Happy David Bowie Day!

by Kevin Williamson

The whole world, it would seem, has fallen back in love with David Bowie.  Today (on his 66th birthday) Bowie released Where Are We Now?  – his first single for ten years.  Going by first reactions the Midas touch which once seemed unassailable (1969-1983) may have returned.  Where Are We Now? has gone straight to Number 1 on iTunes and Bowieheads, old and new, are re-affirming their vows of fidelity.

Its not a bad single it has to be said.  The trademark vocal clarity and ambiguous haunting lyrics – so brutally annihilated in the Tin Machine era – sit beautifully on top of the lush arrangement.  The song starts with a railway reference which I’m happy with.  Okay, its not quite the epic pounding intro to ‘Station to Station’ but its good to see the man have a backward glance.  Bowie’s greatest music was arguably his Berlin period in the mid-70s and the city is referenced in the next line.  “As long as there’s fire,”  croons the grand old dame of rock, melancholia crackling in the haze. Another backward nod, this time to Cat People perhaps?  Five listens in the song still sounds not bad at all.

There’s a new album on the way too.  ‘The Next Day‘ is released on 11th March and the track listing suggests an artist in reflective and self-referential mood:

‘The Next Day’
‘Dirty Boys’
‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’
‘Love Is Lost’
‘Where Are We Now?’
‘Valentine’s Day’
‘If You Can See Me’
‘I’d Rather Be High’
‘Boss Of Me’
‘Dancing Out In Space’
‘How Does The Grass Grow’
‘(You Will) Set The World On Fire’
‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’
‘Heat’

Damn it, this writer is excited.  Bowie was a godlike presence to myself and to many teenagers in the 1970s. The first LP I ever bought was Aladdin Sane in 1974.   It came with a printed lyric sheet which I pored over in my bedroom, night after night, trying to decipher ideas I was too young to understand or fully appreciate. I had no idea who Billy Doll was, nor what a quaalude was, but the words sounded exotic and otherworldly.  The idea of Time falling wanking to the floor was, eh, way over my head, yet there was something captivating and mysterious at the heart of this music. There was nothing like it at the time. And as a first encounter with poetry it had quite an impact.

Anyway, back to the present, and it’s good to see the return of the wrinkly white Duke and on such great form too.  It’s given us Bowie afficionados another chance to ask the question that once ranked alongside “What’s the meaning of life?” Namely: “What’s the greatest ever Bowie album?’

The answer, of course, is Station To Station.  Ain’t it?

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Categories: Music

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15 replies

  1. I’m just glad, after I saw #DavidBowie trending on Twitter, that he had’t died or been arrested for sexual abuse.

    • His reputation remains unsullied. Which is not bad going for a cocaine-addicted cross-dressing bisexual who dallied with Nazi iconography.

      KW

    • “I’m just glad, after I saw #DavidBowie trending on Twitter, that he had’t died or been arrested for sexual abuse.” – Tell me about it…

  2. Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars is the best because it was the BIG one

  3. Never had you down as a Bowie fan, Kevin.

    I have a few albums of his myself…

    Always thought that his influence on Punk was very underrated.

    Alw

  4. For me it’s got to be Space Oddity. It absolutely summed up the attitude of the time by his/my generation.
    Like the new single a lot, seems he’s still got a lot to give.

  5. For about seven months, in the mid-nineties, I was a black-hack driver in Glasgow. I wasn’t very good at it. I played Tin Machine a lot – in the cab. Looking back now, I can see why I didn’t get many tips. (Mind you, I didn’t get much bovver.)
    Happy Birthday the Bowser.

  6. Hunky dory has to be the best Bowie album ( well, ’twas my first, and these early fidelities matter). Many adolescent nights pondering life on mars…

    • I’m with you, Hunky Dory is my favourite. I saw Bowie at a rain drenched Murrayfield, 1983 , the Thompson Twins and Icehouse were on and David was dressed in an electric blue suit, ahhhhh.

      • Was talking about this gig on Twitter yday. I’ve got the master tapes… (dinnae ask) and what a great set it was too including the Velvets White Light White Heat.

        Here’s a pic of the tapes…

        KW

  7. please please please give me a break , bowie singing an anthem for alzhiemers , there is definitely an argument for early retirement in bowies case , who ,ll love a lad insane ?

  8. i was at that murrayfield gig ,the sound was crap , i used to love bowie , he is part of my teenage angst ,ziggy ,hunky dory alladin sane , young americans etc ,a great era with bowie at his best in my opinion , time for the prettiest star to dim the light gracefully ,you have nothing to prove to anyone , go while the goings good

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