Bowie By-Gone

January 11, 2016

Diamond_dogsIn my own personal history, one of the weirdest, disconcerting moments for me was when I first glimpsed David Bowie’s, ‘Diamond Dogs‘ album in a record store — a freaked-intellectual stare of madness right out into the open air — times were feeling strange.

The summer of 1974 was way-extraordinary for me, and although not at all a ‘glam rock‘ fan, that album cover has always been like a significant-historical signpost on my weird-ass, ragged journey of living.
Oddity is I never bought ‘Diamond Dogs,’ nor do I recollect ever hearing the songs off the album, then called by Rolling Stone, ‘…perhaps Bowie’s worst album in six years.’

(Illustration found here).

My younger sister did have “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” so I’d heard Bowie, and enjoyed some aspects, but mostly a bit too ‘out-there’ for my tastes.

The connection 41 years ago was my then-infatuation with ‘Mott the Hoople,’ a nearly-glam outfit in which Bowie also seemed infatuated, and especially the album, ‘All the Young Dudes,’ which I played on my cheap-ass Sears-Roebuck stereo until the vinyl nearly warped. ‘Dudes‘ had actually been released two years earlier, but only caught my attention in the summer ’74.
This set of words for awhile was more-than memorized:

“Now Lucy looks sweet ’cause he dresses like a queen
But he can kick like a mule it’s a real mean team
But we can love oh yes we can love
And my brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones
We never got it off on that revolution stuff
What a drag too many snags
Now I’ve drunk a lot of wine and I’m feeling fine
Got to race some cat to bed
Oh is there concrete all around
Or is it in my head…”
— ‘All the Young Dudes,’ written by David Bowie

News of Bowie’s death this morning a quick-punch to the gut too early — didn’t know the guy was even sick, and he’d released a really-good-reviewed album, “Blackstar” just last Friday.
As in ‘Mott the Hoople,’ Bowie aided-and-abetted artists.
Via the New Yorker this morning:

A natural collaborator, Bowie used his considerable fame to help popularize artists who would have had less of a chance without him.
Nothing’s better than watching Bowie play keyboards for Dinah Shore on her TV show in 1977.
He was there to support an artist he loved — Iggy Pop, whose seminal, first solo album, “The Idiot,” had come out that year.
In an interview on MTV, recorded in 1990, Pop talked about how Bowie had rescued him, basically, from being a street person, and helped him to become an artist.
On the Shore show, Pop’s outrageous body gyrates, twists, and turns as he sings “Sister Midnight;” at one point you can hear Bowie laughing at all the antics.
Bowie then sits down with Shore, she of genteel nineteen-forties movie musicals, and attempts to explain, with great seriousness and in depth, why Pop was important, and why their collaboration worked.

And “China Girl” is one of the neatest songs ever…

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