The news is a couple of days old but I should have been expecting it.
David Bowie had a thing for celebrating his birthday, January 8th, with the release of new material. Indeed, his very last album, Blackstar, was released on January 8th of 2016 and, sadly, Mr. Bowie himself passed away two days later on January 10th at the age of 69.
This past January 8th would have been Mr. Bowie’s 73rd birthday and it was announced that two “new” albums would be released featuring live material he made while rehearsing for his famous 50th birthday bash, where he had a concert filled to the brim with guest star artists (Lou Reed, Billy Corgan, David Grohl, Robert Smith, etc.) singing along to many of his biggest hits.
Frankly, I’d love to have that album but, for now, what we get -eventually- is an intriguing release featuring rehearsals for that very show. The songs will be released one each week and two albums will contain the music and be released a little later this year. Over at pitchfork.com you can read up on the details:
Count me in!
For now, the first release is what I consider one of his all time best songs ever. In fact, I’d probably rank it as my own personal favorite David Bowie song (though there are plenty of strong contenders!).
Here then, is the first release from that upcoming album, the rehearsal of The Man Who Sold The World…
Perhaps I said it before but I’ll say it again: For me, the David Bowie gateway opened with the release of the album Let’s Dance back in 1983. I went absolutely wild for that album and played it over and over again back in high school and whenever I drove around (much to the eventual annoyance of the people who accompanied me on those drives).
Back then there wasn’t an internet and you couldn’t google “David Bowie” and have at your fingertips all his albums to listen to. Being curious about his previous releases, I headed out to record stores (yeah, they used to exist back then!) and slowly began to acquaint myself with his previous albums/songs.
I was surprised to find I was familiar with many of them, including Changes, Space Oddity, and Lady Stardust (to this day I don’t know why that particular song stood out to me, but when I heard it after buying the Ziggy Stardust album, it was the song I knew I had heard before and was familiar with while the rest of the songs were “new” to me).
One day I found a cassette of The Man Who Sold The World (I’ll refer to it as TMWSTW from here on), Bowie’s 1970 album which, to my mind, is the first “real” David Bowie album. Note he did release a number of singles, including his groundbreaking Space Oddity (single and album) before that album, but with TMWSTW, it seemed David Bowie truly found himself as an artist and following that album came Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust and the legend only grew from that moment on.
Returning to TMWSTW, I loved that album to death and, in particular, the song the album was named after. So much so that I even named a character I co-created with a friend after my mishearing of a line in the song (the character has never been used formally and may never be, so I’ll keep that little tidbit to myself!).
Regardless, when Nirvana famously covered the song years later and it suddenly blew up and became famous, I was nodding my head and smiling.
Not to sound like a smart ass or anything, but the world had finally caught up to how great that song was…!
And here it is in its original album version:
And, what the heck, here’s Nirvana’s version, which really brought it to audiences!