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Jobraith’s “Earthling” (1973)


In one of the interviews included in, “Bowie on Bowie,” Bowie reflected that the entire Glam Rock movement— which he said was not a movement— consisted of himself, T-Rex and Roxy Music.  He acknowledged imitators, who he did not think highly of.  Specifically, he named Jobraith, who I had heard of but don’t remember ever actually hearing.  “Very strange guy,” Bowie said, “he was at like every concert when I first went to the States, my number one fan.”  But when the fan picked up the mic, Bowie characterized Jobraith’s act as a “despicable performance” and a “mistake.” 

So, it was time for me to look up Jobraith.  If you Google him, you will find a bunch of images that look like Ziggy Stardust.  Soon enough I found an image that I’m assuming is album art that I recognized, almost.  Todd Haynes’ 1998 movie about Glam, which was loosely based on Bowie’s story from the period but references just about everyone even remotely connected to Glam, included very similar album art for the fictional Brian Slade as the extra fictional Maxwell Demon.  So Jobraith gets a nod in that movie.

Thanks to YouTube, I was able to listen to a few Jobraith songs.  Sure enough, he has a song called, “Earthling,” which is many years older than Bowie’s album of the same name.  Make no mistake— Bowie was not covering Jobraith.  Actual lyrics from the Jobraith song: C’mere Earthling; Let me take you aboard for awhile; Let me just have a look; I wanna examine you; Now I put you here; I just wanna see how you’re doin’; C’mon now pull ’em down and let me see.

Worse still…actually no,not worse, but still bad, are Jobraith’s vocals.  I’ll include a YouTube recording, but please do not feel compelled to listen.   Jobraith sounds like he’s trying to imitate a rock band for comedic effect, but he’s not especially funny.  I guess he had a following, but I’m not surprised he’s not especially remembered today.  Not everything Bowie influenced was a triumph…

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