Win
By: David Bowie

Original Performance: David Bowie
Written by: David Bowie

Versions:
  1. Win
 
Lyrics:
Win [Version (a)]:

(From November 26, 2000 version)

Me, I hope that I'm crazy
I feel you driving and you're only the wheel
Slow down, let someone love you
I've never touched you 'til I started to feel
If there's nothing to hide me
Then you've never seen me naked and wired
Ah somebody lied and I think it's hip to be alive

Now your smile is wearing thin
Seems you're trying not to lose
Since I'm not supposed to grin
All you've got to do is win

Me, I'm fresh on your pages
A secret thinker sometimes listening aloud
Life lies dumb on its heroes
Wear your wound with honor
Make someone proud
Someone like you should not be allowed
To start any fires

Now your smile is wearing thin
Seems you're trying not to lose
Since I'm not supposed to grin
All you've got to do is win

Now your smile is wearing thin
Seems you're trying not to lose
Since I'm not supposed to grin
All you've got to do is win
 
The Song:

"Win" is a David Bowie song from his soul record, Young Americans. Beck has also covered "Fame" from the album (and "Across The Universe"), and I'm sure Young Americans was an influence on the soul/rock side of Midnite Vultures.

Some websites claim that "Debra" has an uncredited sample/interpolation from Bowie's "Win." I'm not entirely convinced of that, though it's close and there is definitely some similarities. Perhaps that is why Beck added "Win" to his repertoire?

Anyway, Beck has performed "Win" on three occasions, each time done solo, on acoustic guitar. Stripping it down from the horn-infused soul song of Bowie's original, turning it into a folk song, is pretty great, and shows Beck's skills as a performer and interpreter.
 
Live:

Played live 3 times:
Earliest known live version: November 26, 2000
Latest known live version: August 17, 2002

Beck has played "Win" three times: once a year, from 2000 until 2002. Each version was done on acoustic guitar, in a folky arrangement.

Beck debut performance of the song was a beautifully sung highlight of the Petra Haden Benefit Concert on November 26 2000. Beck did a great job converting Bowie's song, and seemed quite familiar with the lyrics of the original (he only flubbed one line!). Interestingly, the Benefit was sponsored by Petra's record label, Win Records. Coincidence?

On May 26 2001, Beck covered the song on KCRW. It was a brief Bowie theme, as right before singing 'Win," they played Beck's new version of "Diamond Dogs" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. This "Win" is a little more scattered than the first, but his confidence builds as he goes along.

Here's the KCRW take:





Then again on his August tour of 2002, Beck pulled "Win" out once more. It was somewhat city-specific though, as he was in Philadelphia. Young Americans was Bowie's Philly soul album, and it was recorded there. Beck knows his rock history!
 
Notes: