done, unless of course someone dares to challenge my humble opinion on any of this :)

It is not the Beatles that have influenced David in this song, it is Bob Dylan. The Beatles never sang anything like this, nor did their singing sound like this. But I do get a clear Dylan vibe.
by Mark on 8/30/2013 1:19am
To me, it sort of sounds like "chase" time, which doesn't make any more sense but whatever.
by Rainman on 10/18/2013 7:10pm
It's clearly face the rain, because the weather is always ch-ch-ch-changin'...
by Dis guy on 11/7/2013 1:56am
Its strain this song is talking about facing change and the struggle you have to go through "face the strain"
by KIM MASAS on 2/13/2014 1:20pm
by 123 on 2/17/2014 4:57am
Its stange!
by The Authoritah on 5/3/2014 9:32am
This is [name redacted], the son of Bowie's producer, and after [redacted by government] in the [redacted for national security], dad [redacted by Bowie's family] with Bowie himself! Why, dad himself even told me all about the writing process, and how he rhymed all the lyrics with the Chorus of "Changes". So it is turn and face the strange, ch ch ch changes yeah! And also 'Time may change me, but I can't change time.' I remember that one specifically, cause when I was little Mr. Bowie used to come visit our family every so often to [redacted by Bowie family] with my dad (unconfirmed), and sometimes they had a great time going off to [redacted by US NSA, CIA, the UN, UK's parliament, etc.,]! Hahaha, I almost got a hernia laughing when they came back from [redacted] and told me their story. Well, anyway, hope that clears up the argument!
by a person's name on 11/13/2014 12:34pm
i just called david bowie himself and he said it's actually STRAIT. IT'S STRAIT, PEOPLE!
by Ministek77 on 1/5/2015 5:07am
Why so black and white? It's both. 'Strain' changing into 'Strange'. A clever linguistic trick!
by Spinner Elliot on 1/27/2015 11:19pm
Stranger. It's stranger.
by I KNOW YA KNOW on 5/26/2015 9:14am
by John on 6/7/2015 11:07am
Let's face it, the lyrics aren't exactly clear, in meaning OR in pronunciation. I always thought that the one line was, "So I turned myself to face masks" (?????) :P
by Octavius on 7/20/2015 2:47pm
Awesome song :)
by Hood on 1/11/2016 4:40am
Wally's mate is right from 8/4/2011. The "strain" line is missing entirely from the Changes lyrics on the "SIDE ONE" face of the Hunky Dory Album cover. However, on the official David Bowie website "Turn and face the strain" appears after the first occurence of "Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes" but not the other two.
by RIP BOWIE on 1/11/2016 6:03am

(For the record it's "strange" :-p)
by It's all about the base on 1/24/2016 3:32am
It doesn't matter what it Bowie intended it to be. It's what the backing singers think it is. If Bowie performed Changes with different backing singers over the years, then it's what they're singing. As such it all depends on who the backing singers were on the version you're listening to. Bowie may well have corrected one lot but that's no guarantee he managed to every time. He may not even have been in studio when they sang their layer. You could all be right and wrong. Personally I like 'Stranger' as in 'turn and face the strange' cut in by the backing as 'ger, ch, changes' but then I didn't write it so choose your own. I like 'train' for it's bizarre-ness even though it so clearly not.
by It's all about the base on 1/24/2016 3:32am
It doesn't matter what Bowie intended it to be. It's what the backing singers think it is. If Bowie performed Changes with different backing singers over the years, then it's what they're singing. As such it all depends on who the backing singers were on the version you're listening to. Bowie may well have corrected one lot but that's no guarantee he managed to every time. He may not even have been in studio when they sang their layer. You could all be right and wrong. Personally I like 'Stranger' as in 'turn and face the strange' cut in by the backing as 'ger, ch, changes' but then I didn't write it so choose your own. I like 'train' for it's bizarre-ness even though it so clearly not.
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by Kirk on 1/23/2018 1:58pm
Captain kirk again, with quick follow up on impermanence. - It is one of the essential doctrines, and part of three marks of existance in Buddhism. The doctorine asserts that all of conditioned existance, without exception is " transient, evanescent, and inconstant".
( ya, it Changes ! )
.. As "strange" as that may sound to some, lol

Gotta run... Hope that helps !
.. Have a great day to all, and may you live long, & prosper.
... Kirk out.
( now beam me up scotty... seriously, got a gig to get to... Warp factor what ever you can muster, mister. )
by ralph boobo on 2/5/2022 8:04pm
tuuuuuuuurn and face the strange


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