Lex Neon on David Bowie

It started small. I saw him sing “Fame” on Soul Train, and I wanted the record. I saw him on the cover of Rolling Stone. I saw the videos for “Heroes” and “DJ.” “Ashes To Ashes” was shown a million times on different video shows. I broke down. I bought a Bowie greatest hits album called ChangesOneBowie.

On the album, I got “Fame,” “Space Oddity,” and the riff-o-rific wonder that is “Rebel Rebel.” I thought that the songs sounded other-worldly, strange, and rockin’. It excited me. Even though I couldn’t verbalize it at the time, I liked the variety of styles and arrangements of the songs on the album. It was a real fun and musically challenging listen.

Then there’s “Changes.” I was going through a lot of emotional changes when I first dropped the turntable needle on this track. I had just lost my two heroes; my grandfather and John Lennon. I heard Bowie sing:

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets (and)
Everytime I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet

I started crying. I felt mad, hurt and alone. I felt changed. I was mad as hell, and I felt that no one understood and that no one cared. Turns out that “Changes” signaled my puberty. How’s that for irony?

Getting back to the Bowie album, what really cemented David Bowie for me was the one-two combination of “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City.” Mick Ronson, Bowie’s guitarist, made a huge impression on me as a young guitar player. I wanted to get good enough to play like Ronson. His work is artistic, creative, and moving in this song pairing. I couldn’t stop listening to those two songs, and to this day I cannot listen to one without the other. ChangesOneBowie is a great beginner’s guide to the man and his music.

(Weird sidebar: I greet nearly everyone I meet by imitating the “hey, man” that’s very prominent in the verses. Strange how that stuck to my brain.)

If you want an interesting listen, dig a pre-Space Oddity Bowie track from the summer of ’67 called “Did You Ever Have A Dream.” I haven’t seen a lot written about this cool B-side issued with “Love You Til Tuesday,” but it’s one of my guilty pleasures. Give it a spin, and let it make you smile.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Currently listening :
By David Bowie

~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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