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When Ziggy anchored John in the UK chart

 
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MessagePosté le: Mar 2 Sep - 07:03 (2014)    Sujet du message: When Ziggy anchored John in the UK chart Répondre en citant





1 SEPTEMBER 2014

When Ziggy anchored John in the UK chart

“There’s a sailor who sings”

On September 1 1972, RCA issued the non-album track, John, I’m Only Dancing, as a 45 in the UK. The, at the time, controversial suggestions made by the lyric made the record unsuitable for an American release.

The single entered the UK Top 30 at #30 on September 23, the same week that the Ziggy Stardust album peaked at #6 and the same week that Mott The Hoople’s rendition of the Bowie-penned All The Young Dudes left the UK Top 10 singles chart, having reached #3 a couple of weeks earlier.

Bowie had little time to celebrate the UK’s appreciation of all things Ziggy, as he kicked of his first American tour in Cleveland on September 22.

John, I’m Only Dancing peaked at #12 on October 14, 1972, a couple of places short of the previous release, Starman.

The single may have fared better had there been a more appropriate representation of the song on Top Of The Pops. Refusing to air Mick Rock’s promotional video for John, I’m Only Dancing (more of which in a minute), the BBC instead opted for their own specially commissioned Top Of The Pops film (TX: 28/09/1972), featuring Ruth from Pan's People dancing on a hilltop as a gang of indifferent bikers pootled around the streets below!

Around the same time, The Sun newspaper in the UK picked up the Ziggy baton and gave Bowie his first tabloid centrespread with the headline: SUPERSTARMAN! Written by Gordon Coxhill the piece made mention of the Bowie show, the hair, the fans, his ’daughter’ Zowie and why Bowie was now a better prospect than Marc Bolan. The paper also offered up a Bowie poster of the main image on the spread for 20p and ran a contest for 50 copies of the Ziggy LP.

Knowing he would be out of the country till December and unable to make a personal Top Of The Pops appearance, Bowie had Mick Rock shoot and direct the iconic promo video for John, I’m Only Dancing during rehearsals at The Rainbow on August 25th, between the three spectacular Bowie shows with Lindsay Kemp on the 19th, 20th and 30th of August.

Both the video and The Sun photos had Bowie sporting a small anchor on his left cheek. It’s not clear where the Sun photos were taken, but it’s possible they were from the August 30th Rainbow show. Were you there? Did you see the anchor ’tattoo’ at any other Bowe shows in 1972? The fan photo in our montage seems to suggest an altogether different show if the anchor is genuine.

Anyway, Bowie explained the inspiration for the adornment in the Mick Rock/David Bowie book, Moonage Daydream: “When the TV series Bewitched went into colour in the late 60s, for some strange reason Samantha occasionally wore tiny tattoos on her face. I thought it looked really odd, but inspired, so I used the little anchor on my face myself for the John, I'm Only Dancing video.”

Watch Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars perform John, I'm Only Dancing in the Mick Rock-directed video here.

davidbowie.com


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