Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Daily Bowie #50 - "Starman"


The Daily Bowie #50 - "Starman"
"Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive"

Okay, really this is a bit of a cheat as this is entry #51 because I started counting with zero because I thought now, gee, wouldn't that be fun?

But still I bumped the track I was going to share today for a "special" track for the 50th Daily Bowie (even though it's the 51st).

Many people used this song as a name for David Bowie when it was time to say goodbye on the day of his death, and over 51 days later, I am still saying goodbye.

You were larger than life David Bowie, as I remarked on Wednesday's HEY MOM #246.

And in watching today's video, I caught a lyric that I had wrong. Yay!


This song was recently featured prominently in the film of Andy Weir's novel The Martian, which has swiftly become one of my favorite books and films all within a little over a year's time.


DAVID BOWIE

"STARMAN"

THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND SPIDERS FROM MARS

PITCHFORK: DAVID BOWIE'S SCIENCE FICTION EXPLORATIONS

PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "STARMAN"

Sort of "Space Oddity's" second cousin, eh? Until recently with its renewed fame in The Martian only hardcore Bowie or Ziggy fans knew this song unless they were fully aware back in 1972 when it became the first single to chart in Billboard's top 100, though it peaked at 65th.

As with most everything Bowie (at least until Let's Dance), "Starman" charted better in the united Kingdom, where it hit number ten on Brit charts and pushed the Ziggy album to number five.

My own journey through Bowie's work continues to enrich and deepen my experience with his art as I learned something new, yet again, as I read about "Starman." Apparently, Ziggy Stardust himself is not the alien. I guess I did know this now that I write about it, but it's something I forgot and then misremembered, thinking, like most people, that Ziggy is the alien.

WIKIPEDIA: "The lyrics describe Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth's youth through the radio, salvation by an alien 'Starman.' The story is told from the point of view of one of the youths who hears Ziggy. According to Bowie himself, speaking to William S. Burroughs for Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, Ziggy Stardust is not the Starman but merely his earthly messenger – contrary to received opinion which often paints Ziggy as an extraterrestrial. The song has inspired interpretations ranging from an allusion to the Second Coming of Christ, to an accurate prediction of the plot for the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)."

The entry for PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "STARMAN" invokes Erich von Däniken's theory about aliens and UFOs that I just invoked on this blog back in HEY MOM #227.

Variations on this theme were common in the Seventies, from the popular Erich von Däniken theory that mysterious aliens had helped guide the progress of human civilization, to the benevolent star-children of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to even Doctor Who, where in the early ’70s the cosmos-traveling Doctor was exiled on present-day Earth and freelanced for the military.*
“Starman” is also a pop song about pop music. Bowie’s alien appears only as a voice on the radio (he’s basically a cosmic DJ), whispering secrets to a teenager listening late at night—it’s how pop music can instantly create secret societies, break up the tedium of your life, liberate you from your parents. And “Starman” the track seems fused from a pile of old records. The octave-leap opening of the chorus is a lift from “Over the Rainbow” (so much that Bowie cheekily merged the two songs during a ’72 concert at the Rainbow, linked to above), the guitar-keyboard hook linking the verse to the chorus is taken from the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” or The Five Americans’ “Western Union” (Nicholas Pegg suggests Blue Mink’s“Melting Pot”), while the long “LA-la-la-la-LA” outro is pure T. Rex, particularly “Hot Love.” It’s a greatest-hits compilation in a four-minute song.

The rest of the PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "STARMAN" is worth reading as always and that's why it's a regular feature on this blog.

Bowie on TOP OF THE POPS - 1972
But the PITCHFORK article -- DAVID BOWIE'S SCIENCE FICTION EXPLORATIONS -- is a great essay that explores Bowie's relationship with science fiction through all of his music, all the way to "Blackstar." It's a FANTASTIC article.

"That tension between engagement and escapism hit its peak in 1972 with the release of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. A concept album about, according to Bowie, a “Martian messiah who twanged a guitar,” the record wends its way loosely through a narrative that outlines an imminent, Burroughsian apocalypse just a half a decade away. The opening song, “Five Years,” isn’t really about the oncoming year of 1977, it’s about the point on the horizon in which the future perpetually splinters, changing from a graspable string of linearity into an infinite web of maybe. That uncertain tomorrow is personified in “Starman,” a first-contact scenario involving an alien—Ziggy Stardust himself—who would 'like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds'" (from  DAVID BOWIE'S SCIENCE FICTION EXPLORATIONS by Jason Heller).
"Starman"

- THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS - 1972







"Starman"


Didn't know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin' down some rock 'n' roll 'lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive

There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

I had to phone someone so I picked on you
Hey, that's far out so you heard him too
Switch on the TV we may pick him up on Channel Two
Look out your window I can see his light
If we can sparkle he may land tonight
Don't tell your poppa or he'll get us locked up in fright

There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

Starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la


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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rest in peace, David. We miss you.

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1603.10 -  7:00

"Oh, no, love, you're not alone...."

Bowie Memorial in South London
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