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Bowie and Politics Chapter 4: The Gouster and the Duke

Lyrics Series

In an alternate reality, David Bowie would have named the album that came to be known as Young Americans, The Gouster instead. Nobody would have known what the word meant, and that’s what his latest manifestation would have come to be called: The Gouster. Bowie, indeed, considered naming the album, The Gouster. And an album by that name was eventually,…

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Divine Symmetry I 19 I “Mrs. Major Tom” by K.I.A./Shinjuku Zulu (2002)

Divine Symmetry

Two weeks ago, I included as part of this series a post about Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)," which describes the same events as Bowie's "Space Oddity." I remain a little baffled about the exact point of that song. Here's another one that once again is about the same sequence of events-- Major Tom leaves Earth and drifts off…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 19 I Stardust (2019)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

When you think of early 70s Bowie, you immediately think of such classic songs as “I Wish You Would,” “Amsterdam,” “My Death” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” No? You don’t? Well, these songs, which Bowie actually did cover (but did not write) in the early 70s were the best the makers of this movie could get. And that should have…

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Coming Soon: Exclusive Interview with Sébastien Bédé

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Sébastien Bédé is a French musician who has created several Bowie reinterpretation videos that sound so distinct that they are like new songs. Last year, I posted one of his videos, his version of “Heathen (the Rays)” (click to link). Here’s another from Heathen. Once again, Bédé captures Bowie’s original vocals but separates them out so you hear them in…

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Bowie Cover of the Week: Joss Stone and friends perform “Let’s Dance”

Songs

This was yet another good week for Bowie covers. There were several well-performed renditions of lesser-known songs, often featuring some sort of innovation. Nonetheless I feel almost compelled to pick this video of Joss Stone and a cast of thousands (well, not literally thousands) including Nile Rodgers performing “Let’s Dance.” Why? Because the performance has a big quality about it,…

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Album 108 I Toy (Box Set) (2021)

Albums

The best thing about Toy is that it allows me to believe that I’m not so much in the tank for Bowie that I convinced myself to like anything he put out. Since I first heard a bootleg version, I’ve never liked it. Now, after having purchased an officially released three-disc box set version…I still don’t like it. The basic…

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Update: Do I still think its going to be Britt?

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Warning: this is a non-Bowie post! —- Back on January 28th I posted a big picture of Alabama Senator Katie Britt, laying down a marker that she was my official prediction to be Donald Trump’s choice for vice president. I wasn’t necessarily going to revisit the matter until Trump makes his choice. And oh, by the way, before I got…

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Exclusive Interview: Dr. Leah Kardos

Interview

Despite listening to David Bowie almost every day since the late 1980s, despite writing about Bowie since 2016, and despite reading multiple books and untold articles about Bowie, I continue to be amazed at what hadn’t occurred to me, what I hadn’t noticed and what I simply didn’t know. One of the great joys in writing this blog is that…

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Coming tomorrow: Exclusive Interview with Leah Kardos!

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Dr. Leah Kardos's 2022 book, Blackstar Theory stands as one of the most insightful and thought-provoking analyses not only of David Bowie's work but of art in general that I have ever read. Dr. Kardos's analytical style, woven with intricate threads of music theory and cultural exploration, is something I aspire to but will never achieve (in part because of…

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Free Form Friday: Good signs of spring, bad signs of spring

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"Free Form Friday" is my weekly non-Bowie related post. Come back tomorrow (and every other day) for more on Bowie. Otherwise, please enjoy... --- It seems like every month this past winter had at least a few days in which I was able to walk around the Albany Pine Bush without a jacket. My weather app is telling me that…

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Bowie and Politics Chapter 3: Rock and Roll Star

Lyrics Series

There’s a contingent of Bowie’s fanbase that has attempt to cast him as a gay icon since the late 1960s. Bowie certainly addressed gay themes, right up through his final album (“Girl Loves Me,” on Blackstar employs “Polari” slang, which was used as a kind of secret language among the gay underground, especially when Bowie was a younger man). Edwards…

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Divine Symmetry I 18 I Madonna’s Lucky Star (1983) v. Bowie’s “Star” Songs

Divine Symmetry

With the release of Let’s Dance, David Bowie was at the height of his pop-stardom in 1983. That’s the same year as the release of Madonna’s self-titled debut album, which opened with a song that made use of one of Bowie’s old tricks, “Lucky Star.” “Star” must have been Bowie’s favorite musical word. There’s “The Prettiest Star (1970); “Star,” “Lady…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 18 I B.U.S.T.E.D. aka Everybody Loves Sunshine (1999)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

What do I say about this obscure movie? Confounding? Frustrating? Disappointing? Noble failure? None of those seem quite right, but you get the idea I didn't fall in love with it. I guess I'll start with the plot: two British gangsters-- street thugs, really-- get out of jail at the same time. Terry, played by Goldie, and Ray, played by…

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Bowie cover of the week: Reginald Borington sings “As the World Falls Down”

Songs

The reason I chose this song for “cover of the week” is simple— this guy’s voice is terrific. Reginald Borington touts himself as “covering songs that nobody under 25 has heard of,” but I’m not sure that this particular song falls into that category. Labyrinth has become and enduring childhood movie and there’s a cohort out there that only, or…

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Coming soon: Exclusive interview with Bowie scholar Leah Kardos!

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Longtime readers of this blog will know that aside from Bowie himself, the person who I have mentioned most in my posts has probably been Dr. Leah Kardos. Among many, many other accomplishments, Dr. Kardos wrote the fascinating book, Blackstar Theory, which deeply analyzes Bowie's later works, especially The Next Day, Blackstar and the play, Lazarus. Not only that, but…

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Exclusive Interview: EgoB

Interview

Roeland Verhaeren, who goes by EgoB is a Belgian musician who was partially inspired by David Bowie. Among his many and varied musical pursuits, EgoB has made several Bowie covers, which is how I discovered his work. I featured his covers of “Survive” and “The Prettiest Star” as two separate “covers of the week,” and you can find more of…

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Coming tomorrow: Exclusive Interview with EgoB!

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EgoB is a Belgian electronic musician inspired, in part by Bowie. I’ve featured some of his covers in past installments of “Bowie Cover of the Week” (including this past Monday). He’s composed for commercials that you might have seen, as well as music that is neither for commercials nor Bowie covers. Here, I’m including a link to one of his…

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Free Form Friday: The surprisingly good Star Wars political movie

Free Form Friday

"Free Form Friday" is my weekly non-Bowie related post. Come back tomorrow (and every other day) for more on Bowie. Otherwise, please enjoy... --- The Star Wars franchise has largely devolved into crap. On thin ice at least since the introduction of Ewoks— more than 40 years ago— the once-hip universe has been consumed by the dark side of commercialism,…

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Bowie and Politics Chapter 2: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long Haired Men

Lyrics Series

David Bowie, then named David Jones, first appeared on British television at the age of 17 in 1964, playing the role of an ambiguously-gendered leader of a fictional group. But it wasn’t a musical group, rather it was a political advocacy group — the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long Haired Men. Bowie (I’ll call him Bowie), made…

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Divine Symmetry I 17 I Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” versus… you know…

Divine Symmetry

If you don’t recognize the name of this song, you’ve probably heard it, though quite possibly what you’ve heard is the German version, and the only part you might understand is “Major Tom.” If that’s the case, and you don’t think about it too much, you might assume that the appearance of “Major Tom” is either a coincidence or some…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 17 I Extras (2006)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

Extras was a good sitcom about (at least in part) about a bad sitcom. More specifically, it was about the misadventures of Andy Millman, played by Ricky Gervais, who rises from being an “extra” on stage and screen to the star of a lowbrow and critically savaged, but popular television comedy. Each episode featured a guest appearance by an enormously…

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Bowie cover of the Week: EgoB performs “The Prettiest Star”

Songs

“The Prettiest Star” has an interesting history. Before he recorded a version for Aladdin Sane, Bowie recorded a version with Marc Bolan playing guitar, and he offered it to Mott the Hoople, who instead took and made a hit out of “All the Young Dudes.” Bowie supposedly wrote the song for his wife, Angie (who also, at least according to…

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Bowie’s on display in Florence, and AI Explains Why…

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An exhibit of Bowie photos by Masayoshi Sukita is going on display in Florence, Italy from May to July. So, there, images of Bowie will take their place alongside Michelangelo’s Statue of David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Of course, these aren’t just any pictures of Bowie— many are iconic pictures taken by an accomplished photographer. Somehow, though, I don’t…

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Exclusive Interview: Joakim Schiller of dB: The Bowie Experience

Interview

One of the great joys of maintaining this blog, and especially the “Cover of the Week” feature I post on Mondays, is my discovery of bands and performers from all over the world. DB: The Bowie Experience is a Swedish band that I would have otherwise never encountered (well, that is, until they become international superstars). The band performs Bowie…

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Coming tomorrow: Exclusive Interview with Joakim Schiller of dB: The David Experience!

Songs

If you enjoyed this week’s “Cover of the Week,” come back tomorrow for an interview with Joakim Schiller of the band who made that video, dB: The Bowie Experience. DB is a Swedish Bowie cover band, and here’s their version of “China Girl” as a special added bonus (don’t worry, tomorrow’s interview will be accompanied by a third video from…

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Free Form Friday: My Time Thing

Free Form Friday

Here’s the game: Figure out how many degrees of separation you are from George Washington. My answer is seven. How? I met Ted Kennedy, who, as a child met FDR*, who in turn met Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of State was John Hay, who as a younger man worked for Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln (briefly) served in Congress with John…

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Bowie and Politics Chapter 1: Teenaged Satyrs and Tricoteuses

Lyrics Series

Conservative intellectual Allan Bloom identified in his bestselling 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind, the very personification of the libertine moral relativism he opposed. That person was not David Bowie. It was Mick Jagger. Jagger, Bloom wrote, “…played the possessed lower-class demon and teen-aged satyr up until he was forty, with one eye on the mobs of children…

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Divine Symmetry I 16 I “Space Cowboy” v. “Space Oddity”

Divine Symmetry

The absolute pinnacle of space, as a matter of public consciousness, was probably 1969, the year I was born and the year of the first moon landing. It was also the year David Bowie released what would become his first hit, “Space Oddity,” and the Steve Miller Band would release “Space Cowboy.” The two songs are not a reaction to…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 16 I Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture (1973-1979-1983-2023-20??)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

I’ll start with an admission: I haven’t watched this film all the way through in quite a while, despite a worldwide release of a “restored” version last year. This is in part due to last year’s release not showing at local drive-ins (I still don’t go to indoor movie theaters). But the bigger reason is that clips from the film…

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Cover of the Week: dB — the Bowie Experience performs “Life on Mars”

Songs

In 2006 Bowie appeared on the comedy show, Extras, starring Ricky Gervais. At some point the two did an appearance where they talked about the show. In the episode, Gervais’s character encounters Bowie at a restaurant, inspiring Bowie to compose a song on the spot denigrating the lead character. It’s hilarious. Anyway, in discussing the episode, Gervais said that he…

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Record Collector Magazine features Bowie on two covers

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Record Collector Magazine, a magazine about collecting records, features Bowie on the cover of two different versions of it’s February issue. I’ve included both images here, as well as a screenshot taken from the magazine’s web site (chick on the bolded words to visit the web site), suggesting that Bowie frequently grace’s the publication’s cover. I haven’t seen the article…

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Exclusive Mr. Hartgrave Interview featuring his cover of “Life on Mars”

Interview, Songs

Not unlike Bowie’s, I hear the voice of Mr. Hartgrave almost every day. Mr. Hartgrave is a celebrity among players of the mobile game, Marvel Strike Force. I’ve been playing the game, with two breaks, since 2018. Mr. Hartgrave’s YouTube channel is required viewing (or listening) for anyone who wants to play the game at a high level. Plus, its…

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Coming tomorrow: Exclusive Interview with Mr. Hartgrave, featuring his cover of “Life on Mars”

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Within the specialized (but global) community that plays the game Marvel Strike Force, Mr. Hartgrave is a celebrity content creator. He’s also a skilled musician. Come back tomorrow for an exclusive interview featuring his with a great cover of “Life on Mars.”

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