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I heard the news today*… Box set released; Bowie in new video; reflections a-go-go; the making of memorable tracks; excuses to go to London and Malta; and much more!

This my weekly summary of news of the about Bowie. The bolded titles link to the original stories I summarize below. As always, there were actually more stories either about Bowie, or in which Bowie is at least mentioned, but this is my selection of the highlights.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Star has begun to hit… and it’s a hit! . The box set featuring music that eventually would become Ziggy Stardust (similar to the Divine Symmetry box set which traced the origins of Hunky Dory was officially released on Friday (some reported receiving their sets in the mail early). The reception has been broadly positive and there were several articles about the release this week. The story that links here is from The Arizona Republic, which I selected among many options in part because unless you are from Arizona, you probably wouldn’t otherwise come across it. But it is also well-written and comprehensive. My own set hasn’t arrived yet, but after it does and I listen to it, I’ll post about it separately. Meanwhile, this was unquestionably the Bowie story of the week.

Bowie and Iggy sing in Fatboy Slim video (?) . Fatboy Slim, the DJ and musician released a video this week for his song, “Role Model,” featuring manipulated footage of a boatload of famous people, mostly from the 20th Century, appearing to sing the song. Three versions of Bowie appear, as does Iggy Pop. It’s good to see them back together. Though this type of technological illusion is less spectacular than it once was, I think Fatboy pulls it off and the overall effect is hilarious.

Iman Reflects. The model, businesswoman and wife of Bowie gave a reflective interview in part about her marriage to In Style, which is linked top here. The event of the interview itself got news in some other outlets. So much of what we know about Bowie is based on his characters and music, which is steps removed from the actual human being, but he seems to have been genuinely loved by his wife and daughter (as well as by his song, Duncan Jones).

Alan Edwards reflects. Publicist Alan Edwards continues touring his book, I Was There, which brought him to talk to Newsweek, which is how this story came about. Edwards’ reflections have appeared in this feature before, but this story is distinct enough to get its own link.

How Bowie played Glastonbury “by accident.” Apparently, back in 2000, festival organizers didn’t want Bowie and Bowie didn’t want to play the festival, but he did and it was great! Made for a good live album, too.

Lulu reflects. Speaking of Glastonbury, Lulu, now 75, is slated to preform there on June 28th. In this profile, she reflects on working with Bowie (though the profile is more about her entire career).

Who can I be now? This article from NME is based on another interview with Alan Edwards. I’ll leave you in suspense to find out how Bowie disguised himself. Sadly, it isn’t something funny like, dressing up like Ziggy Stardust.

Mick Rock Bowie photo exhibit in London. Photos from Mick Rock, possibly Bowie’s greatest photo-chronicler will be on display at the Music Gallery in London through June 29th. The exhibit opened last week but won’t stay for long. So, if you’re there and you are reading this, hurry!

Mediterranean Film Festival to Examine Bowie. This film festival, which will take place in Malta from June 22-30th, will “will honor David Bowie with screenings of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth and Lisa Azuelos’s My Way, plus a masterclass on the musician’s enduring legacy helmed by British Film Commissioner Adrian Wootton titled ‘David Bowie: Celebrating 60 Years of Genius.’” There, I quoted from the key Bowie part of the article, but link to it if you want to read more about the festival. By the way, I’m not familiar with “My way,” however it has to do with the writer of the song by that name, which has a tangential connection to “Life on Mars.” I haven’t seen it, but hey, if you need that as an excuse to go to Malta, that’s as good as any.

The “Epic” “Let’s Dance. Culture Sonar has this nice reflection on the song, “Let’s Dance,” which it deems to be “epic.” “Let’s Dance” and the album of the same name get a kind of bad rap from a lot of Bowie fans, but this considered article (which is as much about the album as the song) makes a pretty compelling case.

Memories of “Memories of a Free Festival.” This brief piece that appeared on a radio station’s webpage economically tells the story of Bowie’s closing track from the Space Oddity album.

Bowie songs for people who don’t like Bowie. American Songwriter, the online magazine that (seems to be) to be partial to lists, posits that even people who don’t like Bowie should like “‘Heroes,'” “Sound and Vision,” “Young Americans” and “Blackstar.” Fair enough, I like all those songs. I’m glad to see that even a four-item list is not trapped entirely in the 70s. A separate article from the same magazine identified “Five Years;” “Panic in Detroit;” “Stay” and “Moonage Daydream” as “deep cuts” for fans of Ziggy Stardust. I question their definition of “deep cuts.” If fans of Ziggy didn’t already know these songs (and since two of them are from the Ziggy album that seems unlikely), well.. if they didn’t know these songs, I guess they are in for a treat.

Did Roger Moore turn Bowie off to James Bond? This story is based off an anecdote from Dylan Jones’ biography of Bowie, and I have read most of its elements before, including that Bowie and Roger Moore were neighbors in Switzerland, and that Moore began to annoy Bowie by stopping by to visit too often. Bowie famously turned down the role of Max Zorin in Moore’s last Bond movie, the awful A View to a Kill. This story has the one leading to the other. I had previously read Bowie’s own stated reasons for turning down the part, which included him not wanting to stand around all day watching a stunt double, and that the role was better for a professional actor (which he didn’t consider himself to be). Christopher Walken eventually did get the part, and he’s the best thing about the movie.

Bowie’s role in popularizing mega-concerts. This history of the mega-concert is heavy on Bowie’s role in popularizing the format. the first time I saw Bowie, it was at such a concert, in Toronto in 1987. Future, more intimate shows were even better, but the Glass Spider experience was quite a spectacle and left me hooked.

Peter Schilling still trying to distance his “Major Tom” from “Space Oddity.” Without denying that Bowie’s song was “in his head” when he wrote the German-language 1983 hit, “Major Tom (Coming Home),” which has been inexplicably enduring and even more inexplicably enjoying a resurgence, Schilling continues to press his claim that his song– released at the height of Bowie’s pop-star fame– was not a rip-off of “Space Oddity.” It is. It tells the same story and has the same characters. Read the story and make your own call, but he should just ‘fess up.

This was a Bowie-news heavy week and I’m leaving quite a bit out, but hey, “we’ve finished our news…”*

“I’ve heard the news today” is Bowie’s adaptation of the Beatles lyric, which is heard in “Young Americans.” “We’ve finished our news” is a line from, “Oh You Pretty Things”.

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