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Posté le: Mer 26 Nov - 12:48 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
Tony Visconti Remembers Bowie’s “Heroes”, In Berlin
Legendary Bowie producer revisits Hansa studios, recalls goading border guards in evocative clip.
By Danny Eccleston November 25, 2014
TONY VISCONTI, PRODUCER of David Bowie albums including Low, The Next Day and The Man Who Sold The World, returned to Berlin earlier this month to revisit the birthplace of “Heroes”, one of The Dame’s, and rock’s, greatest albums.
In July 1977 the pair, with musicians including Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis and George Murray convened in Germany’s divided capital to cut future classics Beauty & The Beast, The Secret Life Of Arabia and the epic title track.
Here’s what happened when he popped back at the invite of finance news site Citywire – to commune with the building’s ghosts and the very much alive Hansa sound engineer Eduard Meyer.
Posté le: Jeu 27 Nov - 16:31 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
Published On: Wed, Nov 26th, 2014
Landmark Productions: David Bowie – Low
David Bowie has had many high points in his varied career, but musically Low is still unsurpassed, argues MusicTech’s resident Duke worshipper Andy Price…
Engineer Brian Eno and David Bowie Producer Tony Visconti and David Bowie
1. Speed of Life 2. Breaking Glass 3. What in the World 4. Sound and Vision 5. Always Crashing in the Same Car 6. Be My Wife 7. A New Career in a New Town 8. Warszawa 9. Art Decade 10. Weeping Wall 11. Subterraneans
Nineteen-seventy six was a troubled year for everyone’s favourite extraterrestrial pop messiah. Having long-shed his Ziggy Stardust persona and his subsequent finger-snapping soul-boy image, Bowie’s new showbiz life in LA had taken a dark turn as this increasingly emaciated musical titan became obsessed with Nazi ideology, the occult and (to a near-fatal level) cocaine.
1976’s Station To Station however was, despite all this, a very strong record, proving that, although physically and mentally the Thin White Duke wasn’t in the healthiest of places, musically he was still firing on all cylinders.
It was during 1976 also that Bowie took on his first major film acting role in Nicholas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth bringing the emotionless alien Thomas Jerome Newton to life and receiving accolades for the depth of his portrayal. Yet throughout this time Bowie’s addiction continued to dangerously rule his existence, influencing both his public and private lives.
Bowie moved to Switzerland in an effort to clean himself up and distance himself from the hollow fakery of LA celebrity culture, the soul-destroying effects of cocaine and to explore new musical frontiers. After working with his good friend Iggy Pop and producing his much-lauded solo debut The Idiot Bowie soon began work on his next record.
Initially titled New Music Night And Day, the album would be the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno whom Bowie had befriended several years ago during their glam rock days. Although Eno would be a significant figure in the studio, generating ideas and pushing Bowie in new directions he did not produce the record, the album was produced by Bowie stalwart Tony Visconti.
Guitarist Carlos Alomar had worked with Bowie since 1975’s Young Americans, co-writing the massive, US number one hit Fame. He was brought over to the Chataeu d’Herouville studio in France to once again provide his distinctive funky rhythm guitar for the album, he spoke to MusicTech about his time working on Low. “It seems that David and Eno had spoken about working together on an experimental project and the time seemed right” Carlos tells us.
“David was always one to be listening to a lot of eclectic albums from Kraftwerk, Nina Simone and Wire and it seemed that one of Brian’s more long-toned, dreamy, soundscaped albums must have caught his attention. The concept seemed to make sense though – create a synthesized world and then see if there is music to be found in it.”
The tracks conceived for the record followed two general patterns which would later be ordered on the two different record sides: the funky, fragmented pieces featuring a traditional band set up (Bowie’s by then standard players included Carlos Alomar on guitar, Dennis Davis on drums and George Murray on bass) would make up side A and the synthesised soundscapes would feature on side B. “All cards were off the table for this album,” Alomar continues.
“We knew that Brian, was running the show. Visconti and I had brought all our effects. I had foot switches, by-pass phasers and Tony had his toys. Brian had a synth that had a magnetic ribbon hanging from it. I later found that he could connect with it somehow, through this ribbon and have it sequence. Pure Genius.”
An Eventide Harmoniser was used a lot throughout the whole album
Side A kicks off with an abrupt fade into Speed of Life, a brief, vocal-less, synthy overture to the auditory journey that follows. Bowie foregrounds his ARP 2600 while the band play a circular rhythm. The drum sound is deliberately treated to be harsh and stark (on this track and the rest of the record) with Tony Visconti’s Eventide Harmonizer H910 and fades out just as abruptly as it began, giving the impression of a door being closed – and setting the scene for a salvo of fragmented mini-epics…
Alomar remembers the making of the shortest song on the album, the infectious and insistent Breaking Glass: “David and Angie (Bowie) had been arguing and it was easy to hear what was going on, so the music of the song needed to represent the way people argue. I really thought out the arrangement.
The drums and bass start out like somebody knocking on the door hard, I then introduce the first signature guitar line. When the vocal starts I hit one ‘A’ note but I slam the shit out of it, and keep droning it hard until the signature line begins again. Basically that’s what I was thinking. David loved it, Angie hated it!” Eno provides the shocking bursts of Minimoog, sandwiched between Bowie’s first set of tortured, purposefully emotionless lyrics.
Perhaps the albums’ most conventional song follows, What In The World features a guitar duel between Alomar and guest lead player Ricky Gardiner. “He was a lovely chap,” Carlos remembers. “Our personalities were well fitted, with him as lead guitarist and me as rhythm. As always I tried to honour his role by laying down rhythm ideas then, collaborate with him about what would be the best approach for his parts.
Although on some songs like Breaking Glass, the first part I laid down was a lead guitar part so we kinda switched roles comfortably on many songs.” Low’s first single Sound And Vision was an unlikely change in direction from the rest of the record. “David wanted the bright, jaunty rhythm,” Carlos reflects. “He wanted a kind of Bo-Diddley beat, so Dennis and I nailed the groove, I played some harmonised accompaniment, one cascading synth chord and the music was done, simple and complete.
Visconti’s wife Mary Hopkin later laid down some vocals and David even repeated the descending vocal scale he used on Fame with ‘blue blue electric blue,that’s the colour of my room’. David later busted out his sax and channeled all his jazz saxophone heroes into the finishing touch with his solo – pure pop bliss.”
Be My Wife was Low’s second single – an uncharacteristically jaunty piece musically, the lyrics however fit with the Low’s general theme of despair, loneliness and travel. The video finds Bowie looking a little worse for wear!
A New Career in a New Town
The instrumental side of Low is often regarded as a musical travelogue, a journey through Europe from the perspective of an outsider but the journey really kicks off with side A’s closing track A New Career In A New Town.
A Kraftwerkian pulse echoes through a tight, r’n’b beat, with shards of Eno’s synthesiser filling in the gaps, while Bowie’s despairing, wailing harmonica adds a human touch. Warszawa and Art Decade open the second side of Low with an overtly Eno-directed vibe, with Eno himself working on the tracks in isolation while Bowie left the studio for a few days to go to Paris. Eno used a combination of piano, Minimoog, EMS Synthi and Chamberlin to paint these textured, sonic landscapes.
In counterpoint to this, on the track Weeping Wall Bowie created and recorded every element of the mix himself at Berlin’s Hansa Studios, the setting where he would later record follow-up Heroes.
“On Side B we were asked to think ‘linear,’” Carlos tells us. “They put counting on the recording so we could tell where we were and then asked to play at specific spots, like ‘Carlos play something, anything from 67-93, then from 112-143’.
Once I was musically blocked on what to play we used Brian’s Oblique Strategies cards. I picked a card that read ‘do we need holes?’ It was perfect. I then proceeded to play a continuous line without stopping!”
Closing track Subterraneans incorporates elements of Bowie’s abandoned attempt to create a soundtrack for The Man Who Fell To Earth with quirky descending bass, mumbled intoned vocals and sharp, insectoid synth bringing the album to a close much how it began: grippingly inconclusive.
Initial critical reaction to Low was mixed – some lauded its remarkable and brave attempts to push contemporary music into a much more cerebral plane whereas others, including Bowie’s long time NME champion Charles Shaar Murray were slightly less than enthused. “Who needs this shit?” he wrote .
In subsequent evaluations of both Bowie’s career and the development of pop music as a whole Low has taken pride of place at the pinnacle of his oeuvre. It had a seismic influence on the fledgling electronica genre and the stripped down anguish of Side A juxtaposed with the desolate, European soundscapes of Side B would influence many of the pop-chart toppers of the next decade from Joy Division to Gary Numan.
When asked about his opinion of Low now 37 years since it was created Carlos Alomar simply tells us “I am always proud of my contributions to David’s albums. I walk in with no knowledge, concept or demos of anything. Everything is conceived in the studio. That in itself is amazing. The fact that in hindsight the Berlin trilogy of albums are now deemed brilliant doesn’t impress me. Because when they were released they confused the hell out of a lot of people. But I guess that with David Bowie each album brings a new challenge for both musicians and the fans.”
David Bowie Struggling to overcome cocaine addiction, Bowie moved to Europe and began work on the Berlin trilogy. An album series that he would later refer to as his ‘DNA’
Brian Eno The former Roxy Music synth androgyny now turned ambient pioneer had been a friend of Bowie’s for a long time, the two would work closely on the compositions for Low.
Carlos Alomar “We knew that we would just have to do this album and then, go home,” Alomar tells us. “We were focused though, on delivering powerful, joyous, unified tracks that David would love. And we did”
Tony Visconti Visconti’s role as producer of the Berlin trilogy is often understated, but his work on Low would cement a relationship that endures to this day. Visconti returned last year to record The Next Day.
Posté le: Jeu 27 Nov - 17:45 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
Je suis toujours étonné par le fait qu'on parle peu de Ricky Gardiner. J'adore son travail sur Low. Pour moi, il est bien supérieur à Earl Slick qui est fin comme un bucheron avec des moufles (je n'ai rien contre les bucherons) ou Adrian Belew (pas d'argument objectif à part que son son me gonfle au plus haut niveau).
Posté le: Sam 29 Nov - 12:26 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
tom a écrit:
Je suis toujours étonné par le fait qu'on parle peu de Ricky Gardiner. J'adore son travail sur Low. Pour moi, il est bien supérieur à Earl Slick qui est fin comme un bucheron avec des moufles (je n'ai rien contre les bucherons) ou Adrian Belew (pas d'argument objectif à part que son son me gonfle au plus haut niveau).
pareil, je suis dingue de son jeu sur Low... mais je vénère aussi les guitares de Station to Station!
Posté le: Dim 30 Nov - 18:48 (2014) Sujet du message: David Bowie's Albums Ranked From Worst to Best
David Bowie's Albums Ranked From Worst to Best by Bryan Wawzenek
David Bowie is not just rock's greatest chameleon; he's also one of music's most imaginative conceptual artists. As a writer and musician, Bowie usually attempts to convey a larger story within an album, whether it involves a total change in persona (Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke) or a shift in musical perspective (“plastic soul,” “the Berlin trilogy”).
But which one is best — both in terms of music and concept? We've delved into the 25 studio albums Bowie has released as a lead artist, leaving aside Tin Machine records and 'Labyrinth,' in which Bowie splits compositional credits. Here's a journey through his ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, as Ultimate Classic Rock ranks David Bowie albums from worst to best:
25 'Never Let Me Down' (1987)
There is no greater let-down in Bowie's catalog than the nadir of what he later called his “Phil Collins years.” This is just bad idea after bad idea: a self-serious concept piece about a glass spider, impersonations of John Lennon and Neil Young, a mid-song “rap” from Mickey Rourke, plus glossy production better suited to a Pepsi commercial. 'Never Let Me Down' also marks the only instance when Bowie deleted a song from his oeuvre. 'Too Dizzy' was removed for all CD re-issues and digital releases. Not that its absence made the record any better.
24 'Black Tie White Noise' (1993)
It's an indication of how lost Bowie got in the '80s that 'Black Tie White Noise' was hailed by some as a comeback. His first solo album of the '90s (following Tin Machine) hasn't aged well. Grooves stolen from the C+C Music Factory, jazzy trumpet solos and synthetic textures sound more like a lost 'Pure Moods' compilation than a dispatch from one of rock's great artistes. On the title track, Bowie was trying to comment on racial tensions in post-L.A. riots America (“I've got a face, not just my race”). Well, at least he was trying.
23 'Tonight' (1984)
Following the massive success of 1983's 'Let's Dance,' Bowie felt compelled to keep record stores plied with product, but found himself creatively bankrupt. He squeezed out a couple new tunes, collaborated on a pair with his buddy Iggy Pop and filled the rest of the LP with covers. Some were slick versions of Pop's old songs, as well as wretched takes on the Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows' and Leiber and Stoller's 'I Keep Forgettin'.' The album's one saving grace is the Motown-inspired 'Blue Jean' – an empty-headed wonder featuring Bowie's desperate shrieks… and a marimba!
22 'David Bowie' (1967)
Before Bowie lost his edge, he had to find it in the first place. And how twee he was back in '67. This inauspicious debut, chock-a-block with cutesy-poo baroque pop, seems to borrow the whimsy of the Small Faces and the Kinks, but forgets the wit and energy. Bowie sounds like a preening children's show host, mugging for the microphone (if that's possible) and making corny jokes at the end of songs (“well I might stretch it to Wednesday” he winks on 'Love You till Tuesday'). The Thin White Duke would eat this guy for breakfast.
21 'Hours…' (1999)
Bowie made history with this album, the first record released by a major artist on the Internet. Too bad the music couldn't live up to the milestone. He sounds as tired as he looks on the cover of 'Hours…,' floating in a haze of moody melancholy that only occasionally wanders into an interesting melody ('Seven,' 'Thursday's Child'). And just when he's put you to sleep, he abruptly busts out the forced Stooges tribute 'The Pretty Things are Going to Hell.' The change in tempo is welcome. That song is not.
20 'Pin Ups' (1973)
In the midst of Ziggymania, Bowie put out this covers record, containing tunes from his mid-'60s heroes the (Who, the Kinks, Them, etc.). His choices are excellent, from the Easybeats' 'Friday on My Mind' to the Merseys' 'Sorrow.' The latter was the sole single released from 'Pin Ups' and for good reason: It's the least overworked cover on the album. Bowie goes way, way, way over the top on the rest of the tracks. ('See Emily Play' could be mistaken for a Monty Python goof.) In spite of all the effort, 'Pin Ups' remains a slight affair.
19 'The Buddha of Suburbia' (1993)
A soundtrack in name alone, 'The Buddha of Suburbia' album contains only one song from its namesake (a BBC TV series). The rest is composed of music that Bowie created as a result of his work on the show. It's his least mannered '90s album and it allows the musician's creative juices to flow freely between ambient works, electro-pop experimentation and the satisfyingly simple ballad 'Strangers When We Meet.' Bowie (wisely) thought enough of the song that he re-recorded it for his next album, mostly because 'Buddha' virtually disappeared upon release and wasn't reliably available until a 2007 reissue.
18 'David Bowie'/'Space Oddity' (1969)
Bowie's second album has been released under three titles: 'David Bowie' (original U.K. release and 2009 re-release), 'Man of Words/Man of Music' (original U.S. release) and 'Space Oddity' ('70s, '80s and '90s reissues). Under any name, this is the record that effectively launched Bowie via the leadoff track 'Space Oddity.' The majesty of that classic remains worlds apart from the ignominious, Dylan-indebted troubadour stuff on the rest of the album. However, his epic closer 'Memory of a Free Festival' is a harbinger of the winning storytelling and sonic creativity to come.
17 'Outside' (1995)
A reunion with Brian Eno (who collaborated on the vaunted "Berlin trilogy") forged one of Bowie's most ambitious concept pieces. Due to the musician's lack of interest in a linear narrative, we stumble upon mere fragments of his bleak vision of 1999 where murder has become art and Bowie gets to act out all the parts. The music is equally as bleak, taking its cues from the hard beats and sharp corners of industrial music. It's a solid framework for Bowie and Eno to get creative within – the backgrounds are reliably intriguing, if not always satisfying.
16 'Diamond Dogs' (1974)
Bowie has a fetish for dystopian visions, including 'Diamond Dogs,' a mess of a concept record. Under a very loose premise involving alter-ego Halloween Jack, Bowie mashes together his last stabs at glam (the slamming boogie-woogie of the title track, the blazing 'Rebel Rebel') with portions of his rejected '1984' musical (the white boy funk of '1984,' the slo-mo R&B of 'Big Brother'). Bowie would better hone his "plastic soul" skills for his next record, on which he'd focus his efforts on the music and not some silly post-apocalyptic cartoon.
15 'Earthling' (1997)
'Earthling' has taken its shots over the years, namely that it emphasizes sounds over songs and finds Bowie being late to yet another sub-genre party (in this case, it was drum 'n' bass.) Both are valid complaints, but what outweighs them is Bowie's palpable excitement as a performer. He stands tall inside of the music, and if he doesn't have a whole lot to say ('Little Wonder' was inspired by the Seven Dwarves) at least he's singing with edgy conviction. And there are great soundscapes here, from the mechanical slow-burn of 'Seven Years in Tibet' to the paranoid android that is 'I'm Afraid of Americans.'
14 'The Next Day' (2013)
Everyone thought David Bowie was retired. By 2013, he hadn't released a new record in a decade and had sworn off touring. But then Bowie returned, bellowing "Here I am! Not quite dying!" on 'The Next Day.' If a return to genuine greatness was too much to hope for, then fans could certainly appreciate a return to form. Strong songwriting (about aging, celebrity and love) and full-bodied rock and roll makes for a pretty electrifying listen. It's not innovative art; it's just good music. More, please.
13 'Heathen' (2002)
After the listless 'Hours...,' it was galvanizing to hear Bowie sneering his way through the Pixies' 'Cactus' on 'Heathen.' There are other great covers on the record (Neil Young's crunchy 'I've Been Waiting for You' is a highlight) and some fantastic originals (the charging, slightly spacey 'Afraid' sticks out), but the biggest takeaway from 'Heathen' is how comfortable Bowie sounds. It's as if, in the early aughts, he suddenly became OK with the long arm of his legacy. This isn't "new wave Bowie" or "industrial rock Bowie," it's just Bowie. 'Heathen' is distinguished, thoughtful and spirited.
12 'Young Americans' (1975)
Halfway through the '70s, Bowie tossed glam to the dogs in favor of his new inspiration: the slinky "Sound of Philadelphia." He coined the Bowie-fied version of R&B "plastic soul" -- although it was real enough to land the singer a spot on 'Soul Train.' His addled version of Philly soul is compelling, with Bowie's enigmatic vocals creeping around wah-wah guitars and David Sanborn's sax. But album-closer 'Fame' takes soul far beyond plastic, somewhere into outer space. Funky, angry and irresistible, the No. 1 smash (created with an assist from John Lennon), is still ahead of its time.
11 'The Man Who Sold the World' (1970)
Forsaking his folk fascination, Bowie dove into the deep (purple) end of the rock pool with his third LP. 'The Man Who Sold the World' remains one of the artist's most muscular sounding albums -- which is amusing, seeing as Bowie's in a dress on the cover. The music is hard, but the lyrics show a beguiling vulnerability. 'All the Madmen' ranks with Bowie's best material, as the artist sings about insanity with incredible empathy. (The song was inspired by his schizophrenic half-brother.) And there's the title track, a more layered and haunting sci-fi experience than Nirvana's rather excellent 'Unplugged' cover.
10 'Reality' (2003)
If much of Bowie's late-era work is about anxiety, 'Reality' is his anxious opus. Leadoff track 'New Killer Star' takes on post-9/11 New York City. In the best way, the driving song offers elliptical commentary before settling on a solution: "Let's face the music and dance." Elsewhere, Bowie goes very simple, crooning over distant guitar strains and simple piano chords on the faded film noir of 'The Loneliest Guy.' He kicks a hole through the Modern Lovers' clever 'Pablo Picasso.' As with 'Heathen,' Bowie sounds comfortable -- while sounding anxiety-riddled. How's that for 'Reality'?
9 'Let's Dance' (1983)
As the beginning of Bowie's decline into commercial mediocrity, 'Let's Dance' gets lumped in with the two awful albums that followed. But the LP is a gem. Sure, some of these songs are incredibly poppy, yet each has an edge. 'Modern Love' is a bouncy trifle that takes on God and the church. This smoky version of 'China Girl' is threaded with ethnocentrism. The title track is a startlingly creative work of synthesis – blurting saxophones, clicking enhancements and a big beat behind Stevie Ray Vaughan's bluesy licks – that only strengthens Bowie's towering vocal.
8 'Lodger' (1979)
Sure, it's the least of the "Berlin trilogy" but 'Lodger' is also a fantastic collection of experimental songs. Its freewheeling genre-bending gives it an air of daring. At any moment, the album's mix of reggae, R&B, funk, Afrobeat and roving rock and roll might collapse under Bowie and Eno's endless quest for creativity. In the process, we get some of Bowie's best songs: the sly 'DJ' and its melting synthesizers, the galloping 'Look Back in Anger' and the haphazard 'Boys Keep Swinging.' The worst thing you can say about 'Lodger' is that it's almost as good as two of the best albums ever made.
7 'Scary Monsters [and Super Creeps]' (1980)
The capper to Bowie's almost uniformly excellent decade might feature the best side of music in his career. Side One begins with Bowie screaming in confusion ('It's No Game') and ends with him mixing fashion and fascism ('Fashion'). In between, he discovers a choral groove, dons a Cockney accent and takes a swipe at his own mythology by writing a sequel to 'Space Oddity.' Of course, 'Ashes to Ashes' is much more than that – a requiem for the '70s that takes place in a dimension which exists somewhere between Sam Cooke and Pink Floyd.
6 'Aladdin Sane' (1973)
Bowie took Ziggy to America and came back with this rifftastic collection of hard-rocking glam. Guitarist Mick Ronson is on fire throughout, charging through 'Panic in Detroit' and digging a deep groove on 'The Jean Genie.' Bowie acquits himself just as well, delivering the sweeping, bizarre 'Drive-In Saturday' in which citizens of the future watch old porno flicks to re-learn how to have sex. Better than any specific thing he does, Bowie just seems fearless on 'Aladdin Sane,' stretching his brand of glam to include the jazzy title track, a rollicking Rolling Stones cover and even a dash of doo-wop.
5 'Heroes' (1977)
The most “Berlin” LP of the trilogy, 'Heroes' was the only album fully recorded in the German capital. (Its namesake song was inspired by Bowie's glimpse of producer Tony Visconti embracing his mistress at the Berlin Wall.) Recorded in a city split down the middle, this is a record of dichotomies, from the gargantuan duality of 'The Beauty and the Beast' to the gloomy yet gorgeous ambient tracks on Side Two. Art, beauty and romance exist, although never without the threat of menacing villains. Love won't conquer all, but maybe it “can beat them, just for one day.”
4 'Station to Station' (1976)
'Station to Station' is the transition between Bowie's R&B fixation and his interest in German electronic music. But this album is more than a way station. It's a transfixing hybrid of African-American music and European rigidity, giving birth to Bowie's latest persona: the icy Thin White Duke. The character was a manifestation of Bowie's twisted state of mind -- thanks, in part, to a diet of cocaine, milk and peppers. That's best reflected throughout 'Word on a Wing,' in which the singer yearns for the protection of religion without the requirements of belief. Bowie got better, but he made this fascinating album first.
3 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' (1972)
When people think about David Bowie, the name Ziggy Stardust is never too far away. This silly rock opera, with its wonderful, catchy songs, is what made Bowie a genuine superstar. The shocking red mullet did its part, but the music prevented Bowie from becoming just a glam fad. 'Starman,' 'Five Years,' 'Suffragette City,' 'Soul Love' – who cares about their places in the thin storyline? These are fabulous, epic-sounding tracks. The best thing on the album might be 'Moonage Daydream.' Ziggy played guitar, but Ronson made you forget all about him -- beginning with the freakout solo found on that majestic wonder.
2 'Hunky Dory' (1971)
This was Bowie's shoot-the-moon moment. After scoring a solitary hit ('Space Oddity') and little else in the course of three albums, the artist packed everything he had into 'Hunky Dory.' There's gleaming pop ('Changes'), sinister folk ('Quicksand'), boisterous dance hall ('Oh! You Pretty Things') and whatever the hell 'Life on Mars?' is -- other than one of the best songs ever written. Bowie pays tribute to his heroes Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Lou Reed (the grimy 'Queen Bitch') and, somehow, this all makes sense on the same album. No wonder Bowie always thought he could do anything – after all, it worked on 'Hunky Dory.'
1 'Low' (1977)
Made mostly in France, this nevertheless is the first LP of the “Berlin trilogy.” The title describes Bowie's mood when, while attempting to kick his cocaine habit, he opened up to new modes of artistic experimentation. Bowie kept his lyrics simple and sharp, whether writing about his lack of inspiration ('Sound and Vision') or his knack for repeating mistakes ('Always Crashing in the Same Car'). He also delved into free-associative writing or cut up lines of his lyrics, reordering them into a non-linear whole. Meanwhile, he worked in remarkable collaboration with producer Visconti (who created that splatting drum sound) and keyboardist Eno (whose synthesizer textures became a defining feature of the album, certainly Side Two). But 'Low' is more than songs and sounds. The creative partnership behind the record forged a feeling, a mood, a place. Like very few of the best albums ever recorded, 'Low' contains a universe you can inhabit, for 40 minutes at a time. It's Bowie's masterpiece.
Posté le: Mer 3 Déc - 19:39 (2014) Sujet du message: David Bowie: 10 of the best
David Bowie … looking tanned, rested and ready in 1974. Photograph: Terry O'Neill/Getty Images
Jeremy Allen Wednesday 3 December 2014 10.47 GMT
David Bowie: 10 of the best
If you don’t want to wade your way through Bowie’s new 3 CD set, here’s his career distilled to nine of his own performances, and one song he gifted to another band
1 SPACE ODDITY When David Bowie hit No 5 in 1969, he must have thought he’d finally made it, but his inability to follow Space Oddity with another song that captured the nation’s imagination would see him drift back to outsiderdom for a few years yet. In modern times, artists signed to major labels are rarely afforded the luxury of even three strikes before they’re out, which is in sharp contrast to the many years a young David Jones spent as a second-rate Anthony Newley impersonator, trying on different styles and attempting to figure out what it was he wanted to do. His first hit in 1967, The Laughing Gnome, was a novelty single that still causes him embarrassment, and then his first bona fide smash came two years after that, given a massive leg-up thanks to its topical subject matter. Long time producer Tony Visconti passed over the opportunity to work on Space Oddity to Gus Dudgeon, calling it “a cheap shot, a gimmick to cash in on the moon landings” (though he recently admitted regretting his earlier sniffiness). There was certainly more than a hint of opportunism, but the song has maintained devotion, and is arguably Bowie’s most famous song, thanks to the epic sci-fi production, catchy close harmonies, intriguing narrative and the all-too-human dialogue between Major Tom and Ground Control that drifts closer to pathos with each passing minute. The handclaps don’t do it any harm either. The disappointment of falling out of the public’s affections so quickly after such a long wait must have hurt Bowie, but also galvanised him, and he soon learned the importance of communicating a strong concept. Within three years that notion would foment into a pop apotheosis. It was called Ziggy Stardust.
2 The Bewlay Brothers What, no Life on Mars? If choosing 10 tracks from the career of David Bowie is difficult, then trying to isolate a best moment from Hunky Dory is impossible. Life on Mars? written as a kind of riposte to My Way and in many ways more overblown, was not for nothing voted greatest all-time Bowie song by readers of Digital Spy in 2012, though it loses points here because its lyrics are largely gibberish. Not that The Bewlay Brothers doesn’t keep us guessing with its poetic abstraction and folky weirdness, but it’s somehow an altogether more cohesive conundrum. There are moments that creep into the hinterland of childish nightmares, the line about frightening “the small children away”, and the disturbing nursery rhyme sing-songiness of the conclusion (“Lay me place and bake me pie/ I’m starving for me gravy …”) which unsettles as much as it astounds. It was more or less written and recorded over the night of 30 July 1971 with producer Ken Scott, according to Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie, and the singer once said people could ‘“read whatever in hell they want to read into it”. Some have come with a theory that it’s about Bowie’s relationship with his schizophrenic half-brother Terry Burns, and his own fears of mental illness. Terry committed suicide in 1985, a subject written about later on 1993’s Jump They Say.
3 Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes If Bowie’s own career hadn’t been entirely rebooted yet in May 1972 (it was still another six months before Ziggy would fall to Earth), then the gift of All the Young Dudes to a floundering Mott the Hoople was the first salvo in a sideline career that saw him bequeath Lazarus-like extra lives to old favourites; his amazing restorative powers would raise American rock’n’roll legends Lou Reed, and later Iggy Pop, from their slumbers. Mott the Hoople had actually split up, or were in the process of doing so, when the call came with the offer of a new song Bowie had just written. His benevolence saw these builders in blouses take his glam rock teen manifesto to No 3 in the charts, their biggest hit. “Speed jive,” croaked Ian Hunter, “don’t wanna stay alive when you’re 25”. It was a song that was clearly dangerous, and with a line like “man I need TV when I got T Rex”, it was dangerously sarcastic, too. Bowie recorded a glut of rollicking glam rock classics: Drive In Saturday, The Jean Genie, Diamond Dogs and Suffragette City to name just four, but none were more exuberant than All the Young Dudes, and certainly not Bowie’s own version, which was lacklustre in comparison.
Ziggy pop … Bowie gets into character as Ziggy Stardust. Photograph: Rex
4 Rock’n’Roll Suicide Again, how do you even begin to decide on just one track from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars? Rock’n’Roll Suicide just about gets the nod for its sheer ambition. It begins with a simple acoustic strum, takes in horns, a compound duple time signature that gives it a walzy feel and a whiff of the old French chanson thrown in along the way, and a mesmeric finale of orchestration and Bowie screaming “You’re not alone!” at the top of his voice. Though just three minutes long, it creates the illusion that it’s at least twice that length. As the final song on Ziggy, it is a timeless, bravura piece of songwriting to conclude one of the finest collections of songs ever thrown together. Ziggy was the Bowie incarnation that resonated most with people, and at times during the cocaine madness he even admitted he became frightened Ziggy was taking him over. The character had to go, and while many were shocked to see him killed off so soon, it was probably best for Bowie’s sanity that he dispensed with him after just two albums, The Rise … and Aladdin Sane. Ziggy was essentially a rock opera that was bound to end tragically, and the clues were all there in the lyrics for anyone paying close enough attention.
5 Young Americans If Bowie knew all about breaking through with concepts pertinent to his audience, then he had to resort to writing about things that would be familiar to a US audience to score his first hit across the Atlantic (even if some of those things weren’t entirely flattering). Young Americans peaked at No 28 on the Billboard chart and included a Richard Nixon name-check, as well as alluding to Joseph McCarthy and also the civil rights movement in the lyrics. To be fair, Bowie’s obsession with American soul music went much deeper than just the desire for a hit. The musical transition from Diamond Dogs was a dramatic one, and all achieved in the space of 11 months. Bowie’s “plastic soul” period was a fine approximation of contemporary R&B with a soupçon of gospel, aided by American musicians that included backing singer Luther Vandross, Sly and the Family Stone drummer Andy Newmark, and Puerto Rican guitarist Carlos Alomar, who, on meeting Bowie, described him as “the whitest man I’ve ever seen”. David Sanborn’s saxophone break at the beginning may be one of the coolest and most iconic in pop, while near the conclusion Bowie cheekily slips in words borrowed from A Day in the Life by his pal John Lennon. The ex-Beatle appeared on the follow-up single Fame and Lennon’s stardust propelled Bowie towards his first US No 1.
6 Always Crashing in the Same Car Heroes might well be the populist choice from Berlin-era Bowie if you had to nail down just the one song, but Always Crashing in the Same Car is a more nuanced and enigmatic beast. Moody and paranoiac at the outset, it then develops a sense of motion, a Ballardian union of man and machine that borders on the sexual. The song was inspired by Bowie writing off his Mercedes in a Berlin parking lot while under the influence (“I was just goin’ round an’ round/ The hotel garage/ Must have been touching close to 94”), but there’s surely little doubt the voracious bookworm would have read Crash – which came out in 1973 – by then. The culling of the Spiders seemed cruel, and giving Mick Ronson the boot utterly ruthless, and yet Bowie proved himself not for the first time (and certainly not the last) a canny operator where collaborators were concerned. Guitarist Ricky Gardiner’s solo here is one of the most evocative and breathtaking of Bowie’s oeuvre, standing shoulder to shoulder with some of Ronson’s greatest moments. If Low was an album of two halves, with the latter part swathed in ambient compositions made with Brian Eno – all produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti by the way – then Always Crashing in the Same Car was a track that attempted hardest to bring together the worlds of pop and the avant-garde.
7 Ashes to Ashes Bowie struck lucky once again with a familiar figure, scoring his second Major Tom-themed No 1, and if Space Oddity concealed a clandestine metaphor about heroin addiction, then in 1980 we find Tom way down in the hole, “hitting an all-time low”. By invoking the character that kickstarted his career, Bowie seemed to be drawing a line and moving on from one of the most productive decades of work by any artist in pop history, and if that was indeed the case, then he was going out on a (strung-out) high. For readers of a certain age, it’s difficult to disassociate the music with the startling, spooky video, recorded at popular suicide spot Beachy Head, and featuring a young Steve Strange and three other Blitz kids plucked from obscurity when Bowie dropped in on the nightclub one evening in 1979. Another clue Bowie was looking backwards was in the makeup he wore in the promo, harking back to his days under the tutelage of mime artist Lindsay Kemp, but Ashes to Ashes – one of his most beautiful and frighteningly original works – also gave birth to the new romantic movement. It should also be noted it wasn’t short on new musical techniques either; it’s surely the most moving song to ever feature slap bass.
8 Modern Love Presided over by Bowie and Nile Rodgers, 1983’s album Let’s Dance sold in the region of 7m copies worldwide, making it Bowie’s most successful album to date. While it subsequently spent time in the wilderness, rejected by many because of its 80s production values, a reappraisal was all but inevitable and has coincided with a renaissance in Rodger’s career and an outpouring of love for the unprecedentedly successful producer/guitarist. Modern Love bursts with the kind of ebullience that was more characteristic of another stateside-straddling British solo singer – Elton John – at the time, and it’s not difficult to imagine how it might sound with Elton’s vocal over the top. While we’d now moved into an era where the certainty everything Bowie touched would become a stone-cold classic was behind us, Modern Love, with its sassy, sophisticated brass and nod to the call and response stylings of Little Richard, is just that. Director Noah Baumbach included the song almost in its entirety in 2012’s Frances Ha, and the moment Greta Gerwig is shot running in black and white to that frenetic beat and those familiar spoken words “I know when to go out, and when to stay in …” is one of the most exhilarating scenes in recent cinema.
Moondance … Bowie on the Serious Moonlight tour in 1983. Photograph: Thierry Orban/Corbis/Sygma
9 Absolute Beginners If his re-emergence in early 2013 following a 10- year interregnum was spectacular, then Bowie always moved in mysterious ways. In 1985, a group of session musicians working with Thomas Dolby at Abbey Road studios were handed letters from EMI requesting they work with a “Mr X”. You’ll be unsurprised to learn that Mr X turned out to be yet another nom-de-guerre for Mr Bowie. Players on the sessions included Steve Nieve on keyboards, Kevin Armstrong (guitarist with Steve McQueen-era Prefab Sprout), and Rick Wakeman, who added Rachmaninov-style flourishes of piano throughout. It also featured Bowie’s most iconic sax break since Young Americans. The track, written for the movie of the same name, came together quickly according to those involved, and as well as being one of Bowie’s best songs, it arrived in isolation during one of the more forgettable periods of his career. Heartbreakingly romantic and optimistic, it tipped a fedora to the 1950s in homage to the writings of hip cat Colin MacInnes, though the film would turn out to be an overbudget turkey of huge proportions.
10 Where Are We Now? It wasn’t just that the song was great, but it was also about how it arrived, from out of nowhere on a bleak January morning in 2013. Rumours had persisted about Bowie’s health, and many assumed he would never make another record. And then there it was, a single video uploaded to YouTube, proof that Bowie was back and he meant business. Among all the topical cavalcades and the shitstorms, this song represented a genuine moment of unbridled joy for his fans, a distillation of all their hopes into one song, hopes that he might one day return with something we could fall in love with again. Here the Thin White Duke took the opportunity to look back again, this time at his Berlin years, and the unashamed fragility in his voice was all too much for some people. The old master had outfoxed us again, and the mind boggled at how he’d managed to keep this operation a secret (with military precision and signed contracts threatening to sue anyone who opened their mouths, that’s how). If Bowie had influenced the new romantics and the glam rockers and the punks, then here he was again shaping popular culture, with everyone from Beyoncé to Skrillex and most recently U2 following his lead by releasing music onto the internet without prior announcement and a preceding PR campaign. Each had their own variations and gimmicks, but it was Bowie who did it first. Rihanna may be next. The Next Day followed Where Are We Now? a few months later, and finally we had a new Bowie album that could genuinely lay claim to being his best since Scary Monsters. It was certainly his best since Let’s Dance.
Posté le: Sam 6 Déc - 09:49 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
(RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen To David Bowie Tell Stories With Lin December 5, 2014 1:54 PM
Back in 2004, Lin Brehmer spoke with David Bowie ahead of his show at the Rosemont Theatre. Talking philosophy, his new record, and the upcoming show, it was a conversation as entertaining as only Bowie could make it.
Posté le: Mer 10 Déc - 09:37 (2014) Sujet du message: J'ai entendu un truc sur David Bowie
Stunning Vintage Photos of Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and More
Throughout his storied career, photographer Terry O'Neill has mingled with some of the biggest names in show business. It was his comfortable, easy-going attitude that earned the now 76-year-old such incredible access to his famous subjects. "Getting to know my subjects and [forming a level of] respect [with] them allowed me the opportunity to shoot them in intimate situations," he says. "They acted like I wasn't even there because of the level of trust that we had built." Now, for the first time, selections from O'Neill's career are available for public viewing in massive dimensions. Until mid-February, BIG by Terry O'Neill is on display in Miami's Wynwood District. To mark the occasion, the acclaimed photographer shared some of the collection's most prized images—and the story behind them—with ELLE.com, including shots of Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and Judy Garland.
David Bowie/Elizabeth Taylor
"Elizabeth Taylor had been a friend of mine since Cleopatra was shot in London in 1962-1963. I was staying with her in LA when she asked to meet David Bowie, who I was shooting while he rehearsed his Diamond Dogs tour in the '70s. Elizabeth wanted to meet him and sound him out for a part in her next movie, so I arranged for him to come to lunch. He was four hours late and she was not amused. But she knew I wanted to get some shots so she played for the camera...before she called a halt. He never did get that part. You don't stand up the biggest movie star in the world and get away with it. I remember photographing David Bowie after that in 1976. I shot him with a dog and throughout the entire time, the dog was jumping and trying to bite the flash—every time it went off, he jumped. Bowie didn't turn a bloody hair, he was zonked out at the time, all the time. But he was such a class act."