Joseph Erbentraut and Kim Bellware preview the Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition of "David Bowie Is," for The Huffington Post [more inside]
Via Open Culture, three songs by David Bowie with Klaus Nomi on Saturday Night Live in 1979. [more inside]
Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
Moonwalking is often attributed to Michael Jackson, but as summarized in this low resolution clip from Soccer AM, it was performed under various names in decades before MJ's live television performance in 1983. Let's backslide through the years, from Cab Calloway's 1932 version that he called "The Buzz" to Jeffrey Daniel performing the backslide as a member of Shalamar in 1982 on Top of the Pops in the UK. [more inside]
A video review of David Bowie's 'The Next Day' Collectors Edition packaging by Pixie Hulme (some swearing)
Bing Crosby is something of the unofficial "classic voice of the Christmas season," but his most popular piece in recent years is the unlikely duet from 1977, the same year he passed away. The Washington Post provides the odd story of holiday harmony, how David Bowie joined Crosby at the piano for their duet, "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy". If you like the classics, here's some Bing over the years: a fan-made abbreviation of Frank Sinatra's Christmas Show from 1957, Bing sings "White Christmas" in 1961, Bing & Kathryn Crosby take you on a trip to "Christmas Island" from his 1971 Crosby family special, and from his final Christmas special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, Bing and Twiggy singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." If you'd like a full period piece, here's an all-star 1958 USO Christmas show (program history and overview). If that's all a bit too sweet for you, let Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, June Carter-Cash, Jessi Colter, John Carter-Cash, and more regale you in the Christmas On The Road TV Special (1984).
"Oh, show us the way, to the next whiskey-bar. Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why." And so opens the Alabama Song (Google books preview) by Bertholt Brecht and Brecht's close collaborator, Elisabeth Hauptmann (Gbp), first published in 1927. Brecht set it to music and performed it on stages all over Berlin, but the better known version was scored by classical composer Kurt Weill, who was impressed with Brecht’s poetry and wanted to break away from the constraints of his previous work. It was this version, first performed by Lotte Lenya, that was made famous by The Doors and their use of a Marxophone (Wikipedia). [more inside]
"Hardly anyone at the time would have believed that I would still be here today." Christiane Felscherinow, better known as Christiane F., has published Mein Zweites Leben (My Second Life), the follow-up to her (in)famous autobiography, which was originally published when she was 17. Christiane's story became a sensation in Germany and a cult classic around the world (as well as the basis for a cult film, with a soundtrack by David Bowie), and has recently been republished in America in a new translation. (Previously)
The Hitmaker is Nile Rodgers' 1959 Fender Stratocaster. Last week, he left it on a train in NYC. (Warning: Autoplaying great music) Legendary Producer/Writer/Guitarist Nile Rodgers writes on his blog about the near-loss of one of the most famous instruments in music - "The Hitmaker," also known as the "World's Most Successful Guitar," which Rodgers played on hits by everyone from Chic, David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran to Daft Punk. Oh, yeah, and that's The Hitmaker playing the funky riff sampled on Rapper's Delight, too. From a previous MeFi post, here's Nile Rodgers talking about music and, starting at the 55:40 mark, playing The Hitmaker and demonstrating some of the most famous riffs ever played. [more inside]
How to Read Like Bowie - David Bowie's Top 100 Books Don't miss Meta-Bowie or Bowie on metafilter music or in MetaTalk (just because).
On Wednesday, David Bowie's Facebook page posted an intriguing curio: a trio of videos ostensibly by an obscure '70s soul group known as Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings. The videos show needle-drops of tracks from Starman, a fabulous whole-cloth soul remake of Bowie's seminal 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The only trouble is, the album doesn't (appear to) actually exist. [more inside]
There have been a few misconceptions about the Bowie securitizations over the years. I’ll try to describe, in relatively plain English, what happened.
Today. the day after astronauts detected and repaired a "serious but not life-threatening" ammonia leak on the space station, Commander Chris Hadfield has passed over command of the space station. Planet earth is blue and there's nothing left to do ... except to release this video. Sorry, Tilda Swinton does not make an appearance. Video is suitable for all audiences. Hadfield previously on MeFi.
Along with a career retrospective, the V&A Museum in London will publish an extensive photo book covering Bowie's career to date. Graphic design studio Barnbrook has designed the 'David Bowie is' book which accompanies the V&A's exhibition of the same name. [more inside]
The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, The Goblin King... what is he really like?
According to producer Tony Visconti, the secret nature of David Bowie's latest project was almost compromised by guitarist Robert Fripp, who, he claims, was invited to contribute but declined, and then blogged about it. Fripp, however, claims that he was never asked and never blogged, but concedes that he might have dreamt the rumour into being.
With fans struggling to come to terms with David Bowie's musical hiatus and likely retirement, any new Bowie-related material has been eagerly pursued. Last year, the leak of the unreleased album Toy (previously) slaked the thirst of those needing a Bowie fix. Last week, an unauthorized preview of another Bowie project emerged— Bowie: Object. First announced in 2010, the book features 100 objects from Bowie's archive, with text written by the man himself.
...there’s some desperation to this junk version of “Dancing in the Street,” with both parties trying to affirm their A-1 celebrity status. One of the more pernicious effects of the whole Live Aid/Farm Aid/Band Aid spectacle was to cement the hierarchy of the “legend” rock acts and a smaller tier of anointed successors from the slightly-younger generation (Tom Petty, Sting, Dire Straits, U2). It was the height of the Boomer Counter-Reformation. The late Eighties would see the over-publicized returns of everyone from Steve Winwood to the Monkees to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to a revamped George Harrison to a MOR version of Pink Floyd to Robbie Robertson pretending that he was Peter Gabriel (a version of Gabriel who couldn’t sing) to an all-star Yes and a Zeppelin-sampling Robert Plant, culminating in the return of the “revitalized” Stones in 1989, the touring company now reincorporated into a gleaming multinational. As Marcello Carlin said back when Popular covered this single: “Suddenly we were once again reminded who in pop and rock mattered and who didn’t…With their massacre of “Dancing In The Street,” Bowie and Jagger seemed to relish rubbing it in.“-The Annotated Jagger/Bowie "Dancing in the Street"
Despite multiple reissue campaigns, some David Bowie gems remain out of print – here’s ten of the best.
Jazzin' For Blue Jean is a 20 minute long David Bowie music video directed by Julian Temple.
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly. Well, right or wrong they sing either way.
Wow, what a life for Dana Gillespie. At 14 she was British junior national water-skiing champion. At 15 she was dating classmate David Bowie, who taught her guitar. Had bit parts in movies by 16. She dated Donovan for a little while, and Jimmy Page produced and played on her first album. She went on to a long string of starring roles in London's West End. She has devoted the latter part of her life to the blues, hosting an annual blues festival on the island of Mustique, recently featuring fellow Mustiquian Mick Jagger. And if all that weren't enough, she has also released several albums in Sanskrit under the moniker Third Man, devoted to the years she spent living in India. Allah Ho Akhbar::Chitta Chora::Om Shakti
The Music of Jacques Brel is an article by music journalist Amy Hanson about the career of pop music legend Jacques Brel and his effect on popular music in the English language. A lot of songs and covers are mentioned in the article, below the cut are links to the songs that I could find videos of online. [more inside]
The 2010 Glastonbury Festival begins on the 23rd June at Worthy Farm in the village of Pilton, Somerset. [more inside]
David Bowie's response to his first American fan letter. In 1967, 14 year old Sandra Adams wrote a letter to Bowie. According to Bowie himself, this was his first bit of fan mail from the States. The response, though brief, is funny and sincere.
Psychologist Nick Troop has performed a "psycholyrical analysis" of David Bowie's 26 albums and used his findings, along with text analysis software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, to write the "ideal" Bowie song (YT, 8:54; skip to 4:23 if you just want to hear the song). (See also.)
Christiane F was a 1981 German film that portrayed the life of young heroin addicts growing up in 1970's Berlin. Notable for the collaboration of David Bowie, the film became well known for its realistic portrayal of drug use. [more inside]
Ziggy Stardust is one of David Bowie's most famous and enduring creations. Bowie's inspiration for the name came from "Ziggy's," a London tailor shop, and from one of the most unusual performers of the period, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Bowie explains his fascination with "The Ledge" In this interview, (topic starts at 2:00). So what ever happened to The Ledge? Well, he's somehow morphed into a bad frat party act!! (anyone else reminded of Otis Day and the Knights?)
"Should we ever hear the space-phone ringing, for God's sake let us not answer". First we are told Space Colonisation is a stupid and expensive idea. Then that contact with space aliens is inadvisable. Maybe David Bowie was right, the government would just ruin it anyway. That's why we can't have nice things.
The great Nat Tate hoax. 9 years ago, writer William Boyd and singer David Bowie (easily two of the coolest persons alive) joined forces to perpetrate one of the most elaborate art hoaxes to date: the "rediscovery" of Nat Tate, American Artist. A Boyd-penned biography was bombastically presented in Jeff Koons' gallery (who wasn't in on the joke)...to be enthusiastically lapped up by NYC's glitteratti. If only they had bothered to check the date...
Please let it be true. NASA announces something pretty major, further prompting David Bowie's nagging question.
Space Oddity video from 1969. Featuring a very young David Bowie, lots of small production goodness, 60's kitsch, and very British teeth. via robotwisdom
The Ledge He appeared on Laugh In, produced one of the truly weirdest 45s of the 60's, and was one of many inspirations for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. Meet Norman Carl Odam, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy.
Want to know where David Bowie was on a given day between 1974 and 1980? Now you can