As you can tell, I don’t update this blog very often. My next entry was going to be my Best Of 2015, which I had been thinking about for some time.
I was rather distracted by the prospect of a new Bowie album. At that stage, Blackstar and Lazarus had been out, with the video for the latter being released shortly before the album came out on 8 January.
Since his comeback took the world by surprise three years previously, I could do nothing but get excited about the prospect of a whole new album that was clearly going to be completely different from The Next Day. The day it came out, I was at my local record shop buying it on vinyl. I listened to precious little else that weekend.
I awoke on Monday 11 February and turned on 6 Music, as I usually do. The breakfast show started with very little talk from Shaun Keaveny and an awful lot of music. I opened Facebook and read a post in the Bowie group I’m part of that simply said “No”.
I’ve always said to my family that the death of three artists will hit me hard: Paul McCartney, Scott Walker, and Bowie. So it proved. I listened to all the coverage on 6 Music then, which was uniformly excellent. Otherwise I listened to Blackstar a lot and not really much else.
The excellent blog mentioned “Bowibury”, a scheme to listen to all of Bowie’s studio albums, one a day in February, a good way to get an overview of the great man’s work. This is the scheme I followed:
Feb 1. David Bowie + Space Oddity; Feb 2. The Man Who Sold The World; Feb 3. Hunky Dory; Feb 4. Ziggy; Feb 5. Aladdin Sane; Feb 6. Pin Ups; Feb 7. Diamond Dogs
week 2: Feb 8. Young Americans; 9. Station to Station 10. The Idiot; 11. Low; 12. Lust for Life; 13. “Heroes”: 14. Lodger
week 3: Feb 15. Scary Monsters; 16. Baal + Let’s Dance; Feb 17. Tonight; 18. Never Let Me Down; 19. Tin Machine I + II; 20. Black Tie White Noise; 21. The Buddha Of Suburbia;
week 4: Feb 22. 1.Outside; 23. Earthling; 24. ‘Hours…’; 25. Toy; 26. Heathen; 27. Reality; 28. The Next Day; Feb 29. Blackstar
There are few careers in popular music which are as diverse and brilliant at this and merit a complete listening (though I struggled with Tonight and Never Let Me Down – they never get any better for me!). And this doesn’t include live albums, other collaborations and bootlegs. You could spend your life listening to him. I’ve certainly spent the last fifty days doing so.
Highlights: I’ll just mention a couple. My favourite of the albums this time around has been Station to Station, much to my surprise. I’ve finally listened to The Buddha of Suburbia for the first time, and will definitely be going back to that. But the track that hit me hardest was this, from “Hours…”. A deep-cut Bowie selection from me would include this.
A very emotional listen.
Bowibury ends today. The needle has just lifted on I Can’t Give Everything Away, the last track on Blackstar. Just two entries below this one, separated by four years (I don’t blog much do I?) is the Bowie Admin Day entry, when I last did anything approaching this. The last line of that post read, “Oh, and Mr Bowie, any chance of getting out to the studio and surprising us all again?”
Boy, did he. Thanks David.