SNV30239

SNV30239

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Monday, 11 January 2016

The day David Bowie died

I had a lie in this morning, and when I did wake up, the news was everywhere. Radio, TV, Social Media. Just everywhere, David Bowie had died aged 69.


I'd barely  time to finish my first cup of coffee before my phone rang...and I was being asked to go on air on BBC Radio Leicester where I work, to share my memories of David Bowie and what was it about him that ensured his longevity in the spotlight.

When I say "my memories", I didn't know him personally, but I have been a life long fan of his since I first saw him perform live way back in 1973 at the New Theatre, Coventry.

It was part of the Ziggy Stardust  tour which had started back in 1972 in England. Criss crossing the country, then across the USA before returning to England. Bowie and in his band must have been exhausted but believe you me, there wasn't any sign of ennui from either him or the rest of the gang.


I'd never seen a performance like his. My friend Jude and I were entranced by the sheer outlandishness of the set, the lighting, the costumes, the sheer theatricality of it all. Bowie coming on stage in an eye catching outfit, only for two girls to come and rip it off, leaving him wearing a strangely printed leotard. A very skin tight leotard it was. He was all legs and teeth.
Bowie was everywhere, strutting around the stage, with a fervour, a sense of other worldliness.
And the music...oh the music. Such tight riffs, such energy, Bowie's authoratative voice with Mick Ronson's guitars...the excitement they were generating  was being lapped up by the audience , this really was a gig to remember. I especially remember being shocked (well I was young then) by the provocative postures and interaction between David and Mick...



The word "legend"is so over used, but David Bowie was one. Really he was. How many other musicians could have pulled off the outrageous Ziggy Stardust incarnation...and then sweep on to other personas, other identities with such integrity and conviction?



This morning, I went straight to my bookcase to get this out...it's a classic, published in 2005. The text is by Bowie, and the  photographs are taken by Mick Rock, who oh so faithfully  recorded these great images from that long Ziggy Stardust tour back in 1972 and 1973. A lovely book.




He was a master of reinvention, always striving to create something different , something new. Something that others copied. He said that the flash on the original Ziggy Stardust set was taken from the high voltage signs which were on boxes with dangerous amounts of electricity. "But I was not a little peeved when Kiss purloined it. Purloining after all was my job"


But he also had integrity, a professionalism and a heart.
I love the story of when he found out that  "Mott the Hoople "were about to disband...they weren't making enough money so he offered them a song to record - "Suffragette City". They didn't take him up on this so he wrote "All the young dudes" especially for them...and it was a big hit.

No wonder he's been an inspiration to other musicians for so many years, both as a songwriter and performer. No wonder he's been such a fashion icon....and no wonder the fans loved him.

Click here to hear my thoughts, my memories...

 

4 comments:

  1. You were lucky to have seen him live. I loved most of his music. It's very sad.

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    1. Yes Anne, I was very lucky! What was your favourite track of his? I can't decide between Rebel rebel, all the young dudes, young Americans or oh you pretty thing!

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  2. Great post. I never saw Bowie live either. I have to disagree with one statement you've made. You said that he WAS a legend. I disagree. He IS a legend and always will be.

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  3. Thanks Ros...sorry you didn't see him. Point taken about the tense when describing Bowie !

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