Sunday, April 1, 2012

B is for Bowie

B is a difficult letter to find an artist for, not because of lack of choice but because there is too much.

The B-52s, Bananarama, Billy Bragg, the Beach Boys and Bjork all come to mind and then on a higher tier entirely there's Blondie, Blur and the Beatles - surely the most innovative and creative group in the history of forever.

But I chose Bowie because he's a bit out there and is surely the coolest singing artist alive. I didn't fully appreciate him growing up, although the eerie other world nature of Ashes to Ashes had a big impact on my early teens.

Through his outlandish costumes and numerous changes Bowie helped set the scene for punk and the New Romantic era and all of the movements that made it so exciting to grow up in the eighties.


 While Bowie emphasizes British coolness he has a curious transatlantic quality. While Americans often see Brits as cooler and more innovative, it was the other way round growing up in Britain.

Bowie, formerly David Jones, whose voice was considered "adequate" in the school choir, famously heard "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard and declared he had "heard God."

One interesting line stands out from his Wikipedia entry.

"When Bowie left the technical school the following year, he informed his parents of his intention to become a pop star. His mother promptly arranged his employment as an electrician's mate."




Fortunately Bowie sought electricity elsewhere and became Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, generally forgetting who he really was, taking too many drugs and losing the plot while still producing amazing material. At his most androgynous best Bowie was compared to Lauren Bacall, although his Ziggy character reminded me more of my aunt Joan on acid; or at least how she would have looked on acid.

Then Bowie reinvented himself again in the eighties as a slick character with blond hair and a white suit.

Bowie faded out somewhat after that but when I saw him on stage in the 1990s I was amazed by his energy to think here was a guy who was born in the 1940s, throwing himself around the stage.

Bowie's biography suggests he was a pain in the backside, as well as a perfectionist, a sure sign of real genius.



Curious Fact about David Bowie - David Bowie appears to have different colored eyes. This is a result of serious damage to one eye sustained in a fight with his best friend George Underwood over a girl in 1962. They remained friends and Underwood was tasked to do the art on Bowie's early albums.

19 comments:

  1. Very good choice.. saw him in the late 70's. Thanks for the bits of history too.

    C is for The Cars?

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  2. Never did "get" the Bowie fever. I did admire his bold fashion sense though. A wee bit like the 70s version of Gaga.

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  3. love your theme! i like b-52s better, but bowie is good too =)
    happy b day!

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  4. Like your theme - I've included music in my challenge too because I just can't write without music (or live, for that matter.) Love Bowie, but have to admit that the video for Ashes to Ashes always scared the pants off me!

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  5. Haven't been a fan of Bowie or rolling stones for that matter.

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  6. Even my kids love Bowie. They were shocked when I told them the guy in Labyrinth is the same guy who sang Changes.

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  7. I am not afraid to admit that I had a crush on Bowie, when I was growing up. I loved Labyrinth. Of course when I showed my daughter this great movie form when I was younger; she thought I was crazy.

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  8. Like you, I didn't fully appreciate Bowie until the last ten years or so, and now I am amazed by his creativity.

    Did you read the Rolling Stone article on him? Within the last year, I believe...

    Pearl

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  9. Enjoying your musical journey so far - I grew up during the "Let's Dance" era but listened to all the classic Bowie/Ziggy stuff as well. He's the man. Good luck with the challenge!

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  10. Great entry and love David Bowie! I guess you know that the Stones' song, "Angie" is about Angela Bowie?

    I am visiting from the A-Z Challenge! http://tahomabeadworks.blogspot.com/

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  11. great post! found you thru a to z, and will be back to read more!!

    best,
    MOV

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  12. I like some of his creativity, but not a huge fan. Great choice for a post, though!

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  13. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, David Bowie!!! He definitely would have been my "B" pick if I were doing bands as a theme. I think it's his eccentric, otherworldly quality that struck a chord with me.

    And, I still hold that he is the only man on the face of the earth that could get away with wearing tights and still look cool as hell :-)

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  14. I just heard on the radio Bowie's name was Jones, after Davy Jones passed recently. I like the story of the color of his eyes changed in a fight over a girl, weirdly. But more so that the friendship not only survived but thrived.

    ('Ashes to Ashes' is my favorite Bowie tune.)

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  15. Hi Vodka - would have loved to have seen him in the Seventies. Agh. Scots Lass. Pause to gag at the Gaga analogy, lol

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  16. Thanks for the visit Tara - off to check your blog. I know Alex, seriously freaky vid.

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  17. thanks for visiting Rekha, yes that's a hard one to convince a kid of Tim. I know Jessica - my daughter really doesn't get Pink Floyd.

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  18. Hey Pearl - no I need to get hold of it. As in an American, Molly? Thx Jesstopper - you too. For real Jo Jo, didn't know that.

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