Two years ago we were celebrating David Bowie’s 69th birthday, for the most part blissfully unaware that he had only days to live. Bowie’s 25th album, the increasingly poignant ‘Blackstar’, was released that day, and declared a critical success – a return to his glory days – while a whispered hope ran through his fans – “tours? Could there be tours! Please let there be tours!”
But it wasn’t to be.
Two days later the man was gone, having kept secret from the world the cancer which killed him. To say people were shocked would be an understatement. Devastation, utter bewilderment, a sense of hopelessness, would come closer to expressing what happened.
Two years later, the world is a much changed place. Maybe he knew what was coming. Nonetheless, on what would have been Bowie’s 71st birthday, we remember fondly both the man and his music. We’re still sad, but we still have him with us, living in our hearts and minds.
Spotify has made a 71 track Bowie playlist in honour of his birthday – you can listen to it here:
Even better, Parlophone Records have shared the previously unreleased demo of Bowie’s 1983 hit, ‘Let’s Dance’. Recorded in Switzerland with Nile Rodgers, it’s a stripped back and raw acoustic number, with Rodger’s signature guitar style evident, in the somewhat down-tempo rendition of the track. It’s similar but not quite the same as the final song: slightly jarring, a little off-beat, with Bowie’s “Sarf-Lundan” accent – always the Bromley Boy – strong through the vocals.
Nile Rodgers recounted the recording in a statement yesterday:
“I woke up on my first morning in Montreux with David peering over me,” he said. “He had an acoustic guitar in his hands and exclaimed, ‘Nile, darling, I think this is a HIT!’” He explained that the demo became a blueprint for the song as well as the entire Let’s Dance album. “The time we spent mixing it just before Christmas was full of tears as it felt like David was in the room with us. Happy Birthday David, I love you and we all miss you!”
How are you commemorating Bowie’s Birthday? Do you have anything special planned for this week? We’re listening to his music all day here at EP Towers, and we’ve got a few more Bowie articles coming up this week. If you’re doing anything, or if you’ve got some special memories, let us know. We’d love to hear.