Saturday, December 23rd, 2006
Everyone has their own favourite bits of Christmas pop culture ephemra (hands up for A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, etc etc) but I’m particularly fond of the utterly surreal 1977 pairing of David Bowie and Bing Crosby on a version of “Little Drummer Boy” spruced up with a hastily-written counter-song they dubbed “Peace On Earth”.
The full story of the song is recounted by The Washington Post and you can both see and hear the song in question below – watching the video is essential to fully appreciating this particular crossing of wires, especially with the skit used to bring the two together. Does anyone know whose house it’s supposed to be? Someone real or fictional? I’ve listened repeatedly but can’t make out the names.
Speaking of The Thin White Duke, I recently read Dave Thompson’s Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth Of David Bowie, a biography of Bowie notable for the fact that it documents not in 70s when Bowie was one of the biggest stars in Britain, but instead starts in 1987, after the conclusion of the Glass Spider tour when he was arguably burned out and at his creative nadir (and Thompson already covered the earlier stage of Bowie’s career in the book Moonage Daydream). Though the music from this period is far from his best work, getting a look at the mindset of Bowie as he restlessly sought to rediscover his muse is quite interesting. Thompson is a bit too fawning and fannish at points but manages to maintain sufficient critical distance for the most part. Bowie himself was not interviewed specifically for the book but he is quoted from interviews over the fifteen years covered and I think that actually gives greater insight into him – he is fervently excited about and believes strongly in everything he’s doing at the time, even if history would prove it to be a misstep.
One thing I took away from this book, if not a desire to hear Tin Machine again, is the realization that I’d always thought of Bowie as a pop artist – and any of his best-ofs certainly prove he’s brilliant at that – but the downside of that is that I tended to dismiss any of his records that didn’t have a hooky pop hit on it. So while I’m not diving right into it immediately, I will be re-examining his more “difficult” records (I’ve been slowly accumulating the 70s stuff on vinyl) as well as maybe trying out Reality or Heathen at some point.
Video: David Bowie on Extras
Check out the new video from Jarvis Cocker as well as an old chestnut from Pulp, which coincidentally features a Bowie sound-alike (if not a lookalike). That Jarv has one wicked sense of humour, yes he does.
Kaiser Chiefs are at the Kool Haus on April 18. Yes, they’re apparently still around.