As is customary for me, being a very big fan of Mr Bowie I would like to wish him a very happy 67th birthday today, January 8th. Will he surprise me and the world with some new music as he did on his 66th birthday or will there be a tour announcement. Sadly I can’t see the latter happening, but if it did I’d be first in the queue. Celebrate the Dame’s birthday with me with this selection of Bowie songs that don’t get played enough in my opinion.
“I got soul but I’m not a soldier” December 3, 2013
Brandon Flowers off of the Killers is a self-confessed David Bowie fan. He believes that ‘Heathen‘ is the last great Bowie album. So much so that he readily admits that the Killers stole the bass line for “All These Things That I’ve Done” from Bowie’s “Slow Burn” which was one of the singles released from ‘Heathen’. Do you think it is a definite steal?
“He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our mind” November 26, 2013
Have you ever heard of Milky Edwards and the Chamberlings? No? Nor had I until recently. They (if indeed they are a they) come across as a classic ‘lost’ Motown band, perhaps in the mold of the Four Tops. From what I have discovered on-line Milky Edwards first appeared on YouTube last year with a video showing a record playing a cover version of some classic early 70s rock with the supposed album cover propped up behind. The album cover is very reminiscent of a 1960s Supremes album cover (see below).
It never really took off until the links were posted last month on David Bowie’s Facebook page. Why were they published on Bowie’s page? Well largely because the cover versions were all taken from the Ziggy Stardust album. The songs published so far are; “Starman”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Soul Love“. Mark Ronson and Tom Jones have denied any involvement in the recordings as have Bowie’s camp. But for me I would be very surprised if Bowie himself has played no part in this. I also believe that it is a wonderful hoax. There is even a website with the strap-line ‘rediscover the music of Milky Edwards, click here to see it. What do you think of all this? Have any of you got the inside track on these recordings? Personally I bloody love these tracks!
“You’ll take me aside, and say ‘Well, David, what shall I do?'” – David Bowie Is Happening Now – Cinema Event 13th August 2013 August 13, 2013
Back in May it was my pleasure to visit the marvellous ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Click here to see my post about the museum visit. Well that exhibition is now ready to go on tour and the exhibits will soon be on display in Toronto, Canada. The show at the V & A closed on Sunday 11th August, but as a special send off there has been a nationwide cinema event live from the museum as a kind of epilogue before it moves abroad.
It was presented by the two curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh. Other guest presenters included author Hanif Kureishi who went to the same school as Bowie and wrote the Buddha Of Suburbia for which David wrote the soundtrack. Japanese fashion designer who provided many of Bowie’s more outlandish Ziggy garbs and choreographer Michael Clark also presented. The amusing and intelligent persona that is Jarvis Cocker had a chance to say his piece. There were many others too, but sadly no appearance from the main man himself.
But a look behind the scenes and some wonderful background explanations from the curators made up for that to a small degree. It was a well put together and well-informed send off for such a major exhibition which was seen by more than 300,000 people and up to 20,000 in cinemas across the UK this evening. Like many people I was glued to the TV watching Top Of The Pops on July 6th 1972 when Bowie and the Spiders made that now seminal appearance to perform “Starman”. I was transfixed then and have been hooked ever since. If you plan to see this exhibition on its tour I would love to hear from you and I am sure it will blow you away!
“Project cancelled tumbling central” June 5, 2013
Since the first time I saw him play live in 1976 I have seen David Bowie ten times. One of those occasions was at Earls Court in 1978. I am not sure whether I was at the third show, (I think I was at the first), but representatives of Bromley Borough Council were. They presented Mr Bowie with an unpaid rates for the princely sum of £38.31. Does that make him the Tight White Duke? Incidentally if there is a remote possibility that the council official that presented that outstanding bill to Mr Bowie is reading this I’d love to interview you.
“Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the best selling show” David Bowie Is at the Victoria & Albert Museum 2013 May 5, 2013
I am sure that by now you are all aware of the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, London. It began on 23rd March this year and runs until 11th August. It is also the fastest selling and best selling exhibition the museum has ever done. It includes many Bowie artefacts and costumes from his archive; many of which have never been shown to the public before. I booked my tickets ages ago and finally made it here on 5th May. ( I was joined by Catwoman and my good friends the Horslens)
There are handwritten lyrics from throughout his career and stage designs for most of his major tours from the Diamond Dogs US tour in 1974 to the Outside Tour of 1995 via 1983’s Serious Moonlight. The costumes range from those worn in all the aforementioned tours along with all the classic Ziggy outfits; including the classic one worn on that famous Top of the Pops performance of “Starman” from way back in July 1972.
The whole thing is incredibly arranged, directed and curated. The interactive audio headphones which trigger when you are near a particular exhibit are brilliant. I feel sure that Bowie has played a big part in the whole thing. There are some video shots and audio that have never legally seen the light of day before. I particularly loved the version of “Sweet Thing” from the 1974 US tour. There was also an excellent mock-up 3D stage set design for those shows. Those were possibly my two favourite things from the day.
Bowie has always been an artist and not just a rock star and this is clearly shown by the volume of his own paintings and sketches on display. Including a series of storyboard pictures for a ‘Diamond Dogs’ film that never got made. There were also some detailed notes showing that he had definitely intended for 1995’s ‘1: Outside’ album to be the first in a trilogy that would have ended in 1999. I wonder if he’ll ever make those other two? Sadly I think not.
His set of oblique strategy cards used in the studio by Brian Eno are there along with the synthesiser used on the Berlin albums. Another room is dedicated to showing clips from his best known films including; ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth‘, ‘Labyrinth’, ‘The Prestige’, ‘Basquiat’, ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence‘ and ‘Absolute Beginners‘. There is also a rare public outing for a clip from his 1967 black and white short ‘The Image’ (as a bit of a Bowie anorak I already have this on DVD).. Costumes and props from some of these films are also on show.
The Bowie items in the shop are quite tasteful too, in the main anyway! I had previously bought the David Bowie Is hardback book and today I bought the Ziggyology book along with the set of postcards that relate to the exhibition. Obviously I needed more stuff to continue the pimping of my man bag so I bought a pin badge emblazoned with the phrase ‘David Bowie Is turning us all into voyeurs’.
I was excited before the exhibition and that was well justified excitement in my opinion. It exceeded my very high expectations by a very long way. If you have been or are planning to go I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you are unable to attend then you have missed something really special. Now let me sign off with a few Bowie classics.
“A man lost in time near KaDeWe” January 8, 2013
Well all I can say is about bloody time Mr Jones! You have probably already heard the news that the Dame himself a.k.a. Mr Bowie has released a new single today, his 66th birthday. It is called “Where Are We Now” and is taken from a new album, ‘The Next Day’ which will be released in March. The single and album are produced by Bowie’s long time friend and producer Tony Visconti. It is his first new album for ten years and was recorded in New York.
Like many others I had assumed that Bowie had retired after his heart problems in 2004. I am very pleased and excited that he hasn’t. I heard the new song on Chris Evan’s Radio Two breakfast show this morning. It’s a slow, atmospheric ballad which evokes feelings of sadness to me. It also includes what appears to be many references to his time in Berlin in the late 70s. I will be playing it a lot over the coming weeks. It feels a lot like the more mellow songs from both ‘Heathen‘ and ‘Reality‘ from 2002 and 2003 respectively. It also sounds like it would fit well on the album that his record label bizarrely rejected in 2001. That consisted of a number of rerecordings of some his 60s songs and some other material. It would have been called ‘Toy’ and obviously I have the bootleg and it is damned good.
Only Bowie could have informed the world that he is not retired and announce the release of new material in such an understated way. the single was simply made available on iTunes before the press kicked in. Contrast that with the hoopla around the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary activities; press conferences and yet another compilation with just a couple of new tracks. I can hardly wait for the album now. I haven’t been as excited about the release of a new album from anyone for many years! Click here to read the report on the NME.
On line the single appears to be receiving mixed, but mainly positive reviews. I would love to know what you think of it. Will this lead to any live gigs or maybe a full on tour? I’d like to think so, but given his time away from live performance maybe not. but at least we know that the fabulous David Bowie is back in a big way. Oh and before I forget, Happy Birthday Dave!
“If I Only Could I’d Make A Deal With God” August 15, 2012
I must confess that I was a tad disappointed that a number of my favourite British artists never appeared at the Olympic Closing Ceremony.Notably David Bowie and Kate Bush. There was a strong rumour in the week before the show that Kate would appear. This appears to have been driven by a remix of “Running Up That Hill” being made available to buy on-line last week. That remix was played during the show. It was never likely that Bowie would play the show given the low profile he has taken since his heart problem back in 2004. But I did get my hopes up when a medley of his songs and associated film clips were played. However it turned out to be just a precursor to the celebration of British fashion element of the closing spectacle which itself was soundtracked rather obviously by the Dame’s 1980 hit “Fashion”.
Apparently David Bowie, Kate Bush, the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones all turned down the chance to appear at the Olympic Stadium last Sunday night. John Lydon said a while back that he had been asked if the Pistols would play and turned the organisers down flat. I wonder if they would have expected the Pistols to play “God Save The queen”? It is also alleged that the Who only agreed at the third time of asking. Who else would you have liked to have seen on the bill? Personally I’m surprised that Adele or Paul Weller wasn’t there or any of the beknighted music stars; Tom Jones, Macca, Elton, Cliff or even Rod Stewart who probably longs to be knighted. Personally I’m glad Cliff wasn’t there as his Jubilee appearance was truly awful. The same goes for Paul McCartney who I didn’t think was particularly good at the Opening ceremony.
So let’s finish with what we might have missed some Kate and some Bowie.
I couldn’t let the 40th anniversary of the release of Bowie‘s classic 1972 album ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars‘ go unmentioned could I? It will be 40 years old on June 6th and of course being the Bowie fanatic that I am the vinyl reissue which comes with a DVD including some unreleased mixes is winging its way to me as I type. Bowie has said in the early 70s that the Ziggy album was a concept album, personally I don’t really see that, but that doesn’t make it any less of an album.
How many of you own at least one version of Bowie’s Ziggy album? lots of you I hope and if you don’t own it what’s keeping you, go out and buy it, download it, borrow it or steal it now! The album took just no more than 10 days to record, which by todays standards is faster than the speed of sound and light, or perhaps sound and vision, (get it?) combined.
So, as I’m sure you have heard the album many times I thought I’d present it in a slightly different way, by giving you all the tracks in their original order but performed by different artists. Some whom you may have heard of and others you may not have. But just to make sure you don’t miss out on the Dame himself I have tagged on two cover versions that might have made it onto the album but didn’t. The covers track listing is shown below. PLAY LOUD and Enjoy!
“Five Years” – Polyphonic Spree
“Moonage Daydream” – Killers
“Starman” – Culture Club
“It Ain’t Easy” -Raconteurs
“Star” – System Noise
“Hang On To Yourself” – Charles De Goal
“Ziggy Stardust” – Balzac
“Suffragette City” – Turbonegro
Now it’s time for Dave does Chuck and Jacques or Bowie does Berry and Brel!
“Jamming good with weird and gilly” February 27, 2012
According to a recent report in the UK tabloid the Daily Mail (so only a small chance it’s true) Ziggy Stardust is about to be honoured with a plaque in London. In the year that marks the 40th anniversary of the release of what many consider Bowie‘s finest moment it seems that the powers that be may be ready to give Ziggy a commemorative plaque.
Note that this would be very special as they are not awarded to living people. But it’s not a Bowie plaque it is most definitely to honour the Ziggy character. It will be placed in Heddon Street where the cover pictures for ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars‘ album were shot.