Brian Eno: Musician, Composer & Producer - Complete Chronological Collection
It started with two crises, and a work of charity. Throughout David Bowie’s time in Los Angeles in late 1975, as he descended into a cocaine-addled psychotic netherworld of alien visitations and Aryan mythology, he had also become obsessed with the abstract, electronic sound of Kraftwerk. But his first attempt at assimilating this new movement proved a disaster, when sessions with, arranger Paul Buckmaster at Cherokee studios were abandoned, essentially unfinished. This was a rare setback, for even in the midst of crisis, David Bowie had proved remarkably adept, in control of the situation despite the psychoses that assailed him. After escaping from LA, via rehearsals in Jamaica and Vancouver for his imminent world tour, Bowie seemed to rebuild himself once again. Yet it turned out that the one event that truly made David Bowie pull out of his psychological tailspin was the act of rescuing the man who would be his companion throughout 1976, namely Iggy Pop.
David Robert Jones born on the 8th January 1947.
I’m an instant star; just add water.
Happy Birthday David Bowie
Andrew Kolb´s Space Oddity children´s book
“Have you ever listened to a song and your mind’s eye is immediately filled with visuals? David Bowie’s classic space epic is one such song for me. Every lyric paints such a vivid picture that I figured ‘Oh hey, I guess I’ll make that into a children’s book!’ Yes, I talk like this. Although I haven’t heard from Mr. Bowie (yet), why wait to share the full book?”
We’ve already learned this from the Rykodisc reissues, but the point is worth repeating: David Bowie will often remove the best track from an albums sessions. In Black Tie, White Noise’s case, it was “Lucy Can’t Dance,” a track that is A) a better summation of everything Black Tie, White Noise was trying to be as an album, B) a repudiation of the near-misogyny of Tin Machine’s “Baby Can Dance,” C) the best song of the sessions with the best lyric Bowie’d written in over a decade. Nile Rodgers was convinced it was the song that was going to make the album explode onto the charts forever:
“He had another song, ‘Lucy Can’t Dance,’ which was a guaranteed Number 1 record, and everyone around was totally perplexed when it only appeared as a bonus track on the CD. He was running from success and running from the word ‘dance.’ Imagine David Bowie and Nile Rodgers together, and we come out with a song ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’. Smokin’!! I was already accepting my Grammy. But he was not budging. It was an exercise in futility- no matter who I tried to call, it fell on deaf ears.”
It’s just as frustrating for listeners to have a song that’s truly great and have it be shoved to ‘bonus track’ status. Of course, having be a ‘bonus track’ on a CD means it might as well be an album track in it’s own right, but it’s wedged after an unnecessary remix of Jump They Say. And of course there’s always just the association of ‘bonus track,’ and especially since it’s coupled with a remix, ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’ loses any importance just by association. Plus it’s easy to assume the album is over once “The Wedding Song,” a clear bookending reprise-of-a-song, ends. Why keep the CD running? (And yes, in the digital age of the playlist, these concerns are meaningless. But it’s still insulting to a great song.)
But it’s undeniable- this song’s got everything the rest of the album should have. A killer, propulsive beat, great hooks, great delivery, and now let’s look at how great these lyrics are. Bowie delivers some of his best, funniest, quippiest couplets of the decade. Examples:
But you can’t buy me off in this serial world / Oh but who died and made you material girl?
Now you’re looking for God in exciting new ways / I say trust Him at once which is something these days
or, the real best line:
So I’ll spin while my lunatic lyric goes wrong / Guess I’ll put all my eggs in a postmodern song
Ahh, so good! That’s such a great line. And he throws these out between the repeated hook of “lucy can’t dance to the noise but she knows what the noise can do,” which is almost hypnotic in it’s repetition. It’s all just so smart.
David Bowie - “It’s No Game (Part 2)” (1980)
I said to Hendrik in my proposal for this week that I wanted to “free these albums from the chains of ‘his best since Scary Monsters’.” It’s important to note how the album Scary Monsters was a colossal shadow over Bowie’s head for the rest of his career. At the time, people went apeshit over it, giving it ratings like “7 out of 5 stars” and heaping the sort of insulting ‘return to form’ kind of praise to it. Insulting because Scary Monsters was really just the ‘next Bowie album’ at the time. It’s got the same backing band, half of the same producers, mostly the same approach to songwriting.
The difference was that Scary Monsters was the perfect distillation of everything Bowie had been doing on record for the past four years. The friction between manic and devoid-of-humanity that Low and “Heroes” mixed with ground-breaking pop music led to the more water-treading Lodger, an album that was trying to put more ‘pop’ in the avant-garde. With Scary Monsters, he found the perfect mix of ‘catchy’ and ‘experimental.’ “Ashes to Ashes” is one of the most bizarre number one singles ever put out. David Bowie proved to himself and everyone that he could be himself and still relate to everyone else in the world.
But then for some reason, he decided to switch tack completely and follow Scary Monsters up with it’s polar opposite: Let’s Dance. Thus, David Bowie in the 1980s began.
David Bowie - O Superman (Laurie Anderson cover)
Recorded during the Earthling tour (even without the description for the video, you can tell after the first 2 couplets/lines, the synths are ripped straight from “I’m Deranged”).
I adore this song and yet I still can’t say in words what it’s really saying. That’s the best kind of music to me.