A terrific find from John Coulthart. It was “a bit grey out today” on Sunday, May 20, 1979, when the BBC turned Radio One over to David Bowie for a couple of hours. The results were simply delightful—and the session is available in full on YouTube.
Bowie in 1979 was pretty near the top of his game, but then again he seldom seems very far off his game. The tracks Bowie chose to play are as fascinating as those he left off. Several of the artists are to be expected, others entirely unexpected. Bowie, the great popularizer of our time, the man through whom so many influences of the 20th century flowed and were given vital form, you can hear that deep need to show, to bring listeners something new, in every word Bowie utters.
It’s extremely interesting to hear Bowie refer to tracks that are fairly familiar to any decently informed music fan as if nobody knows about them—a lesson in the benefits the Internet (not to mention stacks of CD reissues) has brought, if nothing else.
We’ve tucked the track listing behind the jump, but it’s far more amusing to listen without knowing, don’t you reckon?
The Doors, “Love Street”
Iggy Pop, “TV Eye”
John Lennon, “Remember”
? & The Mysterians, “96 Tears”
Edward Elgar, “The Nursery Suite” (extract)
Danny Kaye, “Inchworm”
Philip Glass, “Trial Prison”
The Velvet Underground, “Sweet Jane”
Mars, “Helen Fordsdale”
Little Richard, “He’s My Star”
King Crimson, “21st Century Schizoid Man”
Talking Heads, “Warning Sign”
Jeff Beck, “Beck’s Bolero”
Ronnie Spector, “Try Some, Buy Some”
Marc Bolan, “20th Century Boy”
The Mekons, “Where Were You?”
Steve Forbert, “Big City Cat”
The Rolling Stones, “We Love You”
Roxy Music, “2HB”
Bruce Springsteen, “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”
Stevie Wonder, “Fingertips”
Blondie, “Rip Her To Shreds”
Bob Seger, “Beautiful Loser”
David Bowie, “Boys Keep Swinging”
David Bowie, “Yassassin”
Talking Heads, “Book I Read”
Roxy Music, “For Your Pleasure”
King Curtis, “Something On Your Mind”
The Staple Singers, “Lies”