The old nursery rhyme goes like this:
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good in every way.
A child born, like David Bowie (as David Robert Jones), on January 8, 1947, was, as it turns out, born on a Wednesday. The life path number of someone born on January 8, 1947 is a three — threes are good communicators, who often excel as performers. Birth sign is Capricorn, aspects of which include high achievement, propensity for deep thought, and reliable work ethic.
(Some trivia. The title Thursday’s Child apparently came from the Eartha Kitt biography Bowie read as a child.)
The character in this song is apparently looking back with acceptance of failure, because it’s lead him to a great love. This video is one of my favourite of Bowie’s, because of the internal nature of what’s going on. He’s seeing himself as a younger man; he’s seeing his partner as a younger woman. At the end, she looks at him questioningly, wondering what’s going on inside his head.
Some have compared this song, in rhythm, tenor and subject matter to Where Are We Now?. This is too easy. Thursday’s Child is about the past: with the present as the reference point; Where Are We Now?, to me, is about the present with reference to the past. The focus is not what could have been — as may be the point of Thursday’s Child — but rather where we’ve ended up, where we’ve come to. I also believe that Where Are We Now? is indeed Bowie talking about himself. In Thursday’s Child, I’ve always seen this man as a character, and Bowie as playing a role.