April 24: David Bowie released Diamond Dogs in 1974

When this came out in 1974, it was roundly dismissed as Ziggy Stardust’s last strangled gasp. In hindsight, Diamond Dogs is marginally more worthwhile; its resigned nihilism inspired interesting gloom and doom from later goth and industrial acts such as Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails.
~Mark Kemp (rollingstone.com in 2004)

All this hopelessness and annihilation would be suffocating if it weren’t for Bowie’s exuberance. He throws himself into Orwell’s draconian hell as if strutting around in Kansai Yamamoto’s Aladdin Sane-era bodysuit; it fits his skeletal contours. Determined to reaffirm his relevance in spite of his setbacks, the singer sparkled so brightly that he offset the darkness of his material. Just as Watergate was coming to a boil, singer-songwriters and prog-rockers were glutting the charts, and ’60s resistance was morphing into ’70s complacency, this sweet rebel (rebel) made revolution strangely sexy again. Glaring at you from Dogs’ cover with canine hindquarters and emaciated features like the circus sideshow Freaks he footnotes in the title cut, he served notice that rock’s outsiders remained more compelling than the softies who increasingly occupied its center, even as his ever-growing popularity chipped away at it. You can bet Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Television sat up and took notes.
-Barry Walters (pitchfork.com)

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March 18: Iggy Pop released The Idiot in 1977

The Idiot is the debut solo album by Iggy Pop. It was the first of two LPs released in 1977 which Pop wrote and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie. Although issued after Low, the opening installment of Bowie’s so-called Berlin Trilogy, the pair began writing and recording songs for The Idiot in mid-1976, before Bowie started work on his own album. As such, The Idiot has been claimed as heralding the unofficial beginning of Bowie’s ‘Berlin’ period, being compared particularly to Low and “Heroes” in its electronic effects, treated instrument sounds, and introspective atmosphere. A departure from the hard rock of his former band the Stooges, the album is regarded by critics as one of Pop’s best works. Its title was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, three of the participants in the recording—Bowie, Pop and Tony Visconti—being familiar with the book. I will argue that there’s really a “Berlin-quintet” consisting of: The Idiot, Low, “Heroes”, Lust for life and Lodger.

Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, is equally a David Bowie album as a guest singer/composer; Davis Bowie co-wrote all the songs (except Sister Midnight that was co-written with Carlos Alomar and David Bowie) , played many of the instruments and produced it (kind of…). Tony Visconti tried to salvage the over-modulated tapes at the mixing stage.

Released March 18, 1977
Recorded July 1976 – February 1977,Château d’Hérouville, Hérouville, France, Musicland Studios, Munich, Hansa by the Wall, Berlin
Genre Post-punk, art rock
Length 38:49
Label RCA
Producer David Bowie (and Tony Visconti)

Funtime:

“Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively”
– David Bowie

So, Iggy Pop acted as a guinea pig. David Bowie seemed tired of his ever-changing narrative or masks, so he used the opportunity making an Iggy solo record as a way to start re-inventing himself as well as Iggy. Iggy Pop and David Bowie worked extremely well as a team.

Personell:

January 23: David Bowie released Station To Station in 1976

The return of the Thin White Duke
Throwing darts in lovers’ eyes
Here are we, one magical moment, such is the stuff

Station to Station is a collection of soul, rock, funk, and disco, twisted by an influence of experimental German artists. This is David Bowie’s “plastic soul” mixed with krautrock. This is the introduction of the “Thin White Duke”.

It is Bowie’s tenth album, one of his most important and in my opinion, one of his very best!

stationtostation2

David Bowie came from the soul infused “Young Americans” into Nicolas Roeg’s film, “The Man who fell to Earth” (the picture on the cover is a still from the film) and then into this masterpiece of a record. If you see the film and listen to Young Americans you get a sense of what made the album. There is a switch from popular dance oriented music into a more artful approach. But, without losing the pop sensibility. It is also a start for Bowie on his journey back to a more  European approach to his music, even if it was recorded in LA.

“I know it was in LA because I’ve read it was”
– David Bowie

TVC15 (from rehearsals for the Station to Station tour 1976):

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January 10: David Bowie died in 2016

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
– David Bowie

David Robert Jones (born 8 January 1947, died Jan 10 2016), known by his stage name David Bowie, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator. He is known for his distinctive voice as well as the intellectual depth and considerable eclecticism of his work.

He will be missed

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20 Songs Released in 1981 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

1981 was not a great year in music for me, but still some wonderful albums & singles were relesed. Here are my 20 chosen songs.

    • Every Grain of Sand – Bob Dylan

      Written by Bob Dylan, recorded in Los Angeles in the spring of 1981 and released in August of that year on Dylan’s album Shot of Love.

      The love in “Every Grain of Sand,” though firmly rooted in Dylan’s conversion experience and his Bible studies, immediately and obviously reaches beyond its context to communicate a deeply felt devotional spirit based on universal experiences: pain of self-awareness, and sense of wonder or awe at the beauty of the natural world.
      -Paul Williams (Bob Dylan, performing artist:The Middle Years )


      In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
      When the pool of tears beneath my feet floods every newborn seed
      There’s a dying voice within me reaching out somewhere
      Toiling in the danger and the morals of despair


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10 Great Cover versions (videos & spotify)

Here are 10 wonderful cover versions, some even better than the original version..

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

The White Stripes – Jolene (Dolly Parton) – Live @ Conan

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Whipping Post (The Allman Brothers Band)

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