Archive for the bowie Category

Funky Friday – What You Need You Have To Borrow

Posted in 70's, bowie, disco, Funky Friday, pop-lifting, Soul on November 14, 2008 by planetmondo
The King Of Cut And Paste Pop Culture

Popular opinion would have you believe ‘Young Americans’ was a calculated attempt by Bowie to attract the attention of, a so far, apathetic American audience by dropping the glam rags and reinventing himelf as a seventies soul boy. Realistically it was more of a revert to type. Ziggy only lasted 18 months, and snappily suited dance fan rather than outsider-outfits has been Bowie’s default career setting (Mod, Young Americans, The Thin White Duke, Lets Dance, Tin Machine…).

Dig a little deeper and you’ll also find he’d started dabbling with Disco a year earlier – alongside pet projects and helping hands for Lou Reed, Iggy and The Stooges, Mott The Hoople during 1973, Bowie had also found time to write and produce one full album ‘People From Good Homes‘ (recognise that line from a later song) for his backing vocalists The Astronettes which was dressed in a disco trim…

The Astronettes – I Am Divine


During the Young Americans sessions, Luthor Vandross (in pink above and blue below) had become an almost honorary member of the Astronettes – joining them at recording sessions, and for an appearance on the Dick Cavett show

Bowie remodeled one of Vandross’s tunes ‘Funky Music’ as ‘Fascination’ for inclusion on the Young Americans album (with Vandross getting a composer credit)..

Luther Vandross – Funky Music

During his Dick Cavett set, Bowie also covered The Flares ‘Footstompin’, which had been given a seventies style re-riffing by Carlos Alomar. A riff, which one month later became worked up into ‘Fame’ by Bowie and Lennon (with Alomar getting a composer credit for his contribution).

Bowie – Foot Stompin


The Flares – Foot Stompin

As well as having a magpie’s eye for bright ideas and what’s hot – Bowie also clonked out some cracking compositions of his own – an unreleased original being…

David Bowie – After Today

I will get the Bowie-handbrake on soon, it’s just that I’ve been ploughing through the Tony Visconti biog‘ this week, and have just hit the ‘Young Americans’ chapter you see.

However, if you fancy more Bowie business an excellent companion to his mid-seventies period is the excellent Golden Years website

Funky Friday – A Crash Course For The Ravers

Posted in 60's, before they were famous, books, bowie, Funky Friday, mod on November 7, 2008 by planetmondo
“Your flashy clothes are your pride and joy ” David Bowie – The London Boys

Bowie, Bolan, Bryan Ferry, Eno (and Rod Stewart) all made the breakthough from cult undergrounders to interstellar superstars as variants on the star-spangled glitterkid theme. They may have had stars in/on their eyes, but those platform boots were firmly grounded in Mod roots. The look sharp and look ahead apprenticeship of Mod, with it’s made to measure mix of American soul and Italian style, Ivy League look meets British dandyism – and an eye for the detail and an ear for a tune, was probably why Bowie (and the other moonage mods mentioned) endured beyond the best-before date and lipstick-brickie chic of their patent leather peers.

The sixties scene was an era Bowie referenced from his earliest recordings (London Boys) and one of the motifs and influences that’s remained a constant throughout his peacock career – mentions of Lennon, Beatles and Stones on various singles. Twiggy and Jagger getting name checked on Aladdin Sane (along with a Stones cover), Pin Up’s set of swinging London standards and Young Americans (covering classics like ‘Knock On Wood’ and ‘Footstomping’ during live shows), and pitching in with ‘Pictures of Lily’ on The Who tribute album through to the slim-fit suit on ‘Reality’ being almost a homecoming to the Lord John look pictured above…

David Bowie and The Lower ThirdCan’t Help Thinking About Me

(There’s a clip of Bowie on his mod days, Steve Marriot and a 1999 version of ‘CHTAM’here)

David BowieIn The Heat Of The Morning – (BBC version)

(The Last Shadow Puppets made a healthy go of ‘INTHOTM’)


Davie Jones and the King Bees
Louie Louie Go Home

(LLGH was the B-side of Bowie’s first single “Liza Jane”)

Ziggy Stardust – The Mod Who Fell To Earth

A note on the tunes….and a Bowie Bonus

Can’t Help Thinking About Me (1965)

The first recording to feature the newly named David ‘Bowie’, and almost a blueprint of Bowieness the outsider lyrics and ambiguous angst of “my head’s bowed in shame” “blackened the family name” to the set piece template of semi-spoken verse and Bowie-bellow on the chorus, it’s a tune that wouldn’t seem out of place on any album since Scary Monsters.

In The Heat Of The Morning (1970)
For my earth pounds the BBC take of this tune is superior to the official album version, and benefits from being enhanced by the extra bounce of Alan Hawkshaw’s fantastically funky keyboard coda.

The Beatstalkers (touted as the Scottish Beatles), were under Ken Pitt’s management at the same time as Bowie (and also signed to Decca). They were offered first refusal on any unused Bowie compositions or offcuts, ‘Silver Tree Top School For Boys’ is one of these, and Bowie penned ‘Penny Lane-alike‘ from 1967.

The Beatstalkers (1967)- Silver Tree Top School For Boys

I am on something of a Bowie buzz lately (two Bo’ posts in two weeks) brought on by reading the Fantistico Dave Thompson book To Major Tom – a gem and a joy of a read if you’re into any type of music or movement from Bowie’s catchment era

Glamour Ghouls

Posted in 70's, Batman, bowie, Brian Eno, Comics, glam, halloween, Marc Bolan, rock on October 26, 2008 by planetmondo
I found a load of old scraps and cuttings like this in the loft recently

There’s a gallery of grotesques to choose from when you get to glam related rocky horrors…

Alice Cooper – The New York Dolls ‘Frankenstein’ – Iggy’s ‘Death Trip’ and ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell’ – Suzi Q’s ‘Devil Gate Drive’- Bolan’s ‘Mystic Lady’, ‘Demon Queen’ (or his earlier John’s Children tune ‘‘Desdemona’‘ banned because of it’s “lift up your skirt and fly” line)- Bowie’s ‘Width Of A Circle’, ‘Please Mr Gravedigger’, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ – Roxy’s ‘Bogus Man’ or Eno’s ‘Spirit’s Drifting’ and ‘Everything Merges With The Night’ are just a handful of the Halloween themed hits and howlers available from the spangle age..but I thought these few tunes could do with being reanimated as pre-season of the witch friendly..

David Bowie Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).

An overlooked, underplayed thumper that gets lost in the shadows of ‘Ashes To Ashes’ and ‘Fashion’

Marc Bolan You Scare Me To Death

Hellraiser – a heavier-hitting side of The Sweet

Blockbuster –

Blockbuster could well have been inspired by the Batman bruiser Blockbuster(DC’s answer to The Hulk)

Which brings us back to Bowie who referenced Batman in Uncle Arthur

“Uncle Arthur still reads comics
Uncle Arthur follows Batman”

And that’s ‘doing the loop’

Commercial Break

Posted in 60's, adverts, bowie, mod, retromania, The Who on September 9, 2008 by planetmondo


I’m flat out and frazzled with work at the mo’, (what a cheek clogging up my blogging like that), so instead of my usual cyber-babble, here’s a few words from our sponsors…

The Who – Great Shakes Ad’

Left Banke – Coke Ad’

1966 Plymouth Baraccuda Ad’
Used as the intro to The Barracudas – Summer Fun

David Bowie in Lyons Maid ‘Luv’ Ice Cream ad’
He really is in there – just have a right good peep and you’ll see him!

"and now he is a puppet dancer"

Posted in bizzaro, bowie, Cover Versions, new wave, Remake Remodel on July 23, 2008 by planetmondo

Piley put me on to this Bowie boggler years ago – when I discovered YouTube, this bizzaro Bowie-as-Pelham-Puppet performance of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was the first vid’ I searched for, but some ol’ spoilsport pulled it a week later – since then I’ve been trawling the ‘Tube at least once a week hoping for the return of the Thin White Duke, only to find it on Yahoo/AOL video (no, I didn’t know about it either).

Anyhow – while it’s online,watch it, watch it and watch it again. – It is a pinocchio a go-go gem.

As a bonus here’s Suzanna Hoff’s rework of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, which would be greatly improved by losing the squiddly diddly guitar solo (I don’t think it’s her hammering the frets).
‘Boys Keep Swinging’

And, have a pop on over to I Should Be Working for another video version of Bowie and ‘Boys Keep Swinging’.

B Side Babies Pt 2 – Roxy Music – Angel Eyes (original version)

Posted in 70's, B Side Babies, bowie, disco, Punk, roxy music on November 21, 2007 by planetmondo

1977 may have been the year the world turned dayglo – but 1978 was the year the world went Disco – Rod stewart, the Rolling Stones and Blondie all got caught with a dose of the Disco fever. Bowie, as always had been years ahead of his peers and got the funk out of his system with Young Americans.

Uncharacteristically when Roxy Music released Manifesto in 1979 they seem to have been caught on the back foot rather than the good foot with the let’s go Disco phonomenon and gave the movement a complete swerve on their album of the moment. The version of Angel Eyes on the early pressings Of Manifesto is an almost textbook Roxy rocker that maintains a cool cocktail gloss while giving a nod to the New Wave movement. All Sax, drums and Rock n Roll it’s a world apart from the commercially successful and commonly available Angel Eyes rework which is all high hats and handclaps, and seems to highlight that Disco had almost as much punch as Punk.


Roxy Music – Angel Eyes(original version)

As bonus I’m also including a rare remix of Virginia Plain – the Headman EDT remix made for a rewired and remixed Roxy project which never materialised and has never been commercially released

Roxy Music – Virgina Plain (Headman Remix)

If you’re in the mood for even more Roxy why not have a peep at my review of the Roxy Music debut album here

Remake Remodel Pt.1 Lulu – Watch That Man

Posted in 70's, B Side Babies, bowie, Cover Versions, Lulu, Remake Remodel on November 12, 2007 by planetmondo


There’s a couple of bits and bobs I’ve been meaning to log in the blog for an age but have become wrapped up with other bits and bobs until now – so today at last it’s all go-go for;

Remake Remodel obscure, cool or cranky cover versions.

B Side Babiesthe ones that got away – B sides, alt takes or outtakes that are too good to be forgotten

Fortunately ‘Watch That Man’ falls into both categories.
Lulu’s version of ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ seems to pop up on the sort of budget seventies comp’s sold only at newsagents, garages and Woolworths. Glamtastic as the rewired TMWSTW is, the real golden nugget is on the B side, ‘Watch That Man’ which manages to out strut and stomp Aladdin Sane original.

It is an absolute that Bowie was a musical Midas in the seventies and almost everything he touched was left glossed and glittering. (There’s a moment of revelation in Ian hunters ‘Diary of a Rock and Roll Star’ where he realises he’ll never be in Bowies league). ‘Watch That Man’ is effectively a Bowie retake with Lulu fronting the band, produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson and featuring rest of the band it captures the distilled essence of the pre ‘Young Americans’ sound with a splash of extra sparkle. The cherry on top being Bowies backing vocals – which swish through the mix adding stardust melodies and space age harmonies.

Lulu – Watch That Man

To set the scene and add some context here’s a couple of Youtube treats

This has got to be one of the funkiest ad’ songs ever!I posted this on channel mondo last Friday but it’s so good I’m posting it here too.

Lulu – Happies Shoes