Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

David Bowie, ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’

The title track to David Bowie’s 1980 classic “Scary Monsters” finds the former Ziggy Stardust observing a woman’s descent into madness (“When I looked in her eyes they were blue but nobody home … Now she’s stupid in the street and she can’t socialise”). and, as such, those super creeps and scary monsters may be nothing more than figments of a mind gone mad. Or are they?

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

David Bowie – ‘Song For Bob Dylan’
David Bowie is no stranger to writing about people he admires, and on ‘Hunky Dory’ there’s the incredible ‘Andy Warhol’ and the really-not-too-bad-either ‘Song For Bob Dylan’, where he memorably describes Robert Zimmerman as having a “voice like sand and glue”.

This is an ode to the folk singer. It includes the lyric: “Now hear this Robert Zimmerman, though I don’t suppose we’ll meet.” Funnily enough, Bowie would go on to meet Dylan multiple times throughout the 70s and 80s, though Dylan was reportedly rude to Bowie and according to one biographer, Dylan told Bowie that he hated his Young Americans album!

Dylan wrote a tribute song himself once. His was dedicated to Woody Guthrie, whom he visited when Guthrie was ravaged by Huntington’s disease. Bowie’s song is slightly more uptempo than Dylan’s and includes electric guitar played by Mick Ronson.

Bowie’s song is said to mimic Dylan’s ode; it has also been suggested that it is a commentary on Dylan’s album Self-Portrait; the line “You’re ever nation’s refugee” is clearly a reference to Dylan’s ethnic origin, ie the wandering Jew of Christian folklore, though Bowie was probably thinking more of the wandering minstrel.

Bowie wrote this in 1971. Running to 4 minutes 12 seconds, it appears on his Hunky Dory album, which was recorded at Trident Studios, London in April of that year. Like the rest of the album, this song was produced by Ken Scott.

David Bowie: Hunky Dory, Released 17 December 1971

Rare footage of David Bowie’s first performance as Ziggy Stardust

Credit: BBC

Rare footage of David Bowie’s first ever TV performance as Ziggy Stardust has been unearthed. 

“I wasn’t at all surprised ‘Ziggy Stardust’ made my career,” Bowie once said of his fictional character. “I packaged a totally credible plastic rock star.” That rock and roll hero, who would go on to change the game of music, solidifying Bowie as a bonafide icon. Here, in footage which was once thought to have been deleted and lost forever, Bowie’s performs on ‘Top of the Pops’ way back in 1972.

The clip, shot by a fan on a home camcorder, has been described as the “Holy Grail” and will appeared in the recently released BBC documentary David Bowie: The First Five Years – Finding Fame

“For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail,” documentary director Francis Whately told the Radio Times.”It would fall apart if we played it, so it’s had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off.”

The restoration of the tape is being carefully dealt with by specialists but a BBC spokeswoman said: “The footage has only very recently been discovered. We’re hoping it will be ready in time to include in the film.” Apparently, the clip was once part of 144 tapes sent by Granada Television in a bid to turn them into digital. However, a catastrophic error made by a technician saw the footage accidentally deleted. 

“I was absolutely gobsmacked,” Marc Riley once told Bowie biographer David Buckley. “My gran was shouting insults at the TV, which she usually saved for Labour Party political broadcasts. And I just sat there agog. I was experiencing a life-changing moment. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really did knock me for six.”

Ziggy Stardust is one of the lasting images of the late, great musician and performer David Bowie. The persona was a defining moment in Bowie’s career and his miraculous conception of the flame-haired rock and roller from outer space was the toast of the music industry.

Bowie, previously discussing his unstoppable creativity energy, once confessed: “I get bored very quickly and that would give it some new energy. I’m rather kind of old school, thinking that when an artist does his work it’s no longer his… I just see what people make of it. That is why the TV production of Ziggy will have to exceed people’s expectations of what they thought Ziggy was.”

Discussing the inception of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie once explained: “The time is five years to go before the end of the earth,” he said, relishing telling his story. “It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. [The album was released three years prior to the original interview.] Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything.

“Ziggy was in a rock and roll band and the kids no longer want rock and roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ’cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. ‘All the Young Dudes’ is a song about this news. It is no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite.”

Bowie continues to go into depth about the conception of the persona: “Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a starman, so he writes ‘Starman,’ which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately. The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers.”

See Bowie outing Ziggy Stardust for one of the very first times, below.

David Bowie’s Team Streams Rare Video Of 1973 “Drive-In Saturday”

A 1999 David Bowie concert with a setlist full of rarities has recently been released.

The release comes as part of a video series in which a number of Bowie concerts from the ’90s are being republished digitally.

The latest, Something in the Air (Live Paris 99), was originally recorded on October 14, 1999 at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris and will be available for broadcast on August 14.

As a curiosity to keep in mind, prior to the concert, Bowie received the highest artistic order in France, the Commandeurs of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

The new release will be a 15-track live album, with 12 previously unreleased recordings and three tracks used as B-sides for the singles from the album ‘Hours’.

Watch the video below:

David Bowie
“Something In The Air Tonight (Live Paris 99)”

Life On Mars?
Thursday’s Child
Something in the Air
Word on a Wing
Can’t Help Thinking About Me
China Girl
Always Crashing in the Same Car
Drive-In Saturday
I Can’t Read
The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell
Rebel Rebel

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

David Bowie, ‘Blackstar’

Bowie’s forward-thinking final album, released very shortly before his death, uses fragmented stars to spell out his name at the bottom. Even more impressively, the star glows blue when you hold it under ultraviolet light and the inner gatefold sleeve shows up stars when you expose it to sunlight. But what does it all mean? That’s up to you, the album artwork designer Jonathan Barnbrook told us: “I think the creative process of putting those elements together and coming up with a reason what the secret message is, actually is something that [Bowie] absolutely would have approved of.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Rock Legends,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The singer in London in 1990, the year he released “Changesbowie.” Credit…Johnny Eggitt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

David Bowie Transcended Music, Art and Fashion.

David Bowie, the infinitely changeable, fiercely forward-looking songwriter who taught generations of musicians about the power of drama, images and personas, died two days after his 69th birthday.

His last album, “Blackstar,” a collaboration with a jazz quartet that was typically enigmatic and exploratory.

He had also collaborated on an Off Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” which was a surreal sequel to the 1976 film that featured his definitive screen role, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend — rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul” — but it was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No. 1 pop hits like “Let’s Dance.”

In concerts and videos, Mr. Bowie’s costumes and imagery traversed styles, eras and continents, from German Expressionism to commedia dell’arte to Japanese kimonos to spacesuits. He set an example, and a challenge, for every arena spectacle in his wake.

If he had an anthem, it was “Changes,” from his 1971 album “Hunky Dory,” which proclaimed:

Turn and face the strange, 


Oh look out now you rock and rollers,

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.

Mr. Bowie earned admiration and emulation across the musical spectrum — from rockers, balladeers, punks, hip-hop acts, creators of pop spectacles and even classical composers like Philip Glass, who based two symphonies on Mr. Bowie’s albums “Low” and “Heroes.”

Mr. Bowie’s constantly morphing persona was a touchstone for performers like Madonna and Lady Gaga; his determination to stay contemporary introduced his fans to Philadelphia funk, Japanese fashion, German electronica and drum-and-bass dance music.

Nirvana chose to sing “The Man Who Sold the World,” the title song of Mr. Bowie’s 1970 album, in its brief set for “MTV Unplugged in New York” in 1993. “Under Pressure,” a collaboration with the glam-rock group Queen, supplied a bass line for the 1990 Vanilla Ice hit “Ice Ice Baby.”

Yet throughout Mr. Bowie’s metamorphoses, he was always recognizable. His voice was widely imitated but always his own; his message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.

Angst and apocalypse, media and paranoia, distance and yearning were among Mr. Bowie’s lifelong themes. So was a penchant for transgression coupled with a determination to push cult tastes toward the mainstream.

Mr. Bowie produced albums and wrote songs for some of his idols — Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople — that gave them pop hits without causing them to abandon their individuality. And he collaborated with musicians like Brian Eno during the late-1970s period that would become known as his Berlin years and, in his final recordings, with the jazz musicians Maria Schneider and Donny McCaslin, introducing them to many new listeners.

Mr. Bowie was a person of relentless reinvention. He emerged in the late 1960s with the voice of a rock belter but with the sensibility of a cabaret singer, steeped in the dynamics of stage musicals.

He was Major Tom, the lost astronaut in his career-making 1969 hit “Space Oddity.” He was Ziggy Stardust, the otherworldly pop star at the center of his 1972 album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”

He was the self-destructive Thin White Duke and the minimalist but heartfelt voice of the three albums he recorded in Berlin in the ’70s.

The arrival of MTV in the 1980s was the perfect complement to Mr. Bowie’s sense of theatricality and fashion. “Ashes to Ashes,” the “Space Oddity” sequel that revealed, “We know Major Tom’s a junkie,” and “Let’s Dance,” which offered, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues,” gave him worldwide popularity.

Mr. Bowie was his generation’s standard-bearer for rock as theater: something constructed and inflated yet sincere in its artifice, saying more than naturalism could. With a voice that dipped down to baritone and leapt into falsetto, he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.

He also pushed the limits of “Fashion” and “Fame,” writing songs with those titles and also thinking deeply about the possibilities and strictures of rock renown.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Guardians Of The Galaxy” Edition, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

David Bowie; “Moonage Daydream”

Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

  • Bowie wrote “Moonage Daydream” specifically for fashion designer Fred Burrett, who Bowie met in The Sombrero gay bar and decided to groom for stardom. Burrett, who changed him name to Freddie Burretti, is credited as a vocalist on the song, but whatever contributions he might have made never actually made it onto the track.
  • This was originally the first single released by David Bowie’s side-project Arnold Corns in 1971. It flopped but was subsequently dusted down to be the song that heralds the arrival of Ziggy Stardust on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
  • The B-side of the 1971 single “Hang on to Yourself” also later appeared on the Ziggy Stardust album.
  • In 2002 Bowie wrote a book Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust, which documented his Ziggy Stardust era in 1972-73.
  • In a 2003 interview with Performing Songwritermagazine, Bowie explained how the song “Sure Know a Lot About Love” by The Hollywood Argyles influenced this song. Said Bowie: “It was a combination of the baritone sax and the piccolo on the solo which I thought, ‘Now there’s a great thing to put in a rock song’ (laughs). Which I nicked, then put in ‘Moonage Daydream’ later.”
  • Mick Ronson’s guitar work was vital to the sound of the Ziggy Stardust album, including this song’s otherworldly sustain-drenched solo. Bowie summed up Ronson’s contributions in David Buckley’s essay in the booklet accompanying the 30th Anniversary 2-CD edition of the album: “A perfect foil and collaborator, Mick’s raw, passionate Jeff Beck-style guitar was perfect for Ziggy and the Spiders. It had such integrity. You believed every note had been wrenched from his soul.”

    Bowie continued: “I would also literally draw out on paper with a crayon or felt tip pen the shape of a solo. The one in ‘Moonage Daydream,’ for instance, started as a flat line that became a fat megaphone type shape, and ended as sprays of disassociated and broken lines. I’d read somewhere that Frank Zappa used a series of drawn symbols to explain to his musicians how he wanted the shape of a composition to sound. Mick could take something like that and actually bloody play it, bring it to life.”
  • The song’s introductory guitar riff would be later incorporated into punk pop band Green Day’s 2005 hit single, “Jesus of Suburbia.”
  • This features in the 2003 movie, School of Rock, starring Jack Black.
  • The White Stripes drummer Meg White started drumming along to Jack White’s cover of this song, inspiring the duo to start the band together shortly after.
  • This was used in the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxyand included on the soundtrack, which is comprised of songs from the ’70s. The soundtrack became the first to hit #1 without any new songs on the track list.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

David Bowie, All The Madmen. According to Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie, this song was inspired by Bowie’s half-brother, Terry Burns, who suffered with serious mental health problems. In 1985, Burns killed himself when he escaped the grounds of the mental hospital where he was staying and put his head in the way of an oncoming train.

In 1993, Bowie released the song “Jump They Say,” which deals with his feelings about Terry’s suicide.

The Man Who Sold The World was an album based on David Bowies older brothers his brothers schizophrenia and his fear he would have it too. For example, in the song “All The Madmen” he sings “Day after Day, they take my friends away to mansions cold and grey to the far side of town” which references a mental institution. It also talks about lobotomy’s and other things referring to mental health. In the end, the line “zane, zane, zane ouvre le chien” is repeated, which translates to “opens the dog”. Quite psychedelic stuff. Not to mention “The Supermen”, which talks about ancient beings that guarded “loveless isles” “when all the world was very young”.

Ziggy Stardust: A Memoir To David Bowie, One Of The Most Visionary Icons Of The 20th Century

Christy Lee

David Bowie changed the face of London with his music forever. He was more than just a musician, he was a writer, composer, designer and fan of many. He kept an open mind about everything and was able to constantly adapt, learn and break new boundaries by manifesting new sounds and imagery through his creativity. He was an innovator like no other.

Above: The Linguini Incident 1991

Pop star, rockstar, composer, actor, showman, producer. David Bowie symbolized versatility like few musicians could. The constant evolution of his sound and artistic persona have colossal influence on popular culture.

David Bowie: “My personal need to entertain has changed a lot. I think when I was young, I was about creating theatricality, creating a more artificial kind of parallel reality on stage, but as Ive gotten older over the last 5 or 6 years Ive really fallen into the comfort of actually adjusting into the tempo of the songs.

“As far as style is concerned I dont think I really want to have a style. I much prefer to be sort of a free agent and move from one thing into another and where my enthusiasms take me.”

The cacophony of androgyny, the science fiction look, the colors, the dyed hair. This was all red meat to designers. Clearly David was a genius in that area as well.

David Bowie didn’t just entertain, he intrigued and invoked. After 50 years in the spotlight the legendary musician somehow managed to retain a sense of mystery.

Along with the Beetles and Elvis Presley, Bowie obliterated musical boundaries and defined what pop music should be. He left a permanent mark on more than one generation.

Above: Photo of David Bowie Circa 1967

It took years of hard work for David Roger Jones to emerge as one of the most influential figures in music.

Growing up in the austerity of post war Britain he came of age in the swinging sixties. He was born in the Brixton suburbs of London in 1947.

Bowie was introduced to rock and roll at an early age through his brother Terry’s record collection. The recurring theme of mental instability of Bowies early work connects to Terry and his cruel grandmother.

Madness was the refrain playing in his families background. Three of his mothers sisters reportedly became psychotic, likewise Terry, his half brother.

You have to go back a generation to understand what made him tick. His maternal grandmother, Margaret Burns, was a cruel woman who took her anger out on anyone around her. Bowies mother Peggy was the eldest of six children. Peggy was beautiful and modeled lingerie.

She met a glamorous French barman, fell in love and became pregnant with Bowies brother Terry, Bowies half brother. Soon after she gave birth he disappeared without a trace.

Because the stigma of illegitimacy was so strong back then, her mother Margaret looked after Terry from the age of 6 months. In passing him to Margaret, Peggy had unwittingly created a natural experiment. Terry was raised by a woman who had nurtured three psychotic daughters.

Bowie got a subtly different deal.

Margaret was emotionally abusive to Terry. Rebuked by her for some misdemeanour, he smirked out of nervousness. Margaret said “go on, laugh again’, and he nervously did again so she smacked him across the ear and said, “that’ll teach you to laugh at me”.

Such abuse is the single strongest childhood predictor of schizophrenia, more so even than sexual abuse.

Terry was later institutionalized with schizophrenia and committed suicide in 1985. This deeply affected Bowie as he loved his brother and visited him frequently.

Above: Bowie And Older Brother Terry Burns Photographed Early 1960’s

Peggy married in 1946 and gave birth to Bowie born David Jones, the next year. Both Peggy and Bowie’s father, John Jones were physically undemonstrative but John was affectionate to his son. He took him to pop concerts and bought him a saxophone at age nine.

Above: David Bowie With His Mother Peggy Jones Circa Early 1950’s.

During David Jones adolescence there was one indelible incident in 1962 which would forever change his image. The incredible photogenic eyes were a result of his being punched by his friend George. It just changed the look of his eye to a much lighter shade of blue which worked out in his favor so bizarrely he owed his friend George. They remained friends after the incident which was a one time thing to which his friend really regretted after.

David Bowie never really cared for his own singing voice and performed his own songs because no one else would sing them. He was quoted saying he would give someone else’s right arm to find someone who would sing his songs.

Bowies early musical interests were blues influenced and he formed a few bands before reaching Space Oddity.

Bowie regularly frequented an underground psychedelic club called ” Middle Earth”, located in London where he performed with his band, “Feathers” with Hermione Farthingale his girlfriend at the time. He wasn’t doing the lead singing in this group, he was more of a mime artist in this group. He was magnetic on stage. Some years later Hermione left David and the group Feathers as she was doing small scale films and fell in love with another actor. David was broken hearted.

Above: Bowie And Farthingale of Feathers 1969

Bowie almost decided to leave the music scene all together. “IT” is one of the most intriguing stories to resurface in the wake of David Bowie’s death: the tale of how the rock legend almost became a Buddhist monk in Scotland.

Bowie was considering becoming a member of the Samye Ling Monastery in Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway in the late 1960s, according to reports. But he heeded the advice of a Tibetan monk who advised him to concentrate on music instead.

But how long Bowie spent at the monastery and what he did there has been lost in the mists of time. One obituary even claimed he had helped establish Samye Ling, which was set up in 1967 as Britain’s earliest Tibetan centre and Buddhist temple.

He told a close friend Mary Finnigan that while he was there he never really lost the music. It was with him all the time. It was just buzzing through his head. He realized I think that he was not being true to himself and so he packed up and went back to London.

In a Russell Harty interview in 1976 via satellite from Burbank California. David Bowie stated his opinion on being disciplined.

David Bowie: “Discipline doesn’t mean getting up every morning at 8 and having breakfast and leaving your flat at half past 8. Discipline is if you conceive of something you decide whether or not its worth following through and if its worth following through well then you follow it through to its logical conclusion and do it with the best of your abilities. Thats a discipline. Whether there are areas in it not to ones liking you have to go back and re-do it”.

He was always focused and driven. During the time he was sitting around the flat not doing much he was constantly composing. He was never idle.

David Bowies skills of being a great story teller remain unparalleled.

David didn’t write love songs. At a time where everyone was writing love songs he never did.

David would often go to La Giocond which was a cafe at 9 Dennmark Street in London’s Tin Pan Alley, where musicians such as David Bowie and Elton John would eat and meet other people in the music. Bowie would sit and nurse a cup of tea for hours because at any moment anyone from the song publishing companies would rush in and say “boy we need a bass player”, or “we need a back up singer”, and you would wait and see if someone would call you in for something.

David Bowie employed a writing technique from William Burroughs where he would write a song, cut it up and rearrange it out if order. You would still have the same meaning but the song would be out of order.

Throughout his career David Bowies style and image were inextricably linked to his music. He made the focus on himself and his reinventions.

Bowie was an artist who changed himself frequently and completely. This presented a challenge and caused tremendous problems for his fans who would turn up for his gigs dressed up as last years image and at the end look very sheepish because they realized they were wearing the wrong costume. Bowies fans really made massive efforts to try and look like him. The audience became a sea of a multitude of Bowies multiple personas. Bowie was the master of reinvention.

Some of Bowies groundbreaking work would come from his band Spiders From Mars such as The Man Who Sold The World, followed by Hunkey Dory which introduced the sexual ambiguity that would become a part of Bowies imagery.

Bowie photographed in a dress on the cover of his album The Man Who Saved The World released November 4th 1970 was extremely edgy and unheard of for that time. Heres David Bowie essentially saying to gay males to not be afraid to be themselves and not change who they are inside.

He was already giving the signals that he was going to blur the lines.

One object of Bowies admiration was New York pop icon Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol was a massive figure in Davids life in the late 60’s to early 70’s and what The Factory was doing in New York. David wrote a song for Andy Warhol titled “Andy Warhol” on the album, Hunky Dori. He said, “Its different from anything Ive ever done.”

On July 3, 1973 Bowie released The Starman. “The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.” This is the story of David Bowie’s fifth album, the masterwork that would immortalise him as the world’s biggest pop star.

Bowie was already planning his next move. In 1973 Bowie announced the retirement of Ziggy.

By the mid 70’s David Bowie metamorphosed again. Still breaking new musical ground. “Station To Station” provided a dose synthetic funk and introduced Bowies more toxic alter ego, The Thin White Duke.

The cocaine fueled paranoia that seeped through Station To Station reflected Bowies increasingly troubled state of mind. Exacerbated with legal and financial troubles with former managers or damagers as Bowie liked to call them.

Spying Through a Keyhole contains demos and rarities from Bowie’s “Space Oddity” era

A new David Bowie box set has been announced. The collection, titled Spying Through a Keyhole (Demos and Unreleased Songs), contains 7″ vinyl singles featuring unreleased tracks. The box is due out this spring (via Parlophone Records). Among the nine recordings in the box are two demos of “Space Oddity.” Check out the cover artwork below, and find more information at Bowie’s website.

Parlophone has been releasing David Bowie box sets annually for a number of years, beginning with 2015’s Five Years 1969-1973. The label then released Who Can I Be Now? in 2016, A New Career in a New Town in 2017, and Loving the Alien last year.

More Changes

But just as quickly as Bowie transformed himself into Stardust, he changed again. He leveraged his celebrity and produced albums for Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. In 1973, he disbanded the Spiders and shelved his Stardust persona. Bowie continued on in a similar glam rock style with the album Aladdin Sane (1973), which featured “The Jean Genie” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” his collaboration with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Around this time he showed his affection for his early days in the English mod scene and released Pin Ups, an album filled with cover songs originally recorded by a host of popular bands, including Pretty Things and Pink Floyd.

By the mid 1970s Bowie had undergone a full-scale makeover. Gone were the outrageous costumes and garish sets. In two short years he released the albums David Live (1974) and Young Americans (1975). The latter album featured backing vocals by a young Luther Vandross and included the song “Fame,” co-written with John Lennon and Carlos Alomar, which became Bowie’s first American number one single.

In 1980 Bowie, now living in New York, released Scary Monsters, a much-lauded album that featured the single “Ashes to Ashes,” a sort of updated version of his earlier “Space Oddity.”

Three years later Bowie recorded Let’s Dance(1983), an album that contained a bevy of hits such as the title track, “Modern Love” and “China Girl,” and featured the guitar work of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Of course, Bowie’s interests didn’t just reside with music. His love of film helped land him the title role in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). In 1980, Bowie starred on Broadway in The Elephant Man, and was critically acclaimed for his performance. In 1986, he starred as Jareth, the Goblin King, in the fantasy-adventure film Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson and produced by George Lucas.  Bowie performed opposite teenage Jennifer Connolly and a cast of puppets in the movie, which became a 1980s cult classic. 

Over the next decade, Bowie bounced back and forth between acting and music, with the latter especially suffering. Outside of a couple of modest hits, Bowie’s musical career languished. His side project with musicians Reeve Gabrels and Tony and Hunt Sales, known as Tin Machine, released two albums, Tin Machine (1989) and Tin Machine II (1991), which both proved to be flops. His much-hyped album Black Tie White Noise(1993), which Bowie described as a wedding gift to his new wife, supermodel Iman, also struggled to resonate with record buyers.

Oddly enough, the most popular Bowie creation of that period was Bowie Bonds, financial securities the artist himself backed with royalties from his pre-1990 work. Bowie issued the bonds in 1997 and earned $55 million from the sale. The rights to his back catalog were returned to him when the bonds matured in 2007.

Later Years

In 2004, Bowie received a major health scare when he suffered a heart attack while onstage in Germany. He made a full recovery and went on to work with bands such as Arcade Fire and with the actress Scarlett Johansson on her album Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008), a collection of Tom Waits covers.

Bowie, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, was a 2006 recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He kept a low profile for several years until the release of his 2013 album The Next Day, which skyrocketed to number 2 on the Billboard charts. The following year, Bowie released a greatest hits collection, Nothing Has Changed, which featured the new song “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime).” In 2015, he collaborated on Lazarus, an Off-Broadway rock musical starring Michael C. Hall, which revisited his character from The Man Who Fell to Earth

Bowie released Blackstar, his final album, on January 8, 2016, his 69th birthday. New York Times critic Jon Pareles noted that it was a “strange, daring and ultimately rewarding” work “with a mood darkened by bitter awareness of mortality.” Only a few days later, the world would learn that the record had been made under difficult circumstances. 

Death and Posthumous Recognition

The music icon died on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday. A post on his Facebook page read: “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.”

He was survived by his wife Iman, his son Duncan Jones and daughter Alexandria, and his step-daughter Zulekha Haywood. Bowie also left behind an impressive musical legacy, which included 26 albums. His producer and friend Tony Visconti wrote on Facebook that his last record, Blackstar, was “his parting gift.”

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

David Bowie: Hunky Dory

I have come to realize that David Bowie has one of the richest catalogues in all of music. I previously reviewed 3 of my favorites by the legend, and discovered that choosing just one more was not going to be easy, considering just how many monumental disks were remaining that deserve to be on this list. Hunky Dory (1971) made the cut because it contains my all-time favorite Bowie song (Life On Mars?), as well as Changes, Eight Line Poem, Andy Warhol, Quicksand, Song For Bob Dylan, and the utterly amazing Oh! You Pretty Things.

Hunky Dory has been acclaimed as one of David Bowie’s best works, and has made many lists of greatest albums of all time.

I could have just as easily chosen Young Americans, Diamond Dogs, Station To Station, Heroes, Let’s Dance, or even one of the later ones like Heathen or his final album, Blackstar. Honestly, it came down to Life On Mars? That is just such a perfect song.

Rick Wakeman’s piano, coupled with those randomly poetic images that are totally open to interpretation, and that absolutely glorious voice!

David Bowie was eloquent, stylish, fearless, elegant, and an innovator in many styles of music right up until the end. There will never be another like him.

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