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Divine Symmetry I 9 I Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me” and Bowie’s “Move On”

Divine Symmetry

At first blush, David Bowie and Frank Sinatra have very little in common, other than, broadly speaking they were both pop stars. Bowie admired Sinatra, placing him alongside Elvis Presley and John Lennon in his holy trinity of role models. I didn’t think Bowie meant that so much in terms of their music (well, at least not when it came…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 8 I Zoolander (2001)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

As was the case with Yellowbeard, a bad comedy, Bowie makes a cameo in Zoolander, a good comedy, in which his mere appearance is supposed to be funny. And it is. Zoolander is a very funny, ridiculous movie about two idiotic male models who end up on a mission to prevent the assassination of the Malaysian prime minister. I’m not…

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Bowie Cover of the Week: Acoustic Moon performs “Cat People”

Songs

The visual elements of this video are pretty simple— a couple of people performing in a basement studio. There were better looking videos this week, but I selected this one because of how it sounds. This is the first acoustic version of “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)” I’ve ever heard, and these two do a great job with it.…

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Pretty much had to post this one again…

Songs

I typically don’t like to post the same video more than once in this blog, but I pretty much feel compelled to re-post Bowie’s bizarre Christmas duet with Bing Crosby today, and probably next year, too. I’m not sure what’s to be said about this strange encounter. Bowie was a few years away from becoming a non-threatening, mainstream pop star.…

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Find Bowie game

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Since his death, and maybe before, David Bowie (or his lightning bolt symbol) has become a nearly ubiquitous cultural phenomenon. If you start looking, you will find him all over the place. This is such the case that you can actually make a game out of it— find Bowie. The object is to be the first to find Bowie…somewhere. This…

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One Bowie-inspired album I can’t listen through all the way…

Albums

Back in 1998 I became aware that Marilyn Manson— who I had heard of but never previously heard— was going to release a Bowie-inspired album, which ended up being called, Mechanical Animals. That was enough for me to buy it back then, and I think I still have the nearly-pristine CD…somewhere. Well, Manson’s cover art vaguely looks like Ziggy Stardust.…

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Free form Friday: On The Name of the Rose

Free Form Friday

My favorite of the books I read this year was Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. It’s a book I’ve had on my shelf for years, waiting for the right time before taking it on. This was the right time. I found the book so excellent, and with so many threads that I haven’t been able to even write…

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Divine Symmetry I 8 I “Space Oddity” versus “Rocket Man”

Divine Symmetry

Unlike most of what I’ve already written in this series, comparisons between Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (1969) and Elton John’s “Rocket Man” (1972) are easy to find. Despite “Space Oddity” coming first, Bernie Taupin denied being influenced by Bowie’s song. But that’s hard to believe, even if Taupin might not have had Bowie front of mind. Anyway, while not original, I…

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Lyrics Series I 12 I Bowie’s funny lines

Lyrics Series

The Far Out online magazine seems to have nearly as many Bowie posts as this blog. A recent article, which you can link to here, listed what its writer thought were Bowie’s five funniest lyrics. It’s an interesting selection, including a few that are not inherently funny but evoked in the writer’s mind funny images. Without repeating the list (read…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 7 I The Snowman (1982)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

The Snowman is a short, animated British Christmas special that largely would seem to have nothing to do with David Bowie. Except that he introduces it, and in his introduction suggests that the lead animated charter was Bowie, or Bowie’s character, as a child. Adopting his warmest, most accessible Let’s Dance era appearance, Bowie shows the audience a distinctive scarf…

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Bowie Cover of the Week: Matte Martin performs “Blue Jean”

Songs

I was actually looking forward to this week’s cover of the week, Matte Martin’s version of “Blue Jean,” because Martin ran a promotional teaser video last week. What he delivered was a genuine video in which he appears to play all the instruments as well as sing the song. Other than creating the illusion of seeming to be playing next…

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My YouTube Musical Year in Review

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I have found YouTube to be the most useful of my streaming services. I subscribe to several original channels but also use it to pull up just about any piece of music, or type of music I want. This blog would be very different without YouTube. So, as a subscriber (I guess), I get this year in review. I have…

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Free Form Friday: New York’s in Love*

Free Form Friday

I was recently in New York City and took these pictures. New York is a great place to be in December, both because its decked out for the December holidays, its about ten degrees warmer than Albany and there are many places to eat and things to do outdoors. New York City has many problems, but they were not on…

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Lyrics Series I 11 I From “Panic in Detroit” (1973)

Lyrics Series

Panic in Detroit, I asked for an autograph Bowie occasionally played around with the concept of frivolous behavior in the face of catastrophe. Think, “ As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent you asked for the latest party” from “Diamond Dogs” or “Battle cries and Champaign, just in time for sunrise” from “Aladdin Sane.” “Five Years” depicts characters…

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Divine Symmetry I 8 I “Fame;” “Fame;” “The Fame”

Divine Symmetry

Bowie’s first #1 single in the United States was his 1975 song, “Fame.” With typically obtuse lyrics, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture: “Fame puts you there where things are hollow…what you get is no tomorrow…” Five years later, Irene Cara had another hit by the same name, which was for the soundtrack of the movie also of the same…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 6 I Yellowbeard (1983)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

A while back I included Yellowbeard on my list of worst movies of all time. Having watched it again for the first time in decades…it’s still one of the worst movies of all time. This is in no small part because it doesn’t live up to its enormous potential. The movie stars almost all the major comedic actors from Young…

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Bowie Songs of the Year Part 2: #1-5

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This is a continuation of yesterday’s post in which I selected Bowie songs to represent what I thought were the top news stories of the year. I started with #6-10, and today includes the top 5: 5. “Never Get Old” (2003). 2023 is the year an 80 year old president announces his candidacy for re-election. The Rolling Stones released a…

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Bowie Songs of the Year Pt. 1: #6-#10

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Last year I did a series of posts of “Bowie songs of the year,” in which I selected songs that represented what I thought were the top ten news stories of the year. I liked the idea of the series but in retrospect think it might have been a little dragged out. That said, click here for the recap post.…

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Free Form Friday: Event Celebrating Letizia Tagliafierro

Free Form Friday

Last week I posted about the Letizia Tagliafierro scholarship that some of her friends are in the process of establishing to honor her legacy. For more information on the scholarship, click here. So, we’re putting together a celebration of Letizia’s life and career legacy on Monday, December 11th at 6:00 pm at the Albany Hilton. There is no cover charge…

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Lyrics Series I 10 I From “Always Crashing in the Same Car”

Lyrics Series

“I’m always crashing in the same car” As much as I like Bowie’s lyrics, I seldom find myself using them in day-to-day conversation. This line is an exception. It’s a great expression of making the same mistake over and over again. On the surface, there’s little mystery to the line, the song title, or the totality of the song, which,…

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Divine Symmetry I 7 I “Panic in Detroit;” “Love is a Battlefield” and “How”

Divine Symmetry

Thus far I have written in the “Divine Symmetry” series about similarities between Bowie lyrics and those of others. Here I’m going to attempt to write about musical similarities, and I realize I’m on thin ice. I know next to nothing about music, so I consulted with a friend who does. I asked him to listen to Bowie’s “Panic in…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen I 5 I Basquiat (1996)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

It’s easy to imagine why David Bowie was interested in playing a part in this movie— while it is very much the story of the artist, Jean-Michele Basquiat, it might as well be about Bowie himself. Basquiat rose to prominence in the New York art scene in the 1980s, befriended Andy Warhol (who Bowie plays in the movie), died of…

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Bowie Cover of the Week: Brendan Benson performs “Candidate”

Songs

The “Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprised)” sequence on Diamond Dogs is one of my favorite pieces of music. I think of it as a single song, which like, say, “Blackstar” or the Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” has a song-within-a-song, but the actual album (and, annoyingly for shuffle purposes, the CD), identified the three parts as distinct. That said, Brendan…

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Lena Hall’s cover of “Rebel Rebel”

Songs

This is the fifth and final of Lena Hall’s videos for her collection, Obsessed: David Bowie, part of a series of cover albums she offers online. I wanted to post all the videos in part because I like them and in part because they are in fact videos. Previous covers posted on this site include her renditions of “As the…

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“I can do with the money…” Bowie Lyrics sell for a boatload!

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I could do with the money (you know that I could) I'm so wiped out with things as they are (you know that I could) I'd send my photograph to my honey And I'd come on like a regular superstar - “Star” About the time Bowie was writing the above lyrics, he was also writing the lyrics to “Suffragette City.”…

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Free Form Friday: The Letizia Tagliafierro Scholarship Fund

Free Form Friday

Michelle’s and my dear friend, Letizia Tagliafierro tragically lost her long battle with cancer earlier this year. Some of her many friends and former colleagues decided to honor her memory by establishing a scholarship in her name for SUNY Albany, Letizia’s Alma mater. Please consider making a donation to this tribute, which will help establish a permanently endowed public service…

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Lyrics series | 9 | More from “All the Young Dudes”

Lyrics Series

Is there concrete all around or is it in my head? “All the Young Dudes,” written by Bowie but made famous by Mott the Hoople, contains many great lines. The anthemic song paints a not-terribly enticing portrait of early 70s youth culture, characterized by thoughts of suicide, shoplifting and kicking drag queens. Nonetheless, the song’s narrator would take all that…

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Divine Symmetry | 6 | “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Tonight”

Divine Symmetry

OK, this one is going to be a little out there for a couple of reasons, but keep in mind part of the idea of this series is related to the concept of “found art.” The “symmetries”— the connections between the songs are not necessarily intentional. To start, I’ve misunderstood “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” for a long time. I…

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Hooked to the Silver Screen | 4 | Just A Gigolo (1978)

Hooked to the Silver Screen

Just a Gigolo has a terrible reputation, in part because Bowie, who starred in the movie, trashed it. Among other insults, he said it was his “32 Elvis Presley movies contained in one.” For this reason, I never really sought it out until recently. Now that I’ve finally seen the film, I can say that it’s not nearly as bad…

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Bowie Cover of the Week: Malou performs “Life on Mars”

Songs

This clip is from the Belgian version of the singing competition show, The Voice (the show’s actual name is The Voice Belgique). As a result, while it was not created as a video per se, since it was made for television the video production quality is high as is the staging. More importantly, so too is the performance by Malou,…

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Is Bowie’s music helping Ukrainian morale?

Songs

I came across an article in an online publication called the Odessa Journal (click on the name to link to the article) about how “Bowie Night” is returning to a club in Kiev called the Bel Etage Music Hall (identified in the article as the Bel Etage Club). The show features 20 Ukrainian artists performing Bowie songs, with all proceeds…

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Rock Lobster: Rare crustacean named after Bowie

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There were a spate of news stories earlier this week about the discovery, made by Maine lobsterman Jacob Knowles, of a lobster that was not only half blue and half reddish-brown, but half male and half female. Knowles named the lobster Bowie, and has been doing a lot of media showing off his find, which he hopes to breed (actually…

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Free Form Friday: Thanksgiving

Free Form Friday

I wanted to write a non-sappy Thanksgiving post. It’s actually quite hard. I like the idea of Thanksgiving, or at least what it has become— an entire holiday about reflecting on what’s good in life. It’s an inherently sappy thing to think about, but it is also worthwhile. The other thing that’s tough is coming up with a comprehensive list.…

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