Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Daily Bowie #42 - "Panic in Detroit"


The Daily Bowie #42 - "Panic in Detroit"


"He laughed at accidental sirens that broke the evening gloom..."

Ever since I first heard this song, it has gripped me like a drug with its Bo Diddly stylings and descending scale riffs. There's power driving this bus and it's the sound of the riots of 1967 in Detroit that inspired it.

The lyrics are also catchy.

I have seen all my Bowie shows in Detroit, and the crowd always cheers when he plays this song, though I think most of the beer and pot addled scene crashers at the concerts don't have any clue what the song actually means.

And yes, I am kind of a snob when it comes to Bowie fandom.




FROM - PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "Panic in Detroit"

The fall of the last revolutionary hipster is set in a post-riot, even post-apocalypse Detroit, with the lyric partially inspired by Iggy Pop’s stories of the 1967 Detroit riots. Yet just as influential was Bowie’s backstage encounter in New York with a former classmate from Bromley Tech, an unassuming, middle-class British kid who had become a drug dealer based out of South America. Bowie was taken with the idea that anyone, through stylish violence, could reinvent themselves into a famous counter-cultural figure. It was the glittering devolution of the American Left, epitomized in the Patty Hearst saga, the greatest show on TV in 1974 (Camper Van Beethoven’s “Tania”:“How I long for the days when you [Hearst] came to liberate us from boredom/From driving around from five to seven in the evening”).

“Panic In Detroit” is also Bowie’s instant snapshot of the America he encountered in depth for the first time, touring through it in late ’72: a country of empty spaces, fallen cities and sporadic violence. He told Musician in 1990 that one image that had fascinated him was of a sniper perched on a rooftop, dispatching random people on the street below him. “There were snipers all over America, on tops of buildings,” Bowie recalled (there weren’t, really, but Bowie was likely remembering Charles Whitman, who killed 14 people in 1966 during his sniper rampage from Austin’s University Tower, or even the “Scorpio” killer of Dirty Harry, who opens that film picking off a woman in her rooftop pool).

For Bowie, this America had validated his imagination—the dystopic worlds he had been describing in song for years had turned out to be real places, filled with glamorous decay and casual murder. “It was really happening,” he said. “Suddenly my songs didn’t look out of place.”


"Panic in Detroit" - SOME LINKS

SONG PLACES - "Panic in Detroit"

PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "Panic in Detroit"

"Panic in Detroit"

Aladdin Sane

DAVID BOWIE

"Panic in Detroit" - ALADDIN SANE - 1973




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"Panic in Detroit" - ALADDIN SANE - 1973

He looked a lot like Che Guevara, drove a diesel van
Kept his gun in quiet seclusion, such a humble man
The only survivor of the National People's Gang
Panic in Detroit, I asked for an autograph
He wanted to stay home, I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit

He laughed at accidental sirens that broke the evening gloom
The police had warned of repercussions
They followed none too soon
A trickle of strangers were all that were left alive
Panic in Detroit, I asked for an autograph
He wanted to stay home, I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit

Putting on some clothes I made my way to school
And I found my teacher crouching in his overalls
I screamed and ran to smash my favorite slot machine
And jumped the silent cars that slept at traffic lights

Having scored a trillion dollars, made a run back home
Found him slumped across the table a gun and me alone
I ran to the window looked for a plane or two
Panic in Detroit he'd left me an autograph
Let me collect dust I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit

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Rest in peace, David. We miss you.

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1603.02 - 7:54 my time - 4:54 blogger time


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