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Site Maintenance: Starman on Top of the Pops (1972) Updated

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Originally Posted 9/17/22): The site maintenance series features alternate videos of songs posted earlier, which I find when fixing an earlier broken link. This case brings us one of Bowie’s most iconic songs which, along with “Space Oddity” probably cemented Bowie’s association with aliens (aliens rarely appear in Bowie’s songs for years after “Ziggy Stardust” but the reputation stuck). This…

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“Starman” from CODA Soundtrack (2021)

Songs

There are a couple of other entries I intended for today but I unexpectedly came across this rendition of “Starman” two nights ago while watching the 2021 Best Picture Oscar winner movie, CODA. In the context of the movie, a high school choir sings “Starman,” and sure enough the entire performance appears on the movie’s soundtrack — here it is.…

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“Heroes” Covered, Final Part: “The Secret Life of Arabia”

Songs

I imagine listening to “Heroes” as a vinyl album— side one featured five intense songs featuring Bowie when his voice, arguably, was at its strongest. Side two featured mostly instrumentals that, while intense in their own way, took things down quite a few notches. Its not just that the songs were instrumental, but heard in their intended order, the songs…

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Hey, wait a minute… where’s “Blackout” (here it is, covered by Momus).

Songs

For those following along with this series of covers of the songs from Bowie’s “Heroes,’ album, you might have noticed I skipped over the song, “Blackout.” That’s because I have been basing this sequence on an article that appeared in the on-line publication, Time Out, which also skipped “Blackout” perhaps by mistake. The song appears after “Sons of the Silent…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 7: Yugennui performs “Neukolln”

Songs

Despite the title of this video, the band performing this, probably the most obscure and least covered pieces from “Heroes,” is called Yugennui. This appeared on an album called, “Baltimore Does Bowie,” which contained Bowie covers by a variety of (presumably) Baltimore-based bands. “Neukolln” is probably the most desolate instrumentals in Bowie’s catalogue. It is named after a neighborhood in…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 6: Dylan Howe performs “Moss Garden”

Songs

I think of Bowie’s instrumentals, at least on “Heroes,” as contributing to the album’s overall ominous sense of dread. That’s not necessarily fair, and “Moss Garden” certainly doesn’t do that. You can easily imagine this playing in the background at a spa. Its relaxing and evocative of its name, or at least the name seems to make sense. Dylan Howe…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 6: hYrtis performs “Sense of Doubt”

Songs

This is an amazing video. French musician hYrtis (real name is apparently Gladys Hulto…and no, i didn’t know her before this video) performs the instrumental on a Theremin. If ever a piece of music was designed for the Theremin, it is this. The way the instrument, which does not involve physical contact, is played allows the artist to maintain a…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 5: The Spookers perform V2 Schneider

Songs

There aren’t many funny moments on the “Heroes” album, but “V2 Schneider” comes close. Mostly instrumental, the one actual lyric is, “V2 Schneider.” My understanding, which I think is the general understanding, is that this is Bowie’s nod to Florian Schneider, from the German band Kraftwerk. Bowie’s synthesizer-heavy music from that time (which, not coincidentally was his Berlin period) was…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 4: Matt Brown sings “Sons of the Silent Age”

Songs

Because of its name, I have long associated “Sons of the Silent Age” with silent movies. Though the lyrics are cryptic, I have kind of instinctually assumed the song was about —- had something to do with silent movies. After all, there’s a reference to “City Limits,” the Charlie Chaplain film, right? Well, I’ve probably been wrong all these years.…

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Alternate version of “Kooks” (1971)

Songs

You know I have an order in for the upcoming four-CD set of early 70s demos and alternate song versions called, “Divine Symmetry.” Ahead of the full set’s release comes this version of, “Kooks,” performed on a BBC show, “Sounds of the 70s Presented by Bob Harris” in 1971. Bowie would later include a more familiar version of the song…

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“Heroes” Covered part 3: Oasis performs “Heroes”

Songs

In contrast to the last two songs, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Joe the Lion,” “Heroes” is one of Bowie’s most frequently covered songs. There are MANY options to choose from. My selection of this cover by Oasis is almost random, except in that it is by a band with which I have some familiarity and I have not heard…

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Last Three Bowie Albums I’ve Listened To

Albums

1. Blackstar. I just finished reading Blackstar Theory, which ends with a deep analysis of Blackstar. So naturally, that’s what I wanted to hear. It keeps getting better, the more I hear it. 2. Low. Basically, I just wanted to listen to it. Also, its easy to have on in the background. 3. Something In the Air. Live album chosen…

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“Heroes” Covered Part 2: Momus sings Joe the Lion

Songs

One of the fun things about this project is discovering new musicians and new pieces of music. This second-in-the-series of covers of the songs from “‘Heroes’” comes from an artist known as Momus, who although I had never previously heard of is actually both prolific and diverse in his output. In addition to being a musician, he’s a journalist and…

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“Heroes” Covered Part. 1: Deliverance performs Beauty and the Beast

Songs

“Far Out” is a British on-line cultural magazine that seems to have a daily article on Bowie. Some of the videos I get for this blog, I first see via “Far Out.” Recently the magazine compiled covers of ever song that appeared on the “‘Heroes’” album. I’m going to kind of reproduce that here. I say, ‘kind of,” because the…

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Actors and Bootblacks perform “Boys Keep Swinging” (2022)

Songs

I’m slightly confused about who all is performing this very faithful cover of, “Boys Keep Swinging.” There’s the Vancouver-based band Actors for sure, then, I think there’s the Brooklyn-based band Bootblacks, and then on top of that, there’s Leathers, which is, I think a third band featuring Shannon Hammett, who is also part of Actors. In any case, this cover…

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Site Maintenance: “I Can’t Explain” (1983)

Songs

“I Can’t Explain” is possibly the song Bowie covered on “Pin Ups” that’s best known from its original artists (The Who). Bowie’s makes the song sound raunchy on that album— when he sings, “its a certain kind,” its tough not to get the idea of what kind of feeling he had in mind. This video is of Bowie performing the…

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Oh You Pretty Things (1972)

Songs

I’m writing this post late in the day and without much steam left, so this is kind of a cheap post…that said, its Bowie in his prime singing once of his best early songs. I’ve commented much on “Oh, You Pretty Things,” and recently posted Peter Noone’s version, which was a hit in its own right. Bowie resurrected the phrase…

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Celebrating David Bowie concert pictures

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The Celebrating David Bowie concert has become an ongoing tour of musicians who previously played with Bowie, performing his songs. I have seen different iterations of this show and lament not going into theaters these days because of COVID, so I’m missing these guides again. The show hit Chicago last night and a Chicago-based publication posted these photos of Adrian…

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Blackstar Theory Thoughts: How Deliberate Was Bowie?

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I have been posting Leah Kardos’ commentaries as she posts them on YouTube. Meanwhile, I have been reading the book from which she bases her commentaries— “Blackstar Theory.” It is the most deeply-thought out analysis of Bowie’s work that I have ever encountered. I have many thoughts, but at the moment I’m going to touch on one: Kardos assigns an…

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Site Maintenance: “Stateside”

Songs

“Stateside” is one of the most infamous songs connected to Bowie. Bowie co-created it as part of Tin Machine, and he plays and sings backup on the song, but the lead singer is Hunt Sales. For many years, on listening to the album, “Tin Machine 2,” I didn’t have much of a reaction to “Statewide.” Its not a good song,…

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Franklin Sane sings “Five Years (till the storm overcomes us)” (2022)

Songs

Frank Szymanski is a Probate Court judge in Detroit. He’s also “Franklin Sane,” a Bowie-inspired rocker, and this is his Bowie inspired song about climate change. I think this is fantastic — at least as a concept. At this point in my own career in public service, I have a job that actually has to do with climate change (which…

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Site Maintenance*: “Glass Spider” (1987/2018)

Songs

“Glass Spider” holds a place of infamy in the Bowie pantheon. The song, from “Never Let Me Down,” lent both its name and imagery to Bowie’s 1987 tour, which was his biggest and most elaborate. Famously, the set was framed by a truly enormous glass spider, and necessarily, Bowie would include this song in every performance on the tour. But…

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Site Maintenance: Pablo Picasso

Songs

The site maintenance series features songs whose original links on earlier blog entries broke. Where I can, I replace those original videos and then add a still different video and updated commentary. Such is the case with this odd song, which Bowie included on his 2003 album, “Reality.” The song is a cover from the proto-punk band, The Modern Lovers,…

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Morrissey sings “I Know Its Gonna Happen Someday” (1992)

Songs

I’m not a fan of Morrissey or this song. I first heard the song when Bowie included it on his 1993 album, “Black Tie/ White Noise,” and I think the song detracts from the overall album. Bowie’s version is done tongue-in-cheek and possibly meant to be making fun of Morrissey’s song, or even Morrissey himself. Why Bowie felt compelled to…

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Peter Noone sings “Oh, You Pretty Things”

Songs

Bowie gave this song to Peter Noone, mostly known as the lead singer of Herman’s Hermits, in 1971. It was Noone’s first solo release and was a hit, reaching #12 on the UK singles chart. Bowie plays piano on this version of the song which I think of, today, more associated with Bowie than Noone. Bowie, of course, included his…

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Tilde Swinton as Bowie (Again)

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Tilda Swinton appeared on Thursday at the premier of her new movie, “The Eternal Daughter,” dressed as early-80s Bowie. As far as I know, the movie has nothing to do with Bowie, but Swinton not only has appeared as Bowie before, but she did so with Bowie himself in the “Stars Are Out Tonight” video from 2013 (which, for some…

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Bowie baby names?

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There’s a spate of articles that are rolling out about how Bowie-inspired baby names have increased in Britain since 2016, when the actual David Bowie died. From an NME article: “According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of boys registered with the name Ziggy, a reference to his acclaimed 1972 album ‘Ziggy Stardust’, at birth in England and…

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Bowie on German TV

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This clip is of Bowie’s appearance in 1978 on the German television show, “Musikladen.” It amounts to a 45-minute concert, with an abbreviated but similar set to what he was performing on the Isolar II tour that year (performances from which are captured on the live album, “Stage”). I had never come across this before but I’m glad I found…

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The Bowie Barbie

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The DavidBowie.com web site currently has a contest going on to win an official Bowie Barbie doll. The doll was released earlier this year and follows a 2019 doll inspired by Ziggy Stardust (see above). Together they are probably the ultimate reminder of how embedded Bowie iconography has become within our popular culture. The image from which the new doll…

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Leah Kardos on “Blackstar”

Songs

This is another of Leah Kardos’ excellent analyses of Bowie’s later works. She is reading from her book, which I am in the process of reading. Hers is the most complex and musically literate analysis of Bowie I have yet encountered, and she demonstrates her full set of skills here, on one of Bowie’s most complex songs. I continue to…

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New Bowie Box Set on Davidbowie.com

Albums

DavidBowie.com is advertising a new box set of early recordings, 48 of which are supposedly never previously released. Below is the track listing. Of course, the previously unreleased songs have all been released in one form or another, but I’m looking forward to hearing these demos and alternate takes. I am hoping the BBC radio concert records are not the…

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Andreony sings “Sunday”

Songs

To close out the Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday cover series, here’s another performer I know nothing about singing a somewhat obscure Bowie song. Coincidently, I recently posted Leah Kardos covering the same song. Its a beautiful song. Did Bowie have a Monday song? Well, “Girl Loves Me” includes the line, “Where the Fuck Did Monday Go?” But that’s not part of the title.…

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Nick Kershaw sings “Drive in Saturday”

Songs

Third in the Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday series… here’s a cover of “Drive in Saturday.” I got to go to the drive in last Saturday, which might have been the last time for the season. I hope not…

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