It’s no big secret that Bowie was, well, shall we say “intoxicated” throughout much of the 70s and apparently remembers little, if any, of recording Station to Station. How he was able to pull off what remains one of his most highly-regarded works is a bit of a mystery.
According to the source of all reliable (and not-so-reliable) information, Wikipedia, after 1976 Word On A Wing was abandoned by Bowie as a regular part of his set list until this 1999 VH1 performance. His own introduction in this clip describes the song as a product of one of the darkest periods of his life.
As a song, it’s lyrically old school devotional. It wouldn’t be out of place in a book of hymns, save that one line that stops short of abandoning rational thought in favour of religious doctrine: “Just because I believe don’t mean I don’t think as well…
Don’t have to question everything in heaven or hell…”