In 1980 David Bowie starred as John [Joseph] Merrick in the play The Elephant Man. Tim Rice interviews Bowie for Friday Night Saturday Morning [more inside]
Hysteria and Teenage Girls - How Justin Bieber, The Beatles, Morrissey, Franz Liszt, the Salem Witch Trials and the invention of the vibrator might all be related.
I have travelled back to that time to bring forth the Ultimate 1980s Fantasy Epic Ranking List Post! Single Link Tor Blog Post offering many further links, nostalgic euphoria and the inevitable objection to individual rankings.
For David Bowie's 68th birthday (Jan. 8), artist Helen Green drew all of his hairstyles over time. The colorized, animated version is even better.
"There was an interesting video installation that featured part of an old BBC documentary on Bowie. The commentary on the then-burgeoning star was fairly contemptuous, including a haughty sniff about how most of his fans were '14-to-20-year-old girls.' This is something that feminist and womanist cultural critics still observe — how a largely young female fan base is used to discredit the integrity and value of artists. This, despite the fact that, over and over, young women have 'discovered' and launched the careers of dozens of influential men and women. Like David Bowie, who is now considered so culturally important that he has a globally renowned exhibit dedicated to his career, which tens of thousands of people have clamored to get into." [more inside]
Seven months ago Steven and David Dewaele, better known as Belgian electronic duo and mashup kings Soulwax / 2manyDJs, put the finishing touches on their "Radio Soulwax" Project. In addition to being the band's nom-de-tour, RS has existed for the past several years as a series of mixes-and-music-videos. For this last hurrah, the Dewaeles released a video for the complete 2002 album that made them famous, As Heard On Radio Soulwax, Part Two. The film GIF- and Terry Gilliam-ifies hundreds of album covers, and can be seen here [NSFW in spots]. Inside, find a complete list of the RS mixes with the band's comments on each one. [more inside]
Seeing ‘the Man Who Fell To Earth’ Was One Of The Greatest Experiences Of Philip K. Dick’s Life - The time PKD got really into David Bowie.
Joseph Erbentraut and Kim Bellware preview the Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition of "David Bowie Is," for The Huffington Post [more inside]
Watch The Previously Untold True Story Of David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Tony Visconti Recording “Warszawa” A humorous cartoon documenting the recording of David Bowie's 1977 song Warszawa.
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]
Without You I'm Nothing: The Believer looks at the memoirs of the wives and girlfriends of rock stars.
Dancing in the Street with all music removed. A musicless musical video, with some interpretive dubbing.
Andrew Collins started a blog in July 2013 - Circles of Life: The 143 - he's about half way through now. [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]
Flickr user Harvezt brings you The Dark Side of the Covers, which recreates 33 rock album covers as seen from the OPPPOSITE direction. Some of the covers are iconic, others are obscure, some of the interpretations are simple and obvious, others are creative and... interesting. (And some are NSFW, but then, some of the original covers were NSFW).
I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day
Between Ziggy and Aladdin Sane there was, briefly, Cobbler Bob (SLYT)
Back at the beginning of 2010, Peter Gabriel released Scratch My Back, an album of covers of various artists. He had hoped those same artists would, in turn, cover songs he had written. Well, it didn't all come together as smoothly as he had planned, and not all the artists participated, but he's finally released And I'll Scratch Yours. NPR has a limited time preview of both albums running right now. [more inside]
Bklyn legend Jonny Sierra and B-More titan Spank Rock bring to us a most glorious parody of a most glorious titanic legend.
"... and it was on that day I made the snowman." In 1982, the film adaptation of Raymond Briggs 1978 children's book The Snowmanwas released on British television. The original release begins with a short narration by the Briggs, but a later version replaced him with David Bowie gently rocking a toy horse in an attic. Besides the opening narration, the film is without talking and is accompanied by a score by Howard Blake. It yielded the hit We're Walking in the Air which peaked at #5 on UK pop charts when Aled Jones covered it in 1985 (here he is many years later on This Morning Programme singing along with a video of himself as a boy). Last year, a sequel called The Snowman and the Snowdog was released to mixed reviews.
Whether taking all mankind close to the edge with his keyboard contributions to every punk's favorite prog-rock band Yes, or going it solo (in fully sequined gown) with all Six Wives of Henry VIII all the way to the center of the earth, or perhaps with figure skating Knights of the Round Table, or composing the score for Ken Russell's Liztomania (and "acting" in it), or doing definitive session work for the likes of David Bowie, Black Sabbath, etc, or candidly singing the praises of Christianity and/or Freemasonry ... [more inside]
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]
Adrian Belew has played with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Talking Heads and The Tom Tom Club - as well as having released many albums inependently. [more inside]
"It was as if, while Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school, Bowie was bracing for the 21st Century, the demand for everyone to “share” accessible versions of themselves. The self as a business card, to be distributed to anyone who asked for it. He also saw opportunity: on 1 September 1998, he launched BowieNet." Pushing Ahead Of The Dame (previously, previously) takes a look at David Bowie's late-90s, technophile projects and the future they foreshadowed - Omikron: The Nomad Soul (& BowieBanc & BowieNet)
"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)
Just in time for Halloween, David Bowie releases the kind of creepy video for Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA). The original track comes from his most recent album, The Next Day. [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]
Arcade Fire are back with a groovy single, Reflektor, accompanied by an amazing interactive experience. [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.
The upside is that none of these records will go down in history like Chinese Democracy. The downside, of course, is that none of these records will go down in history like Chinese Democracy. Why it had to die in 2008 so that Random Access Memories, The 20/20 Experience, m b v, The Next Day and other records could live in 2013.
There's still nobody who can make "dee da deedadet" sound as sexy as Freddie Mercury did. Under Pressure, vocals only.
"40 years ago, in millions of living room across the British Isles, a strange alien creature was beamed on to our television screens. With bright red hair and multicolored spacesuit, his unearthly appearance shocked the nation. But for many teenagers who experienced this televisual visitation, he would change their lives forever." Jarvis Cocker narrates the BBC Four documentary, David Bowie -- The Story of Ziggy Stardust.
Chris Hadfield has captured the world's heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut's clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police?
David Bowie continues his return with The Next Day, the third video from his latest album. [YouTube link, requires age verification] This time around, he has assistance from Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard. Some controversy surrounds this release. Bowie himself finally broke his silence about his new album by sharing 42 words with The Ice Storm author Rick Moody. [more inside]
Nine Inch Nails has posted tape 1 of the 1997 VHS-only release Closure on Vimeo. It's a 75-min long documentary of the Self Destruct Tour, both on and off stage, includes (not necessarily musical) appearances by Marilyn Manson and David Bowie, amongst others.
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 second, rocking single from David Bowie's forthcoming album The Next Day is titled "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)". The video stars Bowie himself, and Tilda Swinton. [more inside]
The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, The Goblin King... what is he really like?
Accompanied by 150 musicians, Beck does an 8-minute re-imagination of Bowie's "Sound and Vision" (SLYT) [more inside]
"There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is, in the most charitable possible evaluation, a mess: Bowie has described it as "my 32 Elvis films rolled into one." And yet life on that ever-dwindling island of not-on-region-one DVD films is a harsh fate for any film and particularly for this one, which is at least as interesting as its cast suggests and a good deal more. You don't need to dig out the VHS player to watch Mick Jagger run an agency of gigolos in The Man From Elysian Fields—you shouldn't have to do so to watch Bowie play one. " David Bowie's Lost 70s-era Weimar Berlin Movie: Just a Gigalo.
It seems David Bowie recently got a Vimeo account, and is posting lots of videos from across the years on his website. Including one yesterday for his new single, which is being released ahead of his first album in ten years. Way to celebrate your 66th, Ziggy!
Rock Cellar Magazine has come up with a list of eleven songs to listen to in case the world comes to an end on December 21 2010. [more inside]
The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
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