The penultimate episode of the entire Billions series aired today and, as usual, featured a couple of stellar songs on its soundtrack (God, I will miss that soundtrack when the Showtime drama ends for good next week) — Billions, Season 7, Episode 11, “Axe Global“.
One of those songs was David Bowie’s ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in The City‘, which was played right at the beginning of the episode as we see Bobby driving to work and in a good mood.
The track ends along with Bobby’s good mood, as he arrives at his office to find Mike standing there waiting for him.
The David Bowie’s ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in The City‘ history
The song was recorded by the iconic British singer songwriter way back in 1973, while he was recording his eighth studio album Diamond Dogs, but it was not released until 16 years later when Bowie finally released the track on his Sound + Vision box set.
As you might be able to hear in the song’s music and lyrics, however, the song is not a Bowie-written song or a Bowie-released original.
Instead, it was written by the equally iconic Bruce Springsteen and released on his debut studio album Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, which came out in late 1972 (can’t you hear that easily identifiable Springsteen sound, even in the Bowie version?)
Interestingly, Springsteen once showed up at a recording session of the song Bowie was in the midst of in Philadelphia in 1974 but, because Bowie was also in the midst of a serious cocaine addiction at the time, he wasn’t able to connect to Springsteen very well.
In later interviews, he commented that he never played ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City‘ for Springsteen either as, no matter how he tried, he never felt as thought his version lived up to the original.
I don’t know about that as, sure, the song isn’t Springsteen but it is still a hella good version.
Listen to David Bowie’s ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in The City‘ as heard on Billions in the video below to see what you think.
Sorry, it isn’t available on Spotify as Bowie’s Sound + Vision extended box set has been removed from the streaming platform.
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