“Space Oddity” came out in 1969, and it was David Bowie’s second charting single—”The Laughing Gnome” was the first. For many fans, however, the song represents the true start of Bowie’s career as a world-changing superstar.
Timed to mark “the first trip around the sun since Bowie’s passing,” Valentina D’Efilippo and Miriam Quick, two data designers working out of London, unveiled their Oddityviz project a few weeks ago—the idea being to release ten 12-inch albums in ten weeks, each one with a visual design featuring a circular data visualization representing some aspect of the song. Each visualization is laser-engraved onto a 12-inch acrylic disc. Even though this isn’t how records actually work, for the purposes of the visualization on its surface, a single rotation of the record equals the duration of the song, which is 317 seconds long.
As they explain:
The project visualizes data from Bowie’s 1969 track “Space Oddity” on a series of 10 specially engraved records with accompanying posters, plus a moving image piece. Each 12-inch disc deconstructs the track in a different way: melodies, harmonies, lyrics, structure, story and other aspects of the music are transformed into new visual systems.
The art of data visualization depends on numbers to function—if you’re curious to see what the statistics that each visualization used, you can check the work yourself at a Google Spreadsheet that was created for the project.
Seven of the records have been released. As D’Efilippo and Quick explain, the final record, “10 Emotions,” is “a bit different. It visualizes the emotional responses people had while listening to ‘Space Oddity.’”
Here’s an example of what the prints look like:
This video attempts to explain what’s going on:
“1 Narrative illustrates our interpretation of the story of ‘Space Oddity.’ It is a story with two characters: Ground Control and the doomed astronaut, Major Tom.”
“2 Recording deconstructs Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ into its eight original master tracks.
One of the more startling musical transformations in our era was the one that Radiohead pulled off between their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey and their 1995 follow-up The Bends.
It wasn’t just Thom Yorke’s blond locks that cause quite a few critics to liken Pablo Honey to watered-down Nirvana. Pablo Honey got generally lukewarm-to-good reviews at the time—3 stars out of 5 from Rolling Stone, which is the same rating it currently receives at Allmusic.com (it must be admitted that Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s brief review is far more charitable than that rating suggests). And Radiohead’s later successes haven’t shielded the album from vitriol. At Pitchfork, notoriously one of Radiohead’s most unshakable defenders, Scott Plagenhoef gave it a piddling 5.4 out of 10 as late as 2009.
Even that tepid Rolling Stone review ended with the words “Radiohead warrant watching,” but if you had said in 1993 that in less than a decade, Radiohead would be doing arenas with a highly worshipful following and the most ironclad critical reputation in all of rock music, that possibility would have seemed remote indeed. The Bends and OK Computer in 1997 were the astounding one-two punch that few saw coming and set Radiohead up to be the top rock band of the 2000s.
So when I come across a piece of Radiohead press from 1993, I’m inclined to pay attention. I was at the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland recently, thumbing through a stack of old copies of Ray Gun magazine from the 1990s, something you can only do at a place like that. One of the 1993 issues had a little piece on Radiohead that was inexplicably formatted in an actually readable typeface (rare for that magazine). Here it is (if you click on it, the image will get quite large):
The last bit of the piece reports Yorke’s feelings on whether Radiohead qualifies as “pop” thus:
“Yesss,” he says slowly. “My definition of pop is tapping into something…. my ideal pop song is one that says something people want to hear lyrically and that grabs them by the neck musically. And one that has some sort of depth that moves it beyond a happy tune that you whistle at work. Songs like ‘Under Pressure,’ something that makes you want to fall down on your knees. That to me is the perfect pop song.”
The music video for David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s 1985 cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ Motown classic “Dancing in the Street” is considered one of the worst, if not THE worst, of all time. The clip, originally recorded for the Live Aid benefit, has been called “cringe-worthy” and the “worst music video ever made” HERE, “the worst video ever produced” HERE, and “one of the worst crimes of the ‘80s” HERE. It’s universally thought to be a massive exercise in “what the fuck were they thinking?”
A couple of years ago here at Dangerous Minds we showed you a hilariously-foley’d “musicless” version of the video.
Today we’d like to draw your attention to a wonderful stop-motion LEGO recreation of the video, uploaded a few days ago by stop-motion animator and Vimeo user William Osbourne. This is so good it practically redeems the sheer craptacity of the original.
After the jump, the original, as if you need a refresher on how truly awful it was…
We’ve shared the work of New York-based artist Matthew Lineham previously on Dangerous Minds and I can personally vouch for the quality of his work. To say nothing of the reaction I’ve gotten from folks who have received one Lineham’s clever cards featuring images of 80’s horror movie slashers like Jason Voorhees or Re-Animator‘s deranged medical student, Herbert West.
Though I’m not trying shove the faux “holiday” of Valentine’s Day down your throat—it started as a marketing thing, there was nothing traditional about it—I couldn’t resist sharing Lindham’s 2017 cards. These old-school sheet cards contain the images of Robert Smith of The Cure, Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis and an entire collection featuring the many alter-egos of our dearly departed David Bowie. There are three sheets in each pack for a total of 27 cards that also contain amusing greetings that occasionally reference song titles from the artists’ catalogs, which makes them extra-special. Just like your funny valentine, right? You can order the cards now over at Lindham’s site which will ship them out on January 24th—just in time to send one along to someone who you think is “B-52 Cute!” Awww.
This weekend brings the first “would have been” birthday for David Bowie, who would have turned 70 this coming Sunday, January 8. Of course, it’s been almost a full year since Bowie passed away of cancer two days after turning 69.
Bowie’s first and only attempt at an extended run as a stage actor occurred in 1980, when he took on the role of John Merrick in Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man, which had debuted at the Hampstead Theatre in London in 1977. As with many of the projects Bowie took on, it was a decided challenge and proved to be a striking success. Bowie had just spent a few years hanging out with Iggy Pop and Brian Eno in Berlin producing some of his most interesting albums—the timing of the request to replace the existing actor Philip Anglim, made by Jack Hofsiss, the director of the Broadway production, which had already done very well and which Bowie had already seen, was surely critical, as Bowie was likely seeking a change at the time. There was also a certain resonance in playing a type of Victorian monster since his most recent album bore the name Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps).
Bowie had such a striking physical presence, so ideal for the role of Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth as well as for the physically deformed John Merrick in Pomerance’s play, which makes the interesting choice of eschewing makeup for the actor. The David Lynch movie that came out around the same time has no connection to Pomerance’s play, with its own, separate development. Oddly, both movie and film insist on referring to the historical Joseph Merrick as “John Merrick.”
As Bowie tells it, the producers of the play had Bowie try the role away from the intense media scrutiny of New York, so he did the play for six days (July 29-August 3, 1980) at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, where he could “die a quiet death” if it emerged that he wasn’t up to the challenge. After three weeks in Chicago at the Blackstone Theater, Bowie’s debut as a Broadway actor came on September 23, 1980, at the Booth Theatre for a run of a little longer than three months.
I think it’s safe to say that for many people Lou Reed’s 1972 album Transformer was a life changing kind of record.Transformer was very much influenced by Reed’s life changing relationship with Andy Warhol. Warhol even directly inspired one of Transformer‘s best numbers, “Vicious.” According to Reed Andy had requested that he pen a tune about a “vicious” kind of person. When Reed asked Warhol to clarify his request, Andy responded by saying “Oh, you know, like I hit you with a flower.” Reed wrote Andy’s response down verbatim and the lyric “You hit me with a flower” would become part of the song.
When it comes to the influence that Transformer had on Mary Adams, the wildly talented clothing designer and sweater maker whose work is featured in this post, we can look to the iconic cover of the album that features an out-of-focus photograph of Reed taken by Mick Rock. One of the first sweaters Adams ever made was based on Rock’s photograph and her obsession with Reed would lead her to create an entire line of high-end knitwear inspired by the pioneering musician. In fact Adams’ company Small Town Girl took its name from lyrics to a song found on Reed’s much vilified collaboration with Metallica, 2011’s Lulu, “Brandenburg Gate.” Adams got her start working as a seamstress and costume designer for The Royal Canadian Ballet and Opera as well was what was likely another influential experience for her—a dreamy souding gig as the “wardrobe mistress” for the original Rocky Horror Show stage production in Australia in 1975. When she wasn’t busy doing that, she was regularly selling her sweaters at the popular outdoor Paddington Market in Sydney.
Many of Adams’ designs feature pop art images, some of which are derived from famous works by Andy Warhol who is also nicely represented on much of Adams’ knitwear. Other notable wooly famous faces include Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson, Transformer‘s producer David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, the recently departed Leonard Cohen, and Patti Smith. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here by describing Adams’ work as exquisite. She and her collaborators hand loom each sweater using pure Australian wool and then each piece is finished by Adams by hand. So it’s not hard to understand why her wearable works of art will run you anywhere from $45 for a head scarf to $470 for a Blondie “Eat to the Beat”-themed sweater which you can see below. If after checking out the images in this post you are filled with a strong desire to have one of your own, more information on how to do that is available on Adams’ Small Town Girl website.
US 1-sheet poster for the 1978 film ‘Just a Gigolo.’
“Everybody who was involved in that film – when they meet each other now, they look away (covers face with hands, laughs)... Listen, you were disappointed, and you weren’t even in it. Imagine how we felt… It was my 32 Elvis Presley movies rolled into one.”
‘‘David Bowie in a 1980 interview with New Music Express about his 1978 film, Just a Gigolo
You might think that the trifecta of David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich and one of Alfred Hitchcock’s blonde obsessions, Kim Novak all appearing in the same film would result in one of the greatest movies of all time. And if not that, something interesting? Passable? However, as you can see from his reflection on Just a Gigolo, Bowie felt that the film didn’t exactly meet his expectations despite its clever premise and star power.
Directed by British actor David Hemmings (Blowup) and financed by Germans, Just a Gigolo was an extravagant undertaking and has been rumored to be the most expensive film ever produced in the country at that time. It would also mark the great Marlene Dietrich’s return from retirement as well as her last appearance on the silver screen for which the then 77-year-old actress was allegedly paid 250,000 for two-days work. And though it’s dreamy to imagine Bowie and Dietrich filming scenes together, that never happened as Dietrich was filmed in Paris and all of Bowie’s scenes were shot in Berlin.
Though Bowie knocked film it’s got many memorable moments including a scene of the Thin White Duke taking a bath while being berated by a Prince played by Curd Jürgens; Novak’s character “Helga von Kaiserling” trying to seduce Bowie’s character (“Paul Ambrosius von Przygodski”) in a graveyard, and Dietrich’s unforgettable performance of “Just a Gigolo” at the conclusion of the film. To say nothing of the fact that then-then only 30-year-old Bowie plays a dashing male gigolo who makes money by wooing older rich women. It also has—and I would be remiss in leaving this out—a contribution by the Village People on the soundtrack! If you’ve never seen this wonderfully quirky film it’s actually pretty wild to watch, and I hope that the images in this post convince you that it’s worth your time. I’ve also included the American language trailer for Just a Gigolo accompanied by Dietrich’s haunting vocals for you at the end of the post.
Glasgow 1951. Exterior night. A busy city street. Fogbound. Trams and buses gridlocked—their windows steamy, yellow-lit, blurred faces peering out into the darkness.
Inside one of the buses—a mother and daughter. The girl is about three years old. She is happy, singing quietly. The bus halts. People onboard groan frustratedly, complain about getting home. The girl looks at her mother. She wriggles free and stands in the middle of the lower deck of the bus. The girl is Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie. She starts to sing. She has the voice of a “nuclear reactor” with the face of an angel. The passengers on the bus are enthralled. They can’t believe this tiny child has such a powerful voice. Marie belts out one song after another. The traffic starts to move. The passengers applaud and throw coins. This is Lulu’s first experience of fame.
Glasgow 1962: Exterior twilight. W/S of cranes and ships along the River Clyde and docks. The evening sky is bright orange. The buildings sparkle with the light from tenement windows. There’s a sound of distant traffic—blue trains rattling to the suburbs.
Interior Night: The Lindella Nightclub. Blue wisps of cigarette smoke, tables along one side of room, a bar with a scrum of customers, eager to get drunk, happy to be out for the night. Backstage - a band, The Gleneagles, are ready to go on. They can hear the audience getting restless. The bass player asks if everything is okay? Over the sound system, the voice of the compere introduces the band. This is it. A ripple of applause, a rush, then the band is on stage.
At the rear, a young girl, who looks hardly in her teens, her hair bright red, sprayed with lacquer, and rolled in curlers. She has a cold, but smiles, and looks confident. She holds a beret in her hand—wondering of she should wear it or not. The girl goes on stage. A pause. There’s feedback from the speakers. She checks with the band. The audience are getting uneasy. There are mutters, snide comments (“Away back to school, hen”) and sense of menace. Now fourteen years old, Marie Lawrie is about to change her life. The band are ready. Marie starts to sing.
The voice is incredible. Little Richard, Jerry Lewis and The Isley Brothers all rolled into this tiny redhead at the front of the stage.
At the back of the room—a woman stands slightly away from the crowd. She is mesmerized by the young girl’s performance. The audience that were about to riot are now lapdogs to this girl. The woman is Marion Massey—she is an agent—and she has just found her biggest act.
Lulu: (V/O) When I was fourteen, I was very lucky. I was discovered - to use a terrible term - by a person who was absolutely sincere. Since I was five, people had been coming up to me saying: “Stick with me, baby, and I’ll make you a star.” In fact, nobody ever did anything for me. Then Marion came along.
CU of Marion watching Lulu perform.
Marion Massey: (V/O) She looked so peculiar that first time I saw her. Her hair was in curlers underneath a fur beret. She had a terrible cold, was very pale and wore three jumpers. But I was very intrigued by her. There was something tremendously magnetic about this girl. I knew she had the makings of a great star.
London, 1964. Interior Day: Lulu performs on television.
London 1965. Interior Day—a busy press conference. Behind a table covered with microphones sits Lulu with a vigilant Marion Massey. Cameras flash, TV crews jostle for best coverage, journalists talk over each other, shout their questions.
Reporter One: With all this success are you rich?
Lulu: I get £10 a week pocket money. I get through about £5 a week on taxis alone. They’re terribly expensive in London, but I don’t know my way about well enough to take buses and the only time I went on the tube by myself I got lost…
Reporter Two: What do you spend your money on?
Lulu: Shoes are my weakness, I’ve got eight pairs going at the moment plus two that have just about had it.
Reporter Three: Where are you staying?”
Lulu: At Aunt Janey’s.
Marion Massey: My Mother’s.
Lulu: Auntie Janey’s a wonderful cook. She does gefilte fish, boiled or fried.
Reporter One: Do you like it?
Lulu: Yes. I like it fried. (Pause) With ketchup.
Reporter Four: What’s going to be your next hit?
Interior Night: Lulu comes off-stage having finished singing “The Boat That I Row”. She is approached by writer and film director James Clavell—author of Shōgun.
James Clavell: That was wonderful.
Lulu: Thank you.
(Lulu is surrounded by fans who ask for autograph. The fans disperse happy with their prized signature. Lulu turns to Clavell.)
Lulu: Are you wanting an autograph?
James Clavell: No, no. I just want to tell you…that er…well…You’ve got the part.
Lulu: What are you on about? What part?
James Clavell: I’m doing this feature film and I want you to be in it.
Lulu: Aye, right. Your patter’s pish by the way.
James Clavell: No seriously, you’ve got the part.
Cut to: Footage of Lulu in from To Sir, With Love.
More hits and scenes from Lulu’s legendary life, after the jump…
This charming set of Christmas ornaments does a wonderful job of letting everyone in your circle know that you love St. Nick—and that the “Nick” in question is Nick Cave. Matthew Lineham designed them, and he’s done a wonderful job of working in “obscure Christmas memories and puns,” as he put it.
Many of his “obscure” references involve network Christmas programming from many decades ago. Siouxsie Sioux is transformed into Cindy Lou Who, the little girl from Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Morrissey plays the part of “Snow Mozzer” and “Heat Mozzer,” the memorable characters from the 1974 stop-motion animated Christmas TV special from Rankin/Bass, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Former Oingo Boingo frontman and soundtrack maestro Danny Elfman appears as “Elfman on the Shelfman,” a reference to the 2004 children’s book The Elf on the Shelf. Robert Smith is perched atop Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and DEVO‘s familiar energy dome is cleverly done up as a Christmas tree.
Lineham calls the set “A Very New Wave Christmas” but he has sensibly gone where the name-puns and name recognition will take him rather than obey strict genre definitions. Bowie and Cave might not be your idea of “new wave” icons but they were active in the early 1980s, at least.
You can buy the rubber die cut bendable ornaments for $10 a pop (“Mozzer” pair $15), or $50 for the entire set, a significant discount. However, due to the unexpectedly high demand, Lineham wants purchasers to be aware that any ornaments ordered today will be shipped “sometime between Dec 21st & 31st,” so don’t bank on them being available for this year’s tree—however, there’s always 2017, 2018, 2019, and beyond to think of. These seem unlikely to go out of style anytime soon.
Soon after David Bowie’s brief “retirement” he was already busy preparing for his first big public appearance since (apparently) leaving showbiz.
The 1980 Floor Show, Bowie’s special episode of The Midnight Special, the uber-popular US TV music program, was shot over the course of three days in October of 1973 with most of the footage being taped at The Marquee Club in London. The choreographed stage extravaganza included dancers, the members of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars band, Marianne Faithfull, The Troggs, glam flamenco group Carmen, and the transsexual muse of Salvador Dali, model and (later) singer Amanda Lear.
When it comes to the rehearsal footage in this post, as one YouTube commenter put it, you could cut the sexual tension between Bowie and Lear “with a knife.” Bowie looks ethereal clad in all in white with his signature bright red mullet and otherworldly good looks while he exchanges lines—I think from Lewis Carroll?—with Lear whose famous “come-hither” raspy voice purrs back at Bowie like a cat about to pounce on her prey. Here’s Bowie musing about why he choose The Marquee for his “happy unretirement party”:
There were a lot of clubs to go to in the Soho scene in the 60’s but The Marquee was top of the list, because musicians did hang out there, pretending to talk business and picking up gigs - but picking up girls mostly. One of my keenest memories of The Marquee in the ‘60’s was having a permanent erection because there were so many fantastic looking girls in there, it was all tourists, especially in summer, all flocking to London to get an R&B star. My final performance of Ziggy Stardust was at The Marquee. I wanted to go back there because I had so many good memories over the years.
The intimate footage shows Bowie and Lear laughing at each other as they each mess up their lines—it’s really quite something to see and feels more like a home movie than a high-powered television production. While the video quality is slightly lacking at times the audio more than makes up for it as does Bowie’s impossibly beautiful face which practically jumps off the screen. It’s yet another nostalgic and heartwarming look back at David Bowie—the indisputable personification of cool in his element. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ll never, ever stop missing him, a feeling that this video reinforces all the more.
Amanda Lear and David Bowie, 1973.
Charmingly intimate footage of David Bowie and Amanda Lear rehearsing for ‘The 1980 Floor Show.’
I’m not the sort of person to really care all that much about, or even notice, expert knitting or “crafting” or embroidery or anything remotely like that. This very sentence will probably mark my first time using the word “felted” and it might very well be the last. I’ve got no business being in a Hobby Lobby. I’m not putting it down, but it’s not my area of interest.
That was until I saw the jaw-dropping sweaters made by Amimono Horinouchi, a 49-year-old knitwear artiste based in Tokyo. THIS is where my own esoteric interests hit the Venn diagram with wool sweaters hard. When I saw the Kraftwerk sweater, my eyes practically bugged out—they’re all so amazing: Debbie Harry, Ramones, Bowie, YMO—but what could possibly top that insane Kraftwerk sweater???
And then I saw the one on his website of Throbbing Gristle-era Genesis P-Orridge and was completely and utterly floored.
According to his Etsy page, which has prices in dollars, the bags sell for less than $200, and the sweaters go for about $600 which I think is a great bargain. He also takes commissions and will even do a sweater of your beloved dog or cat. I’d love to see him working in large tapestries. Incredible!
The cover of ‘Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead: Color the Ace of Spades’ coloring book by Feral House.
We can now thank the fantastic publisher of fringy Feral House for two more things—a pair of new coloring books based on the dearly departed Lemmy Kilmister and the Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie.
The cover of ‘David Bowie: Color the Starman’ coloring book by Feral House.
Of the things you get to color in the Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead: Color the Ace of Spades book are images of Lem as a metal version of Jesus’ crucifiction into the famous “Warpig” logo and shooting you the bird (because, Lemmy) as well as works by Joe Petangno, the artist behind the cover of Motörhead’s 1986 album Orgasmatron. Bowie’s book, David Bowie: Color the Starman includes artistic contributinons by filmaker and artist Mica O’Herlihy, illustrator Tony Millionaire, Plastic Crimewave (aka Chicago-based music historian and doer of many cool things, Steve Krakow), and underground comic hero Mike Diana.
I’m sure one or both of these coloring books are somehow going to find their way to a large number of our Dangerous Minds readers immediately. I’m also pretty sure either of these books would make a great gift for your Bowie and Lemmy-loving pals. I’ve posted images from inside the pages of both books below which are available now via Feral House for $15.95.
And as if this news isn’t cool enough Feral House is also running a coloring contest that kindly requests that you send a finished photo of your favorite images from either coloring book to them via email@example.com. Your handiwork will then be featured on Feral’s social media and you’ll be entered to win a copy of two of Feral’s upcoming coloring books for 2017—Muhammad Ali—The Greatest Coloring Book of All Time and one that you’ll only really need a purple crayon for, Prince—The Coloring Book.
David Bowie’s chance meeting with a faded rock star who thought he was Jesus Christ was the first of the building blocks that led to Ziggy Stardust.
Bowie was a teenage Mod fronting his band the Lower Third when he regularly bumped into Vince Taylor at the La Gioconda club in London. Taylor was an “American” rocker who had been a major star in France. By the time Bowie met him, Taylor was a washed-up acid casualty who had fried his brain after ingesting waaaaaay too much LSD.
Taylor was born Brian Maurice Holden in Isleworth, England in 1939. He was youngest of five children. In 1946, the family emigrated to New Jersey, where Taylor grew up on a diet of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. When his sister Sheila dated Joe Barbera—one half of animation team Hannah-Barbera—the family moved to California.
Like millions of other young American teenagers, Taylor wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll idol. His singing was so-so but he could do a good Elvis impersonation. Barbera offered to manage him. Through Barbera’s contacts Taylor got his first nightclub bookings singing rock standards with a band. He later joked he was only ever chosen to be the singer because of his teen heartthrob looks.
While rock ‘n’ roll was ripping the joint in America, Taylor was surprised to find that back in his birth country the biggest star was a toothsome all-round entertainer called Tommy Steele. With his boy-next-door looks and wholesome cheeky chappy banter, Steele was loved by both the moms and daughters across the land. Taylor figured if this was English rock ‘n’ roll, then he would clean-up with his Elvis routine.
(Sidebar: While Taylor clearly pinched Presley’s act, Elvis later pinched Taylor’s black leather look for his 1968 comeback show.)
When Joe Barbera traveled to London on business—he took Taylor with him. This was when Brian Holden adopted the name “Vince Taylor.” “Vince” from Elvis Presley’s character “Vince Everett” in Jailhouse Rock. “Taylor” from actor Robert Taylor.
Taylor adapted his stage act from Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. He added a biker boy image—black leather jacket, pants, gloves, and winklepickers. He wore makeup and mascara. What he lacked for in voice, he made up in performance. Taylor was a wild man. Utterly unrestrained. His body jerked as if he’d been hit by 100,000 volts of electricity. He wiggled his hips and thrust his pelvis at the hormonal teenyboppers who screamed his name. He was sex on legs. Vulgar. Nasty. Every parent’s nightmare, every teenage girl’s pinup.
His early shows in England during the late fifties-early sixties brought him a record deal. He cut a few disc and wrote the classic song “Brand New Cadillac” (later recorded by the Clash). Taylor garnered mega column inches in the music press. But when he should have been heading to the top, Taylor sabotaged his own career by failing to turn-up for gigs. The reason? His jealousy.
Before a gig he would phone his girlfriend to check up on what she was doing. If she didn’t answer the phone—off Taylor would pop to hunt down his girl and the man he imagined she was with. This meant his backing band the Playboys often performed the gig without their iconic front man. This unreliability damaged Taylor’s reputation in England. The Playboys split-up and reformed around the band’s one consistent member—the drummer.
To make money to pay his debts, Taylor took a gig in Paris in 1961. He was bottom of the bill. Top of the bill was Wee Willie Harris (later immortalized in “Reasons to Be Cheerful—Part Three” by Ian Dury). Taylor was pissed with the billing. He decided to show the promoters who was King. During rehearsal for the show, Taylor gave one of his greatest most violent most outrageous performances. He was a rock ‘n’ roll animal. The promoters saw their error and gave Taylor top billing.
This gig made Taylor an overnight star in France.
More on the rock-n-roll ‘Naz(arene) with God-given ass,’ after the jump…
A beaming Hoshika Rumiko with The Beatles on the cover of issue number eight of ‘Music Life,’ 1965.
According to fans the Japanese magazine Music Life (published by Shinko Music Entertainment) is considered the greatest music publication in Japan. The magazine got its real start sometime in 1951 after a failed launch five-years earlier in 1946. When a former member of the magazine’s editorial staff, Hoshika Rumiko, took over as the magazine’s editor in 1964, she also became the first Japanese journalist to interview The Beatles in London and then once again when the band came to Japan in 1966. Rumiko even appeared on the cover of Music Life in 1965 along with John, Paul, George and Ringo dressed in traditional Japanese attire. When her interview with the Fab Four was published the magazine sold 250,000 copies—a far cry from their usual distribution of 50,000-70,000 copies per issue.
Known for its high-quality photographs printed on thick glossy paper Music Life was reportedly one of Japan’s best selling magazines during the 60’s and 70s and featured photos and interviews with EVERYONE that was anyone especially musical acts that were “big in Japan” like David Sylvian (of the band Japan), Queen, The Runways, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Frank Zappa, and of course KISS. Most of the images I’ve included here I’ve never laid eyes on myself, like one of an eighteen-year-old Peter Frampton with a brown Beatle-esque haircut from 1968 and another of Iron Maiden posing the cover of Music Life in 1981 with a heavy metal-looking Kabuki entertainer instead of their faithful mascot Eddie.
The magazine called it a day in 1998 and Rumiko is currently working to complete her biography detailing her life as a pioneering female journalist in Japan (something I will absolutely be reading when it comes out in English) sometime late this year. As I know many of our Dangerous Minds readers enjoy collecting vintage music magazines, copies of Music Life are fairly easy to come by and will run you anywhere from $20 to about $75 bucks an issue on eBay. If you dig what you see in this post, you can also see more of the magazine’s cool covers that date back to 1968 at this archival site.
Marc Bolan of T.Rex on the cover of issue number twelve of ‘Music Life,’ 1972.
Whether that means that a Bowie show in Japan would be different than any other Bowie show is a matter for debate, but on the evidence of this pro-shot set from the Budokan in December 1978, he certainly didn’t mail it in. The footage was shot for a very Japanese-sounding show focusing on rock music: The Young Music Show.
This was the Isolar II tour from 1978. Brian Eno was supposed to take part in the tour but health reasons interfered. The most notable players are Adrian Belew and Carlos Alomar. Low and “Heroes” had both come out the previous year, so it’s not surprising that nine songs from the set come from those two albums. In the middle of the show there is a series of six songs from Ziggy Stardust. The Isolar II tour started in March and lasted until this show in December. In fact, this was the last concert he would play for several years, until the Serious Moonlight tour in 1983.
For the tail end of the concert Bowie dons a white captain’s hat, which only serves to show that Bowie could make anything look fashionable.