“We like dancing and we look divine…”
Next Friday (Feb 8th) Tate Liverpool launches Glam! The Performance of Style and in celebration of that fact The Guardian newspaper in the UK has been glamming it up a bit.
First up, author and journalist, Jon Savage, picked his favourite glam tracks for the paper. Among the twenty selections were four Bowie compositions and two other tracks that the young Ziggy had a hand in.
These are the Bowie and related tracks with Jon's annotations.
2 David Bowie, Queen Bitch December 1971 "There should be some real unabashed prostitution in this business," Bowie told Cream magazine in late 1971. He did his best to make it happen with this Velvet Underground tribute, saturated in homosexuality and Manhattan sleaze. Mick Ronson's guitar slices through everything.
5 Mott The Hoople, All the Young Dudes July 1972 Bowie may have provided the raw material, but Mott gave the definitive performance of this generation-defining song, with its sneering reference to the Beatles and the Stones. The musicians curled and uncurled around Ian Hunter's snarling voice: "Oh is there concrete all around/ Or is it in my head."
6 Lou Reed, Vicious November 1972 Another Bowie production, and another career revival. Vicious begins Reed's second solo album in exactly the way that you would wish, with the poet laureate of Manhattan spitting out the Warhol inspired lyrics – "Vicious: you hit me with a flower" – while Mick Ronson, cutting through everything, embodies the song's threat.
7 David Bowie, The Jean Genie November 1972 Bowie reached back to his 60s R&B days with this one, based on the old I'm a Man riff but updated with Ronson's buzzing guitar, burlesque rhythms, gay double entendres – his by-now patented patch. The band did a fantastic Top of the Pops performance, recently rediscovered.
12 Iggy and the Stooges, Search and Destroy June 1973 Iggy wore silver, the Stooges were produced by David Bowie, the record sounded glam – all treble tones and slicing guitar – but Search and Destroy, like its parent album Raw Power, went much further and deeper than hardly anyone wished in 1973. Three years later, it would find its time.
18 David Bowie, Rebel Rebel US version May 1974 Bowie's goodbye to the youth movement he had helped to form – "You've got your mother in a whirl, she's not sure if you're a boy or a girl" – and his last top 10 hit for 18 months. This US mix has dreamy backwards harmonies, extra percussion and phased guitar.
Read the full list and listen to all the tracks here.
Also in recognition of Glam! The Performance of Style, painter, comedian and TV face, Noel Fielding, dived head first into the glitter to recreate the look of some of his favourite glam rockers for The Guardian's Culture magazine.
Here’s a bit from the interview he did for Culture.
Today, Fielding is dressing up as David Bowie, Brian Eno and German performance artist Ulay as a tribute to a new glam rock exhibition at Tate Liverpool. "I make an all right Bowie," he says, then changes his mind. "Actually, I look more like Cilla Black with that wig. He's got that amazing body… he just ate raw eggs and took cocaine, didn't he? He's so thin, you don't know what he is – sort of male, sort of female. There's something about him that's a bit alien."
You can view the rest of his brave attempts in the Culture gallery.