The recent passing of David Bowie was a shock to us all. For an artist well known to be one who stood up for the Outsider, it was quite obvious that he touched All- rarely has media, social and otherwise, been so united in its praise.
There is very little that hasn’t been said or commented on, such was/is the Power that is/was [Tizwaz?]David Bowie. He left us so much and left us in such a way that it feels like he hasn’t really left- that it’s all OK. Inspirational and Empowering to the end [or is it?].
We all remember and reminisce about what he meant to us as individuals. I read that the people who will feel his passing the most, will be those who were teenagers during the 70’s- as that was where his image and various ch-ch-changes had most impact- wearing a dress, wearing make-up, the arm draped over Mick Ronson’s shoulder on Top Of The Pops- how many egg and chip plates were up-ended in rage and disgust that particular evening? Many a loner, freak and weirdo must have felt the shackles start to loosen as their freedom from society’s confines began to crumble.
So for me, being an 80’s teenager, Bowie was a singles guy. A cassette I received Christmas Day 1981 to go with my new Mono Radio Cassette player, was one of those Red-cased Woolies budget affairs with the years hits, played by session bands, ‘Parade Of Pops’ [this was before the Now, That’s What I Call Music collections] . It was quite a mixture- Lennon’s ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ was very dear to me, because of his untimely death and how upset it made me (it still brings a tear to my eye now, and I can’t sing along to it without welling up), and Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)’ video had made an impression, so I knew that, but three tracks on it really grabbed me, from artists I knew little about [I was only 9]. ‘Going Underground’ by The Jam, ‘Geno’ by Dexys Midnight Runners and ‘Ashes To Ashes’ by David Bowie. He was now on my radar, but really it was only the singles that I knew- Space Oddity, China Girl, Under Pressure, Let’s Dance, Jean Genie, Laughing Gnome (!), Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth(!) etc. etc. In fact, watching The Max Headroom Show, and it’s left-of-centre music videos, meant that I was more familiar with Bauhaus’ cover of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ than Bowie’s! [as well as an early introduction to Jesse Rae- an artist I’d later see performing on On-U Sound’s Pay It All Back Tour- Kilt, Broadsword, helmet and all!]
Interested on hearing more, I did have the ‘Aladdin Sane’ album on various Christmas/Birthday Lists for a few years, but it never came. Then I got into Prince, my musical tastes exploded and I didn’t really think that much about Dave- save for the odd single, such as ‘Jump They Say’, but mainly for the Leftfield mixes.
Dinosaur Jr included a cover of ‘Quicksand’ on their ‘The Wagon’ 12”, and this lead me to listen to ‘Hunky Dory’, the album on which said track resides. And what a find that was for me! This led me to listen to the ‘classic era’ albums. Each of which I’ve grown to love dearly- and I still have many more albums to fall in love with. Thanks for all the music, David.
Rewind to a 12yr old Mini Mod.
I was given the Purple Hearts album ‘Beat That!’ by my mate’s older sister and Mod. I loved it, I still listen to it now- I think the tracks have stood the test of time pretty well, with its mix of teen angst, love and kitchen sink tales, it was the stuff a young teen could relate to (sort of).
All tracks, bar one, where written by the band. The other was written by David Jones. It was ‘I Can’t Help Thinking About Me’
Fast-Forward to late 30’s Dad, one evening, listening to the radio, having a drink, having a dance and cooking dinner- when Marc Riley on 6 music introduces a track by David Bowie before he was David Bowie, as David Jones and The Lower Third- interesting, I thought, good to hear stuff from bands you didn’t know before they ‘made it’.
Only I bloody knew it! I was singing along, with such a strange mixture of happiness, surprise and nostalgia that I’m glad I wasn’t being observed.
The David Jones listed on the Purple Hearts record sleeve had completely passed me by.
We’re always learning.