Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Not so often Formerly Daily Bowie #77 - "Somebody Up There Likes Me" - YOUNG AMERICANS - 1975

-Bowie - LA - 1976
The Not so often Formerly Daily Bowie #77 -  "Somebody Up There Likes Me" - YOUNG AMERICANS - 1975

David Bowie died one year ago today, two days after his 69th birthday.

I am going to try to reboot my Daily Bowie series just to remember David and celebrate his life for as many days as I can mange in a row. If I fall more than one day behind, I will stop.

Today is just reprints of Chris O'Leary's wonderful blog with two video versions of the song, which sort of speaks for its self.

We miss you, David. You left us far too soon.

PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME - "SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME"

YOUNG AMERICANS

DAVID BOWIE

Somebody Up There Likes Me is a song written and performed by David Bowie for his Young Americans album in 1975. Originally from the 1972 Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album, it was later issued as a single in 1976 to promote the Changesonebowie compilation in the UK, with the US single edit of "Stay" on the B-side





Different mix from the album version with some lovely pics from the 1974 tour.


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

Somebody Up There Likes Me



Somebody Up There Likes Me.
Somebody Up There Likes Me (live, 1974).

‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ is a ‘Watch out mate, Hitler’s on his way back’… it’s your rock and roll sociological bit.
David Bowie, NME, August 1975.

Bowie had entered the Seventies fascinated by supermen, dictators and Big Brothers, and the times suited his obsessions. But by mid-decade the old bogeymen seemed to be all going away, as if written out en masse by an author wrapping up an overlong book. Nixon, the Estado Novo, the Greek Junta, Franco, Mao: all gone between 1974 and 1976.

Of course there would be new, grotesque tyrants to come (Idi Amin and Pol Pot were still in early innings), but there was perhaps a moment, around 1975, of exhausted reprieve. Time, a meager but dedicated prosecutor, was ridding the world of its shabby emperors: even those who had died in their palaces were dead all the same. Or, as Bowie sang, carrying the news,

Leaders come, they hate [that] all
the people know,
that given time
the leaders go.

“Somebody Up There Likes Me” seems like Bowie’s recalibration, taking the image of a Futurist superman (which had become a bit shopworn by Diamond Dogs) and reincarnating it as a media figure, a TV “personality,” a handsome politician kissing babies and women, existing purely as an image, capturing the hearts of millions. He’s common (“[he] looked a lot like you and me,” much like how Bowie once described Bob Dylan’s voice), yet he’s also a star-chosen celebrity messiah, his song’s title taken from a Paul Newman boxing film of the ’50s, whose tagline was “a girl can lift a fellow to the skies!”

The ruler promises the same. He flatters his subjects, saying they’re the elect as well, that his celebrity is their doing, that the common people now choose their own deities. It culminates in the title line, which equally could be said by governor or governed; it’s a wedding vow, binding the people to their ruler in a way that makes the old tyrannies seem boorish.

For “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” Bowie reused some of “I Am Divine,” one of his Astronettes compositions. “I Am Divine” is a piece of swagger in which the cocksure singer tries to seduce a girl by telling her how great he is, as though he’s selling futures in himself. The perspective of “Somebody Up There” is third-person, the now-besotted singer making the case for his political messiah, though occasionally visited by doubts. By the chorus, he’s been joined by his backing singers, who pop in and out like advertisements (the piping “what they look like” sounds like a TV station ident).


Bowie’s song is a series of withheld pleasures. Bowie’s voice appears towards the end of an 8-bar intro, apparently signaling the onset of the verse, only to have the saxophone keep going. The chorus is a repeated descending chord progression that’s only broken by a move to F on the title line. And Bowie sings the full title phrase only twice in the six-minute track, while the backing singers often start the line but never quite finish it. When Bowie sings “somebody up there likes me” for the last time, savoring the high notes of “likes,” the song moves into a two-minute coda of exhortations and praise.

For Young Americans, Bowie had wanted to hire MFSB, the Sigma Sound house band, but couldn’t get them due to scheduling conflicts. So tracks like “Somebody Out There” seem like Bowie’s attempts to mimic the MFSB sound, with organ subbing for the string section and the chorus of (primarily) Luther Vandross, Ava Cherry and Robin Clark as the equivalent of the Three Degrees. (David Sanborn’s saxophone has to fill in for MFSB’s entire 10-plus horn section, which gets wearying, but Carlos Alomar on guitar, often hitting on downbeats, gives a needed kick to the track—he holds his own with mainstay MSFB guitarists like Norman Harris).
As with “Right,” another of his Sigma tracks, Bowie uses his vocal chorus in a pinpoint fashion, dropping in a single voice a beat before his lead, dotting his songs with varying interjections—sometimes Vandross or Bowie singing low, sometimes Cherry and Clark soaring up. The track’s sumptuous dedication to pleasure, its slick hedonism put to fascist ends, makes it one of Bowie’s more chilling songs of the period.

Recorded in Philadelphia ca. 11-18 August 1974, and it led off the B-side of Young Americans. Debuted on stage in early October ’74, and part of the setlist for roughly a month.
Top: Washington DC, 8 August 1974.


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

"Somebody Up There Likes Me"

He's everybody's token, on everybody's wall
Blessing all the papers, thanking one and all
Hugging all the babies, kissing all the ladies
Knowing all that you think about from writing on the wall
He's so divine, his soul shines
Breaks the night, sleep tight
His ever loving face smiles on the whole human race
He says, I'm somebody
He's got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart

He says, don't hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
He's the savage son of the TV tube
Planets wrote the day was due
All the wisest men around
Predicted that a man was found
Who looked a lot like you and me, yeah
Everyone with sense could see
Nothing left his eye unmoved, he
Had the plan, he had to use (somebody)
He's so divine, his soul shines (somebody)
Breaks the night, sleep tight (somebody out there, somebody)
His ever loving face smiles on the whole human race (somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody out there)

He's got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart
He says, don't hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) 
Somebody plays my song in tune
Makes me, makes me, makes me stronger for you, babe
Was a way when we were young, that
Any man was judged by what he'd done
But now you pick them on the screen (what they look like)
Where they've been

He's got his eye on your soul, his hand on your heart

He says, don't hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
That given time, the leaders go
Tell me, can they hold you under their spell
Can they walk and hold you as well as a
Smile like Valentino?
Could he sell you anything?
Keep your eyes on your soul, keep your hand on your heart

He says, don't hurry, baby
Somebody up there (somebody) likes me
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) (somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) (somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody somebody)
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody somebody)

Yeah, can't remember (somebody) peace so well

Oh, space to ramble, (somebody, somebody) space to boogie

Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh, somebody)
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh)
Somebody, somebody, somebody

Yeah, can't remember, peace so well
Can't remember peace so well
Can't remember peace so well
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
Soul shine
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh, somebody)
Soul shine (Ooh-ooh)
So divine
Somebody (ooh-ooh)

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

Rest in peace, David. We miss you.

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

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1701.10 - 8:35

NOTE ON WHY THE DAILY BOWIE IS NO LONGER DAILY: For 53 days, I completed daily Bowie posts. My schedule is too demanding to make a post every day, so this will now be a feature that is called The Daily Bowie, but it will not be daily. I will post as I can. I will post often. But if I miss a day, I will skip it. Otherwise, I get in the position of making five Bowie posts all in one day, and that's a lot of Bowie for people to swallow all at once... (yeah, leaving that badly phrased, innuendo packed statement. I bet Bowie would have laughed at it).
Post a Comment