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Thread: David Bowie and THAT performance of Starman from TOTP 1972

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    David Bowie and THAT performance of Starman from TOTP 1972

    Is it just me or has Bowies regularly repeated peformance of Starman from Top of the Pops in 1972 become very recently mythologised beyond all proportion?

    I suppose because he is a major artist, along with the fact that there is not a whole host of TOTP that survives from that era, the clip in qustion has been repeated regularly over the years.

    But recently it sems every new wave artist from Boy George, Spandau Ballet and a host of others are now claiming that this performance changed their lives, and was the sole topic of discussion in schoolyards across the land the following morning. Not so long ago no one thought much about this clip and now the chattering classes seem to rank it as a cultural event alongside the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or the Pistols on Bill Grundy.

    Did I fall into a coma and miss something or am I right and did this just happen overnight?

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    Never saw that clip before and had no idea that it has reached legendary status. I'm sure at the time it was quite the sight as I don't think musicians were cutting their hair short (not counting skinhead Slade) then or dying it orange or wearing skintight outfits. Those were quite the sideburns on Trevor Bolder, too. Bigger than Noddy Holder's and Ray Dorset's. By the way, who is that on piano? I don't think it's Mike Garson.

    Love the video, though; will have to watch it again.
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    Member Brian Griffin's Avatar
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    The"YesDancer" video recently posted had a more profound effect on PE, as far as I can tell

    BG
    "When Yes appeared on stage, it was like, the gods appearing from the heavens, deigning to play in front of the people."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lopez View Post
    By the way, who is that on piano? I don't think it's Mike Garson.
    Robin Lumley

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    There's a recently released video of Bowie performing Jean Genie on TOTP that was thought to have been lost .They have been showing it a lot on TOTP 2 recently ! It sounds like it was recorded live , at least Bowie's harmonica's different to the version on Alladin Sane !
    Last edited by Rufus; 05-24-2013 at 02:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    am I right and did this just happen overnight?
    Yepp. Never seen it before. Bowie wasn't even on our playground radar in 72 - that would have been Mud, Gary Glitter, Slade, Sweet, Suzi, 10 cc and so on.

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    Who knows- there have been several TV performances throughout the years that did have a profound effect on young people, steering them into music. In America and in the UK in those days there were only a couple channels available to watch- a really big US city might have 5 or 6, including the three major networks, PBS and an independent or 2 and the UK had, what, 3? So any performance that outrageous was likely to be seen, and have an impact. Of course, we all know how many careers the Beatles Ed Sullivan Show appearances sparked. I've talked to several musicians that vividly remember KISS on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special and picked up a guitar (or, more likely, bass) for the first time after. So who knows... the appearance of the Ziggy clip may be jarring memories for some musicians. After all, how many of you guys remember the Paul Lynde thing- yet I assure you a lot of older rock musicians do.

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    The BEEB are showing a documentary called 5 Years on Saturday night !

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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    After all, how many of you guys remember the Paul Lynde thing- yet I assure you a lot of older rock musicians do.
    Yup, I remember, and Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West and coffee commercial spokesperson) had a supporting role in the special. KISS did a remarkably bad lip-synch of Detroit Rock City IIRC. I was 14 or 15 at the time. What made it memorable was that my mother was in her 'holy roller' phase of life and had a few of her church friends (aka 'The God Squad') over, having coffee in the dining room while I had the special tuned in in the adjacent living room - when Margarert Hamilton introduced the band I cranked up the volume, and the God Squad stormed the room en masse to perform an impromptu exorcism to save my soul from KISS' Satanic influence

    On topic, my interest in Bowie was first piqued when he appeared on the Bing Crosby Christmas Special. Then there was Hugh Downs' 20/20 profile of him that aired around the time Scary Monsters was released.
    Last edited by -=RTFR666=-; 05-24-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I first saw it when that 2DVD Bowie video compilation came out - whenever the hell that was. I've always thought it was great. It's Bolder's sideburns largely - they're awesome! Also, the loser, kid audience dazedly dancing around.
    "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart...not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    Bowie wasn't even on our playground radar in 72
    Hunky Dory went to #3 on the UK charts in 1971. "Ziggy" reached #5 in '72. How can you miss that? I'd check your radar for defects if I were you.

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    Not quite right.

    Bowie had a top ten hit in '69 with Space Oddity, which was seen as a bit of a novelty hit on the back of the moon landings, and then disappeared of the radar for 3 years, unable to manage another hit or so it seemed. Though he remained a regular in the serious music papers, for the average pop fan he was a one hit wonder for a while.

    Hunky Dory, though released in 71, did not chart until late 72, on the back of Starman and Ziggy.

    "Yepp. Never seen it before. Bowie wasn't even on our playground radar in 72 - that would have been Mud, Gary Glitter, Slade, Sweet, Suzi, 10 cc and so on. "

    I agree with this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Hunky Dory, though released in 71, did not chart until late 72, on the back of Starman and Ziggy.

    "Yepp. Never seen it before. Bowie wasn't even on our playground radar in 72 - that would have been Mud, Gary Glitter, Slade, Sweet, Suzi, 10 cc and so on. "

    I agree with this.
    You can pretty much say the same about the Sweet, who only had marginal bubble-gum success until 1972. Suzi didn't release her first single until mid-'72 and her first album in 1973. Bowie had already completed a well-documented and successful US tour by that point. Gary Glitter was nowhere until 1972, and by 1976 he was nowhere again. 10cc's first album was released in 1973 and it went pretty much unnoticed. Who's Mud?
    I think there's a lot of hair-splitting going on here, and we wouldn't even be talking about most of these other acts if it wasn't for them riding on Bowie's coattails.

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    Incidentally, UK pop artists were generally singles oriented while it was the Brit-folk and prog artists who were selling albums. And if you didn't break in the US then your career didn't last long. By the release of "Ziggy", Bowie had reached an echelon that was not matched ever by any of the aforementioned artists, with the possible exception of 10cc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo View Post
    You can pretty much say the same about the Sweet, who only had marginal bubble-gum success until 1972. Suzi didn't release her first single until mid-'72 and her first album in 1973. Bowie had already completed a well-documented and successful US tour by that point. Gary Glitter was nowhere until 1972, and by 1976 he was nowhere again. 10cc's first album was released in 1973 and it went pretty much unnoticed. Who's Mud?
    I think there's a lot of hair-splitting going on here, and we wouldn't even be talking about most of these other acts if it wasn't for them riding on Bowie's coattails.
    Comparing these largely Chinni-Chap pop outfits with Bowie is nonsense is my opinion. Quatro, Mud, Glitter and Sweet traded in a charming but lowest common denominator kind of tribal thud-rock dressed up with some glitter to catch the ethos of the times.

    10cc was made up of songwriters who had been churning out songs/hits for other artists since the 60's.

    Though Bowie would influence many in later years, none of these acts owed much if anything to him in the early 70's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo View Post
    By the release of "Ziggy", Bowie had reached an echelon that was not matched ever by any of the aforementioned artists, with the possible exception of 10cc.
    Not sure what you mean by this.

    I think it is plain that comparing Bowie with any of those aforementioned artists is a major apples and oranges situation. They were bubblegum pop acts in the main and comparisons are pointless.

    As for whatever 'echelon' he had reached by the release of Ziggy, it certainly was not one of sales or success. Bowie had been struggling for some years to really make it until Ziggy finally hit. At that point he arguably had two great albums under his belt, Ziggy and its immediate predecessor. In the context of 1972 he was an exciting new artist but not the iconic figure we know today.

    As for America, Bowie had to tour hard for 2/3 years and only really achieved complete crossover success with Fame and the Young Americans album in 1975 (that much more palatable to middle America than the gender bending Ziggy and Aladdin). Up until that point he, under his manager Tony De Vries, had been overstretching himself and running at a serious financial loss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Comparing these largely Chinni-Chap pop outfits with Bowie is nonsense is my opinion. Quatro, Mud, Glitter and Sweet traded in a charming but lowest common denominator kind of tribal thud-rock dressed up with some glitter to catch the ethos of the times.

    10cc was made up of songwriters who had been churning out songs/hits for other artists since the 60's.

    Though Bowie would influence many in later years, none of these acts owed much if anything to him in the early 70's.
    Disagree , Bowie was wearing glitter make up & attire before any of those artists , in 1969 i believe !

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Though Bowie would influence many in later years, none of these acts owed much if anything to him in the early 70's.
    That's basically my point. All those other acts, sans 10cc, wouldn't have gotten the mileage that they did if, at the very least, the lightweight music media (Creem, Circus) didn't lump them in or attach them to Bowie's more far-reaching popularity. In fact, I don't even know how 10cc is even part of the equation. Completely different, imo.

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    I'm a little confused by you now to be honest. I am talking about Bowie in the UK principally - surely Creem and Circus are American publications, right?

    Did Mud, Sweet or Glitter achieve any significant success in America, or in fact any success there at all? Don't think so to be honest, which makes your point about them being attached to Bowies coattails in America a little questionable. Quatro, despite the fact that she was American, sold few records in the US.

    And anyway, Bowie took some time to achieve mass popularity in the US, not achieving it until these pop acts had largely had their 15 minutes in the UK, don't worry about the US.

    You brought 10cc into it, not me!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Not sure what you mean by this.

    I think it is plain that comparing Bowie with any of those aforementioned artists is a major apples and oranges situation. They were bubblegum pop acts in the main and comparisons are pointless.
    Read again. I wasn't "comparing". In fact, more to the contrary.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    In the context of 1972 he was an exciting new artist but not the iconic figure we know today.
    Yes, and I'm referring to Bowie in the context of 1972, not the Bowie of today.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    As for America, Bowie had to tour hard for 2/3 years and only really achieved complete crossover success with Fame and the Young Americans album in 1975 (that much more palatable to middle America than the gender bending Ziggy and Aladdin).
    Well, in terms of his 1972 US tour (and I was there to see it) he made the impression that culminated in his "crossover" as you put it. I refer back to my comment about breaking in America. Obviously, the correct approach was to re-invent himself after Ziggy, which he did.
    Last edited by Banquo; 05-26-2013 at 01:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    I'm a little confused by you now to be honest.
    Apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Did Mud, Sweet or Glitter achieve any significant success in America, or in fact any success there at all? Don't think so to be honest, which makes your point about them being attached to Bowies coattails in America a little questionable. Quatro, despite the fact that she was American, sold few records in the US.
    I'm speaking in defense of Bowie's importance and not the popularity of a handful of goofy hacks that wouldn't even have got 10 minutes if they didn't align themselves with the style and image (glitter, glam, whatever) that Bowie had already created or popularized unless you happen to believe that Marc Bolan was truly responsible for the "genre". Listen, nobody gave a shit about Suzi Quatro in the US, except for the teeny-boppers that were reading teen rags, but she couldn't have been more popular than Bowie ANYWHERE at anytime. In fact, you probably couldn't poll 100 people and find two who would even remember her from her musical career. I guess that 2% might be pretty good after 40 years, tho.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    And anyway, Bowie took some time to achieve mass popularity in the US, not achieving it until these pop acts had largely had their 15 minutes in the UK, don't worry about the US.

    You brought 10cc into it, not me!!
    Actually, it was someone else who brought up 10cc, I dont remember who.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banquo View Post
    I'm speaking in defense of Bowie's importance and not the popularity of a handful of goofy hacks that wouldn't even have got 10 minutes if they didn't align themselves with the style and image (glitter, glam, whatever) that Bowie had already created or popularized unless you happen to believe that Marc Bolan was truly responsible for the "genre".
    Rubbish. The artists discussed were all successful independently of Bowie. You overstate Bowies importance in the context of the British pop charts in 72/73, which is the mileu I was referring to in my original post.

    Listen, nobody gave a shit about Suzi Quatro in the US, except for the teeny-boppers that were reading teen rags, but she couldn't have been more popular than Bowie ANYWHERE at anytime. In fact, you probably couldn't poll 100 people and find two who would even remember her from her musical career.

    I already said this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovecraft View Post
    Rubbish. The artists discussed were all successful independently of Bowie. You overstate Bowies importance in the context of the British pop charts in 72/73, which is the mileu I was referring to in my original post.
    OK, you win.

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