With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“We’ll build a glass asylum, with just a hint of mayhem” January 8, 2018


Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big David Bowie fan. This began in July 1972 when I witnessed that now iconic performance of “Starman” on BBC’s Top Of The Pops. I was lucky enough to see him play live ten times from 1976 to 2004 and I still buy every release, and to be fair there have been many since his death nearly two years ago. I recently received the latest in the seven inch vinyl picture disc series, the 40th anniversary release of the “Beauty And The Beast” single. It has a terrific version of “Blackout” on the B Side. Today would have been the Dame’s 71st birthday, I know to many of you that probably sounds old, but it is only 12 years older than me! Obviously like many fans I was saddened by his passing, but I am still somewhat freaked out by the amount of on-line Bowie fans that still speak of their despair at his loss, how they still wake up crying.

But enough of that morbidity, I do still celebrate the birthday of the late David Robert Jones. On a work day that means that I wear my David Bowie cuff links as I did today. I also received a few more David Bowie related books at Christmas, I think I now own around 70 in total. One of those Christmas presents was ‘David Bowie – A Life’ by Dylan Jones. Jones met and interviewed Bowie on many occasions and he uses that material along with old and new interviews with many people who were a part of the world of David Bowie. This includes the Spiders From Mars, Dana Gillespie, Bob Harris, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Carlos Alomar, Peter Frampton, Nina Simone, Mick Rock, Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Bebe Buell and Coco Schwab to name just a few. The book is organised chronologically and is incredibly well put together. In my opinion it is beyond doubt the best Bowie biography for many years and easily the best to be published since his demise. It is tasteful and manages to unearth a few things that personally I had never read before; How he had tried to reform the Spiders From Mars in 1978 and how in the US in the early 1970s someone turned up at his hotel sweet and offered him a still warm, dead body to have sex with. In respect of the latter he was apparently visibly shocked and upset and turned the offer down. When he lived in Mustique at a property he used to own there he often referred to one drink from the cocktail menu in Basil’s Bar as a Penis Colada.

This evening I have also dug out the magnificent Alan Yentob documentary ‘Cracked Actor’ from the mid 70s. It is a fascinating portrait of a talented man in a spiral of cocaine addiction and ensuing paranoia. In many ways it is a magnificent insider view of the transition from the Halloween Jack character of the post apocalyptic tales on ‘Diamond Dogs’ into the white soul boy of ‘Young Americans’. If you have never seen it, whether you are a fan or not you should check it out. From just the social history perspective it is truly fascinating. This is a bit of a Bowie ramble I know, but I haven’t done a Bowie post for a while, well apart from the specific one about the song “Andy Warhol” back in December. I don’t really need an excuse to play some Bowie tunes, but a 71st birthday and the impending second anniversary of his death works for me. Let’s celebrate the Dame’s wonderful recordings together, what is your favourite David Bowie song? My top three favourites are currently; “Quicksand”, “Young Americans” and “Lady Grinning Soul“.

As a footnote the eagle eyed readers and bat eared listeners may have sussed out where I took the title of my blog from, go on take a guess!

 

12 Days To Christmas – Day 10 – Andy Warhol December 22, 2017


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This is the 12 days to Christmas countdown with a series of twelve posts that I confess are not particularly Christmas related. More an opportunity to fill a stocking with plenty of songs about famous people from history. Today is day 10, so only two more to go after this. Day 10 is the turn of Andy Warhol to be represented in song. His real name was Andrew Warhola and he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 6th August 1928. He died in February 1987, wow where did that 30 years go? In the 1950s Warhol worked as a shoe designer and became a very early adopted of the silk screen process for printmaking. Many of his subjects were American icons, either people or things; Campbell’s Soup Can, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and the mushroom cloud, which technically is a kind of icon of America right? Andy Warhol was gay but in a 1980 interview he suggested that he was still a virgin. A 52 year old virgin? Wow! Many of you who read this blog may well have some Warhol art in your homes. Do you have a copy of the first Velvet Underground album, or the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’? well he designed both of those.

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So on to the Song about this iconic and talented artist and it is actually performed by someone many also see as a talented and iconic artist, David Bowie. Come on you didn’t think I would miss the opportunity for some Bowie did you? The song is “Andy Warhol” from Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’. Bowie met Warhol a few times, apparently the first time was a strange encounter with not much being said other than Warhol remarking on Bowie’s bright yellow shoes. Later, in 1996 David Bowie played Warhol in the film ‘Basquiat’ using some of the artists clothes and wigs. ‘Hunky Dory’ peaked at number three in the UK album chart in 1972. “Andy Warhol” was never released as a single, only “Changes” and “Life On Mars” were issued a singles from that album. Although the track in question did make it to the B- Side of the 1972 single release of “Changes”. Bowie originally wrote the song for his friend, lover and protege Dana Gillespie. But her version didn’t see the light of day until 1973. Interestingly Mick Ronson played guitar on both versions. There are four versions of the song for you to feast your ears on below.

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Bowie as Warhol

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Warhol with a fir tree, now this is a Christmas post……. right?

 

 
I Am Incorrigible

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