David Bowie – Look at Those Cave Men Go

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of David Bowie (he died at the age of 69 from liver cancer), so, any excuse to play some Bowie tracks…

David Bowie spent the mid seventies in Los Angeles, where he was doing large amounts of the white stuff. “I blew my nose one day and half my brains came out,” he later said. In 1976 Bowie fled back to Europe for some personal detox, and what became known as the Berlin trilogy of albums, the first of which was Low. This is A New Career in a New Town From the Low album…

David Bowie spent 3 years in Berlin. During this period he smoked and drank heavily yet managed to kick the cocaine. He is also alleged to have had an affair with a transvestite nightclub owner, as you do. This next track is also from the Low album and it’s called Always Crashing in the Same Car

A slight change of pace here with Life On Mars? which was recorded at the Trident Studios in London in 1971. Life On Mars? is often cited as Bowie’s greatest song, what with its surreal imagery and chord changes.

In 1968, Bowie wrote the lyrics Even a Fool Learns to Love, set to the music of a 1967 French song Comme d’habitude. Bowie’s version was never released, but Paul Anka bought the rights to the original French version and rewrote it into My Way, the song made famous by Frank Sinatra in a 1969 recording on his album of the same name. The success of the Anka version prompted Bowie to write Life on Mars? as a parody of Sinatra’s recording…

The Berlin trilogy of albums were Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). Next up is a live performance of the Heroes title track. The song was co-written by Bowie and Brian Eno and was recorded in West Berlin. Heroes has been cited as Bowie’s second-most covered song after Rebel Rebel. This performance was in Berlin in 2002, not so long after the Berlin Wall came down…

Rick Wakeman is best known for being a leading member of the progressive rock band Yes. Wakeman became part of Yes in 1971, shortly after turning down an offer to join Bowie’s newly formed band, The Spiders from Mars. Wakeman had a long association with Bowie. Amongst other things, Wakeman played the Mellotron on Space Oddity. He was also the pianist on Life on Mars?. Here’s Rick Wakeman, just hours after Bowie’s death, paying a musical tribute to his old friend…

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