This is probably a very predictable post. I went to bed at 1:30am and all that I saw on Facebook was people talking football; right wing nutbars talking nothing about people on their side, only about how bad Obama is, how Hilary has done this; leftists waxing (and waning) about the absurdity of Donald Trump leading the polls; the overused “If I say hello, I wonder how many people will say hello back” baloney; the usual fodder that is the Book of Faces (that’s also way overused, I apologize). Nothing out of the ordinary. I listened to some Elvis Costello to write the review for the Rolling Stone Top 500 of All Time that I do from time to time (wink), just to pass some time.
Then as I was waking up this morning from The BCPF’s alarm spouting its rousing evil, I heard the awful news on the local “news” outlet. I snapped my head up, trying to clear my old-contacted (that I rarely remove), fogged-over eyes to see if I heard that correctly. I had. The rest of the morning has been a bit of a bummer.
Whilst I came into him late, which is what I can pretty much say about anyone that isn’t KISS, I’d say that I was a Bowie fan. Is David Bowie anywhere near the top of my list? Absolutely not. I’m not going to sit here and do what many people do and write, talk or insinuate anything about the recently passed by talking about how influential he is, how he changed my life or how he’s the greatest that ever lived.
He was great and he was on a level all by himself. He was what he needed to be. He was a constantly evolving revolutionary. He shocked. He was an enigma. People didn’t know how to handle him. Was he a man, a woman, both? He did that before Prince was even out of school. He was a spaceman, an alien, part of The (Tin) Machine. He’s been everything he needed to be. For some, that was what they needed him to be, too. There are some that would say that he changed their lives. We all have something in our lives that is exactly the same way. It brings us out of what may be ailing us. Music has always been that way to me. His ability and willingness to evolve also enabled musicians, both contemporary and those to come later, to do the same thing.
What may (or may not) shock people is when I tell them that my first exposure to Bowie, at all, was “Blue Jean,” and at that time, I hated that song. I lived in West Virginia and we didn’t have radio that played all this stuff. Until the early ’80s, there wasn’t a true popular music station where I was. Plus, remember that I didn’t listen to anything at all, other than KISS, until around 1979 and then it wasn’t until 1983 or so before I started stepping outside the KISS realm to seek out music. We got “Night Tracks” on TBS around 1984 and that was his latest single. I admit, I was still skittish about anything outside my kabuki-greased heroes, so whilst I’m not proud of my thinking back then, that’s just the way it was.
There are plenty of his “hits” that I don’t care for. Other than the guitar riff, I don’t care anything about “Rebel Rebel.” “Young Americans,” “The Jean Genie,” “Suffragette City” and “Golden Years” are also a few I just don’t like. I know the duet with Mick Jagger was probably a publicity stunt but I’ve never cared about “Dancing in the Street.” The duet with Queen, however, I love. Have always and will always.
All of that being said, just as I did with So from Peter Gabriel, I have made a push to do Bowie with the Vagabond Saints Society. The difference is, I don’t want to do an album by Bowie, I want to sing the Best of Bowie album. This would require some of those that I don’t like but it would be worth it. VSS doesn’t do “greatest hits” albums, though. The obvious choice, in my mind, would be The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I get that absolutely and I’d be up for that, as well. I’ve gotten to where I listen to the Best of Bowie album a good deal. I really dig that.
I told a few of the songs I don’t like, so I’ll talk very briefly of the songs that I do like. I’m a fan of: “Space Oddity,” “Starman,” “The Man Who Sold the World,”Ziggy Stardust,” “Fame,” “Heroes,” “Changes,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Fashion,” “Let’s Dance,” “China Girl,” “Modern Love” and yes, even “Blue Jean.” I can listen to those without getting tired of them.
Bowie was one year to the day older than Ma Père. They both were born on January 8, Bowie in 1947, Ma Père, 1948. Elvis was born on that day in 1935. Bowie had a secret battle with cancer over the last eighteen months. His family knew. The last album, Blackstar, released just this past Friday (his birthday), has gathered positive reviews I haven’t had a chance to listen, yet, but I liked the last one, even though I only listened once. I think it was fitting but the last single (and video) from that album was entitled “Lazarus.” It seems that most lyrics on this album is a foretelling of his eventual death. It was planned to be his goodbye from what I can tell. I will listen to it, perhaps today, in honor of that. No cancer is good. Liver cancer has to be really awful. I believe I have a former cousin-in-law who passed from that. He was strong and I’d venture held on as long as possible. Thoughts to Iman and his family. Being as I’m non-religious, I couldn’t say if he went to “heaven” but I bet no matter where he is in the Great Wherever that he and Freddie and John Lennon are somewhere writing music together. Rest well, Thin White Duke. Shine on.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles, I’m feeling very still. And, I think my spaceship knows which way to go. Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows. Ground Control to Major Tom: Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong. Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom?” – “Space Oddity” (Bowie)