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Paul and Linda McCartney depict Bowie

I recently came across a reference to a painting by Paul McCartney— you know, the former Beatle, that depicted David Bowie, um, throwing up. It’s called, “Bowie Spewing” (see the photo gallery). Looking into that led me to find a Polaroid of Bowie taken by McCartney’s late wife, Linda. I somehow never saw either of these before and thought they were worth posting.

I’ll also use this as an opportunity to repeat my theory that McCartney dropped a couple of Bowie references into his 1973 song, “Jet.” Specifically, the line, “I thought the major was a lady suffragette” evokes Major Tom, “Suffragette City,” Bowie’s gender-ambiguity of the time and possibly the song, “Lady Stardust.” There’s also the less obvious line, “And Jet, I thought the only lonely place was on the moon,” which might have been inspired by “Space Oddity,” which was played on British television during coverage of the 1969 moon landing.

I am not the only person ever to make the connection, at least to McCartney’s use of the word, “Suffragette.” I read somewhere that McCartney was not necessarily writing a song about David Bowie, but probably had the word in his head because of Bowie’s song, which was released in 1972. That said, I have seen only a few other (obscure)commentaries linking “Jet” to Bowie. By the way, though McCartney sings that line several times in the song, and also makes reference to a “Sergeant Major,” there is nothing else in the song about this lady suffragette major (which is not the same as a sergeant major).

Add to all this Elton John’s 1973 song, “Bennie and the Jets,” which songwriter Bernie Taupin very much has admitted was inspired, in part, by Bowie (about which all doubt should have been erased by the album art). It seems like the Elton John song and the Paul McCartney song were released too close to one another for the one to have influenced the other (I have never read that they have). It might be more conceivable that both McCartney and Taupin had “jet” on their minds in relation to the subject matter because they had been hearing the word, “suffragette” from Bowie’s song. In any case, its quite a coincidence.

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