Listening to David Bowie

Early Monday morning on 11th January 2016 we get the news the David Bowie has just died. And knowing this will be a day full of memories, here are some from me. A recent one from 2013 and some from 1972, when we were all so confused and so delighted by him, like always, like space invaders.

Seems like today everyone is listening to David Bowie. Because we didn’t know there’d be any more new songs. And now there is. Just the one, with the promise of more to come in March. It’s come, as it was intended to, as a complete surprise. Which is what he’s always done best.David-Bowie-Hunky-Dory-Album-Art-580x580

It’s June 3rd 1972 and me and my friends are very excited. Because we’re on our way to Liverpool Stadium to see David Bowie. We’ve had his new album ‘Hunky Dory’ for a few months now and think it’s the best thing he’s ever done. We think it’s strange that it hasn’t finally given him his follow up hit to ‘Space Oddity’ since we saw him what seems years ago, now, well down the bill on that package tour at the Empire. But we’re looking forward to hearing him play it live, even if it is in an old boxing stadium.

We haven’t particularly modelled ourselves on David, but we do look a little bit like him on the cover of the record. A group of Pre-Raphaelite girls and boys. All flowing hair, velvet and colour.

The lights go down, shadowy figures move about the stage, the lights go up. And there on the stage are Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.1972-the-rise-and-fall-of-ziggy-stardust-and-the-spiders-from-mars-frontThey play what we will realise is the new album. Plus Queen Bitch from the ‘old’ one. So we might have seen this one coming, this thrilling, driving rock’n’roll. But we didn’t. And on the train home we’re tucking our loon pants into our boots to try and look a little bit like the new look. Charming in a way. But pathetic. Still, forty years on, that evening, the thrill of that sudden surprise, has stayed with me. A precious memory.

So then the hits start happening. And from now on in the 1970s we don’t really miss The Beatles. Because we’re waiting to see what David Bowie will do next. He’s that important. There’s him and then there’s everyone else, as far as music, fashion and culture are concerned.

So to suddenly get this new song from him today is lovely. Doesn’t make up for the working class bashing the Tories and their little friends are currently carrying out in Parliament. But it’s so beautifully done it’s made me smile inside since this morning.

Happy 66th Birthday, David. Thanks for the present.

Earl Slick and Tony Visconti talk about making the new album and single with David Bowie: “He said ‘there is no PR campaign. We’re just going to drop it on 8 January. That’s it.’ It’s such a simple idea, but Bowie came up with it.”

Link to video here.

7 thoughts on “Listening to David Bowie

  1. Liam Black

    Lovely piece Ronnie. I have been surprised by how touched I’ve been by Bowie being back and reminded how much I love him (I mean really love him). And he’s fucking 66 for christs sake!! cant wait for the album. Suspect his pension pot will get a reasonable boost!!

    Reply
  2. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    Yes, surprised me too. I was convinced he’d ‘retired’ and am amazed that he’s managed to spring this.

    I’m sure it will do his pension no harm. But the song doesn’t sound anything like he’s doing it for the money, striving for a hit. It sounds more like someone being gently reflective, for the love of it.

    Reply
  3. Gerry

    Loved Hunky Dory & Spiders, but for me this was his finest moment (and one of the finest days of our lives). Still raises the hairs on my neck.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Yes, wonderful Gerry. For an arty bloke who walks around in a sky blue suit he’s done well. I always remember Mark Radcliffe, years ago, saying ‘I can always tell if I’m going to get on with someone by asking them whether or not they like ‘Heroes.’

      Reply
  4. lindsay53

    My all time favourite ‘camp it up at the college disco’ tune is ‘Queen Bitch’. Hearing it still makes me move and mime in a way that totally embarrasses any onlookers. My good friend Tracey will be THRILLED that he’s released the single. She’s David Bowie rock. Cut her open & his name is written through & through. Thanks for the memories, Ronnie.xx

    Reply
  5. Anne Roberts

    It was 1972 and there I was at the Top Rank Liverpool. David Bowie was on, and it was love at first sight. He was utterly amazing, it was such a great night. A young Pete Price who I think was the DJ there, presented him with a very large bouquet of flowers. He thanked him politely and tore into the wrapper and threw all the flowers individually into the crowd. What a night. What a star. Will be greatly missed.

    Reply

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