12 Station to Station by David Bowie 1976
What a great way to celebrate my birthday than with a bit a Bowie and my only choice from the 70s
There was a time when I was maybe a tad too obsessed with David Bowie. It all started with Ashes to Ashes and then a friend at school lent me a load of compilation tapes and I was hooked. Other pop stars (often his bastard children) looked a tad boring and I started to realise that the bands I currently liked would never be able to reinvent themselves as he consistently had.
Part of the attraction was that growing up in Spalding the biggest tribe were the mods (with skinheads pushing them a close second - whose annual tradition it was to pull down the town xmas tree on New Year's Eve) , and ironically considering his early days , the mods hated David Bowie , which was an added bonus. His music really did define which side of the taste fence you sat.
Gradually he became to define what I liked in terms of music and was the yardstick against all others were measured.
At the height of my madness for some reason I offered to write my sisters CSE history project for her. I chose the albums of David Bowie. Even though she copied out every word , I'm not sure how I thought some pretentious meanderings could ever look like the work of a 15 yr old Whitney Houston fan. I'm not sure what mark she got , but I remember being genuinely puzzled as to why she hadn't scored the top grade with some kind of special award for outstanding work.
Favourite lps of his changed with the weather but this one stayed the course. I went through a phase where all my school essay titles were written in the style of the cover WITHNOGAPSBETWEENWORDSANDINCAPTIALS typing this I can see how annoying this must have been for my English teacher and that the detention I got was fully deserved.
Everything about this lp fitted perfectly the mix of American Funk and European krautrock, the fact there were only 6 songs , the black and white photo from the Man who Fell to Earth, the glacial title track. ,all put together in what surely was the side effects of the cocaine and not love.
It seems like every singer I liked at the time secretly wanted to be The Thin White Duke
There is desperation in Word on a Wing , a weariness in Golden Years , a plea in Stay , a declaration in Wild is the Wind and a bit of bonkers in TVC15
Add in one of the great guitar riffs This clip is worth it on the strength of the introduction alone
And then right at the end a heart breaking cover and a vocal performance that would be used to highlight what a great singer by us few and what an awful singer he was by the Spalding many
Word on a Wing is about as spiritual as he gets - this clip comes from about the time he released the Hours lp (one of the many ..."return to form" lps)
The one song that I used to play to death on an lp worn out by overuse was the finger clicking , hand clapping Golden Years , a kind of bridge back to Young American and looking at this clip from soul train never has "nothing is going to touch you in these golden years" sounded so misguided and hollow? He wrote and sang the words but the voice said he didn't believe them
I better stop before I descend into complete drivel but next it was escape to Berlin...