Sunday, May 31, 2009

Number 390 - David Bowie


Number 390

David Bowie

"Starman"

(1972)
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................Genre: Glam Rock...............
art by mistermook
This is the 6th entry for Bowie in The Definitive 1000 [6 if you include the song with Queen]. This clearly makes Bowie the leader so far with only the Beach Boys, Neil Young & Queen all sitting on 5 entries. Don't worry Beatles fans, they are sitting 4. Which just goes to show you that this "countdown" is not packed 40 entries deep with just the likes of the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Beatles and other artists of that ilk.
It was always the desire we had to keep this countdown balanced and especially acknowledge the songs and artists who were not favourable in Rolling Stone magazine eyes. IE the one hit wonders, songs not from just the USA & England and most of all, the artists that Rolling Stone magazine simply choose to ignore. For a classic example of that i only have to mention Neil Diamond and to be blunt [& no not James], we could possibly name a 1000 more.
Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan's glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie's fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam. Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like "Suffragette City," "Moonage Daydream," and "Hang Onto Yourself," while "Lady Stardust," "Five Years," and "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust -- familiar in structure, but alien in performance -- is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
About The Song
art by SeXyGuRl14
The lyrics describe Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth's youth through the radio, salvation by an alien 'Starman'. The story is told from the point of view of one of the youths who hears Ziggy. According to Bowie himself, speaking to William S. Burroughs for Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, Ziggy Stardust is not the Starman but merely his earthly messenger – contrary to received opinion which often paints Ziggy as an extraterrestrial. The song has inspired interpretations ranging from an allusion to the Second Coming of Christ, to an accurate prediction of the plot for the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). From a commercial point of view, "Starman" was a milestone in Bowie’s career, his first hit since 1969's "Space Oddity" three years before. NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray reported that "many thought it was his first record since 'Space Oddity'", and assumed that it was a sequel to the earlier single. The single initially sold steadily rather than spectacularly but earned many positive reviews, John Peel for example calling it "a classic, a gem".
Ziggy Stardust 1972
Its turning point came when Bowie scored a place on Top of the Pops in July 1972 (although this performance is often cited as being the first UK TV performance of the song, this wasn't so, as it was performed on ITV's Lift Off With Ayshea three weeks earlier). His performance with the Spiders became famous; according to author David Buckley, "Many fans date their conversion to all things Bowie to this Top of the Pops appearance". It embedded Ziggy Stardust in the nation’s consciousness, helping push "Starman" to #10 and the album, released the previous month, to #5. The single remained in the UK charts for 11 weeks. In the US it peaked at #65. In February 1999, Q magazine listed the single as one of the 100 greatest singles of all time, as voted by readers. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For more David Bowie see Number 455, #465, #495, #513 [with Queen] & #634
For Beach Boys see Number 517, #560, #576, #641 & #714
For Neil Young see Number 391, #417, #479, #677 & #938
For Queen see Number 539, #747, #799, #805 & [with Bowie] #513
For Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
For the Doors see Number 729, #746 & #851
For Led Zeppelin see Number 422, #577 & #957
For Neil Diamond see Number 698, #792 & #846
What does RS think of David Bowie?
Upon the release of David Bowie's most thematically ambitious, musically coherent album to date, the record in which he unites the major strengths of his previous work and comfortably reconciles himself to some apparently inevitable problems, we should all say a brief prayer that his fortunes are not made to rise and fall with the fate of the "drag-rock" syndrome--that thing that's manifesting itself in the self-conscious quest for decadence which is all the rage at the moment in trendy Hollywood, in the more contrived area of Alice Cooper's presentation, and, way down in the pits, in such grotesqueries as Queen, Nick St. Nicholas' trio of feathered, sequined Barbie dolls. And which is bound to get worse.
Eye C
David Bowie has pulled off his complex task with consummate style, with some great rock & roll (the Spiders are Mick Ronson on guitar and piano, Mick Woodmansey on drums and Trevor Bolder on bass; they're good), with all the wit and passion required to give it sufficient dimension and with a deep sense of humanity that regularly emerges from behind the Star facade. The important thing is that despite the formidable nature of the undertaking, he hasn't sacrificed a bit of entertainment value for the sake of message. ~ [Source: Rolling Stone]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '390th Song of all Time' was "Baby I Need Your Loving" by The Four Tops.has not appeared in The Definitive 1000 of All Time.
Other songs with reference to David Bowie #400, #401, #420, #423, #429, #431, #457, #478, #480, #481, #483, #508, #512, #522, #582, #592, #616, #661, #674, #703, #739, #747, #760, #798, #874, #953, #971, #980
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Would you believe we forgot this song?) and the Album ranked at Number 35
This song has a total Definitive rating of 79.2 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Joey Michaels said...

I haven't visited in a while, but just wanted to swing by to let you know I'm still looking in every few weeks. I have started a similar project (writing about every song in my iTunes library, though with nothing like your scope and detail) at my site and have much respect for your work on this project.

I just now in the process of writing about David Bowie and wrote a little something about "Starman" the other day. I was excited to see it made your list!

9:17 am  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Hiya Joey! Good to see you back. It wouldn't be a countdown if it didn't have STARMAN innit! Send me your sites addy so i can have a read ~ crowbarred

11:52 am  
Anonymous Joey Michaels said...

I'm at sadclownrep.com and you're most welcome to visit anytime you'd like. :D

9:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the Tx date for Starman on that Daily Motion video is completely wrong.

10:16 am  

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