Monday, January 25, 2016

Oh, That's Right - David Bowie Kicked the Bucket!

David Bowie was big for a few months when I was 16 - he burst on our school scene with a moderately good album called "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars." I bought it and have no memory of what happened to it.

None of us had seen anything like Bowie. He was clearly some androgynous pervosex weirdo (I still have my doubts about Mick Jagger). Like another moderate talent - Madonna - he spent his career reinventing himself.

After his album, he just disappeared for us, except for his hard-core fans.

Alice Cooper, on the other hand, was a different story. His album, "Love It to Death," also appeared when I was 16, and he was clearly about ten time more talented than Bowie (I now have the CD for "Love It to Death").

I smiled when I saw Wayne and Garth bowing before him, claiming, "We're not worthy!" (We played Alice Cooper at parties, but never David Bowie.)

I still think the music from the late 50's and 60's and early 70's is far superior to most of the music of today.

About 20 years ago I was walking by a van that was bouncing up and down. There were three teenage girls in the front seat listening to the Beach Boys. I smiled, since the Beach Boys were popular before the girls were born (by the way, Brian Wilson was a transcendent, although mentally ill, genius - listen to the essential "Pet Sounds" sometime).

I have CDs by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, so it's not like I'm trapped in the music of my teenage years. My mother had the Greatest Hits of Nat King Cole, which I never listened to until I was 21, and I thought, "Who is this guy? He's great!" (She had the .45 of "Rambling Rose," which was probably his worst song - and it didn't help she played it all the time, which to me became painful listening to it.)

I do know one guy who is still a big fan of Bowie - and he's a sex-pervert drug addict lunatic. I, on the other hand, still have Carole King's "Tapestry" CD - which was the best-selling album ever until replaced by Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

I don't understand at all why music has such a drug-like effect on people, especially teenagers (we enhanced it, of course, though marijuana). What culture does not have music and partying?


Shaun F said...

Bob - I don't know if Brian Wilson was "mentally ill." I knew he did a shit load of drugs, that probably affected his mind and behaviour. Did the drugs make him do crazy things? Probably. Is that mental illness? Methinks not. A point of note, someone I knew who ran a treatment center stated you need about 2 years off drugs and alcohol before you can accurately diagnose someone for what passes as "mental illness." BTW - You might enjoy the Dewey Cox Story, a fun satire of a lot of musicians including Dylan, Cash, B. Wilson and Glen Campbell.

Anonymous said...

"He was clearly some androgynous pervosex weirdo..."

Modernity's "liberation" of perversity has been spectacularly cruddy for art. When the old mores prevailed, weirdos like Alfred Hitchcock and Cole Porter sublimated their kinks and perversions, so that they only appear indirectly or by vague allusion in their art. Now that weirdos can "let it all hang out", they rarely produce anything that isn't boring and repellent.

Look what happened to Broadway- there were always a lot of homosexual men in Broadway, but before "Gay Liberation", most were deep enough in the closet that none of the audience really noticed or cared. In Rodgers & Hammerstein's day and before, musicals were an absolutely central element of American culture- most hit pop songs came from Broadway shows, and some of the biggest films were adaptations of stage productions. Now that homosexuality is no longer taboo, modern musical theatre (with a few exceptions) has collapsed into a mincing, rainbow-bedecked, sequin-spangled gay ghetto- and audiences stay away in droves. The IT Crowd's satire was all to close to reality: .

"I still think the music from the late 50's and 60's and early 70's is far superior to most of the music of today."

Popular musicians seem to have largely stopped writing catchy melodies sometime in the mid-Eighties, if not earlier. When was the last time you found yourself whistling the tune of a new pop hit written for adults?

Peter Driebe said...

Yes, but too much suppression (like in the Muslim world) will also kill every creative impulse. Though that could be mostly genetic.