Thursday, January 7, 2010

Musical Interlude

Long before Lady Gaga, there was David Bowie, whose birthday was today. I became a fan of Bowie's in my teens. I'd certainly heard a few of his standards on Sacramento-area rock stations by the time he dropped Lodger (1979) the album that would become the first in my collection. That album would expose me to a number of musicians whom I've continued to admire regardless of the direction my interests have taken me - Adrian Belew and Brian Eno played prominent roles on the album, and the instrumentation was absolutely incredible. I trace some of my interest in ambient music, "krautrock", and world music (especially from the African continent) to what I heard on Lodger. In 1980, I remember seeing Bowie perform some tunes - a couple numbers from Lodger, along with one of his early 1970s classics, "The Man Who Sold the World" on SNL. That may have been the high point of SNL's fifth season for me - the band was tight, the costuming was quite interesting and conceptual (see the performance of "Boys Keep Swinging" for example), and always subverting our cultural conceptions of gender. The next year's album, Scary Monsters would sort of sum up and consolidate everything Bowie had learned up to that point. I still love the single "Fashion" and the title track from that album. Whatever he was doing at the time connected pretty nicely with rock's then burgeoning new wave, while not entirely alienating the increasingly stodgy classic rock contingent of the time.

Following is a medley of videos from Bowie's classic period.

"Life on Mars?"

"Look Back In Anger":


"DJ"


David Bowie/DJ

Mary | MySpace Video


"Fashion"

David Bowie - Fashion - kewego
It’s not really the 70’s any more. It’s not the 80’s quite yet. But he’s way ahead of it’s time as always : David Bowie’s music video of his hit single from scary monsters : Fashion.

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