Review: In early 1968 David Bowie enrolled in actor, teacher and choreographer Lindsay Kemp s dance class at the London Dance Centre. Bowie later claimed it was during this tenure that his interest in image really blossomed. Studying the dramatic arts under Kemp, Bowie became immersed in the creation of personae to present to the world.
In July 69 he had his first hit single with Space Oddity, and his second, self-titled album was released in November. A year on came The Man Who Sold The World, and Hunky Dory followed in December 1971. Three months later, in February 1972, came the launch of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, at the Toby Jug in Tolworth, Surrey, and the rest, as they say, is history. But in less than three years of intense activity, Bowie had gone from being a glorified song-and-dance-man with a penchant for the tunes of early 60s comedy crooner Anthony Newley to becoming the most flamboyant, creative and dynamic rock star on the planet.
This film uncovers the full story of these years and by tracing events from even further back, when David was still named Jones and a member of any number of UK Beat groups, to the release of The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars in June 72, it reveals one of the most fascinating pre-fame periods in the history of contemporary music.
With the use of rare and seldom-seen archive film, exclusive interviews, contributions from his closest confidantes and comment from the most knowledgeable writers and music historians, this film is the best document yet to emerge on the early years of David Bowie and is destined to become the standard work on the subject.
Review: It's true that more than a few eyebrows were raised when Earthling was first released way back in 1997. Critics, in particular, were not particularly impressed by David Bowie's efforts to incorporate elements of drum & bass within his sound. In hindsight, though, it was pure Bowie; ever the musical chameleon, he simply wanted to try something new. As this reissue proves, for the most part the iconic artist got it right, delivering an album that used skittish D&B breakbeats to emphasize the angry, dark subject matter of its' songs (an effect heightened by the Nine Inch Nails feel to many cuts). While Earthling was far from Bowie's best, it arguably sounds stronger now than it did when it was first released. He always was a far-sighted innovator, of course.
Notes: "One day I blew my nose and half my brains came out." Los Angeles, 1976. David Bowie is holed up in his Bel-Air mansion, drifting into drug-induced paranoia and confusion. Obsessed with black magic and the Holy Grail, he's built an altar in the living room and keeps his fingernail clippings in the fridge. There are occasional trips out to visit his friend Iggy Pop in a mental institution. His latest album is the cocaine-fuelled Station To Station (Bowie: "I know it was recorded in LA because I read it was"), which welds R&B rhythms to lyrics that mix the occult with a yearning for Europe, after three mad years in the New World. Bowie has long been haunted by the angst-ridden, emotional work of the Die Brucke movement and the Expressionists. Berlin is their spiritual home, and after a chaotic world tour, Bowie adopts this city as his new sanctuary. Immediately he sets to work on Low, his own expressionist mood-piece.
James Brown - "Hot [I Need To Be Loved, Loved, Loved]" (re edit)
David Bowe - "Golden Years" (re edit)
Review: The Re-edits man strikes again with devastating remixes of James Brown's "Hot", which notoriously borrowed Bowie's "Fame" riff (or was it the other way around?), as well as David Bowie's "Golden Years". Massively funky re-edits destined to do some dancefloor damage!