A Six-Pack of Bowie + Kinks Announcement

I thought I would use the occasion of this post to advise fellow Kinks lovers that they have managed to overcome their petty grievances and are getting back together for an album and maybe even a tour. Ray Davies said he was “inspired” by seeing the Stones play. Regardless of whether that’s cash-in inspiration or creative inspiration, if they tour, I’m there. 

Kinks Reunion

Ok, with that of the way, let us turn our attention to the subject at hand, Mr. David Bowie. I did a piece on him when he died and I’m still hoping to perhaps due a series. But this six-pack will fill in the gap between those and give us all something to listen to in the meantime. (As if you needed my help.) Six-packs don’t necessarily mean they’re the greatest songs of a particular artist. Just ones that appealed to me at time of writing and that I felt like hearing.

First up, a song I have always dug called “Diamond Dogs.” It’s from the 1974 album of the same name. Even though Ziggy Stardust was retired (or whatever), he still seems to make an appearance on this album.

Interestingly, Bowie plays guitar on this tune and on most of the album. He describes the dogs as: “all little Johnny Rottens and Sid Viciouses really. And, in my mind, there was no means of transport, so they were all rolling around on these roller-skates with huge wheels on them, and they squeaked because they hadn’t been oiled properly.

So there were these gangs of squeaking, roller-skating, vicious hoods, with Bowie knives and furs on, and they were all skinny because they hadn’t eaten enough, and they all had funny-coloured hair. In a way it was a precursor to the punk thing.”

Spotify link

Wikipedia: “Before the end of 1976, Bowie’s interest in the burgeoning German music scene, as well as his drug addiction, prompted him to move to West Berlin to clean up and revitalize his career.” He was also trying to kick a nasty heroin addiction.

The first album of his “Berlin trilogy,” Low, (produced by Tony Visconti), was released in 1977. Initially treated with some critical disdain especially because of its non-commercial leanings, by 2013 the New Musical Express listed it as #14 in the list of Greatest British albums ever. And people started to realize (if they hadn’t already) that Bowie wasn’t just some rock ‘n roller but a true artist willing to push the boundaries out.

All that said, the song “Sound and Vision,” – which inspired this post – is somewhat traditional in its feel. I hadn’t heard it in a long time and totally dug it. Brian Eno is on synthesizers and backing vocals:

Spotify link

Earlier, in 1976, Bowie had adopted the persona known as the Thin White Duke. The persona has been described as “a mad aristocrat,””an amoral zombie,”and “an emotionless superman.” Bowie himself described the character as “A very Aryan, fascist type; a would-be romantic with absolutely no emotion at all but who spouted a lot of neo-romance.”

There are two songs in particular that I want to feature from the 1976 Station to Station album. “Stay” as much as anything sounds to me like a song of – if not unrequited  – then at the very least uncertain love. And it’s got one of the great all-time killer licks. (Bowie’s tunes in general – especially the earlier ones – have a lot of good, chunky guitar stuff.)

The lick is by guitarist Earl Slick. It is a Slick lick, if you will:

Spotify link

“TVC15” “was inspired by an episode in which Iggy Pop, during a drug-fueled period at Bowie’s LA home, hallucinated and believed the television set was swallowing his girlfriend. Bowie developed a story of a holographic television, TVC 15. In the song, the narrator’s girlfriend crawls into the television and afterwards, the narrator desires to crawl in himself to find her.”

Alrighty-then! Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!

Spotify link

“Panic in Detroit” is a song I’ve always dug. Some nice guitar work here from Mick Ronson. Aynsley Dunbar – who has played with everyone from Frank Zappa to Journey – plays percussion. (Woody Woodmansey on drums.) Inspired by wild men that Iggy Pop told Bowie about:

Spotify link

Bowie has so many great songs I almost hate to put one of his covers in here. But I like his 1973 covers album, Pin Ups and especially the tune, “Sorrow.” This was originally performed by the McCoys whose biggest hit was “Hang on Sloopy.” One of the original members of the McCoys was guitarist Rick Derringer who went on to play some fierce guitar with Johnny Winter and also on a couple of Steely Dan tunes.

A UK band called the Merseys (an offshoot from the Merseybeats) also did this song and had a hit with it in 1966. Jack Bruce played a bowed bass introduction; rumor has it that John Paul Jones arranged the horns. But here’s Bowie’s version:

With your long blond hair and your eyes of blue
The only thing I ever got from you
Was sorrow, sorrow
You’re acting funny, try to spend my money
You out there playing your high class games
Of sorrow, sorrow

Spotify link

Sources: Wikipedia; some Rolling Stone stuff

31 thoughts on “A Six-Pack of Bowie + Kinks Announcement

    1. No shit. I had no idea that was her. Oddly enough, I saw a feature on one of the news shows about her maybe a week or so ago. I thought her career was over but she acts, designs clothes, etc. Still looks good but quite as, well, twiggy. Anyway, thanks for the info.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Your most recent comment about Bowie and Hunky Dory inadvertently got deleted. Sorry about that. What I was starting to say before that happened is that my son and I went to see a Bowie tribute band, a while back. But this one was unique in that it had drummer Woody Woodmansey and producer Tony Visconti as members. A unique opportunity. It was in a large House of Blues ballroom. When they played ‘Suffragette City’ as an encore, a couple (not young) pogo-ed around the room like mad.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I read about The Kinks reunion in my Facebook newsfeed this morning, which included a story from Uncut. That article, in turn, had a clip of the entire Ray Davies TV interview – more than 30 minutes and some cool stuff in there!

    This reunion is either going to be one of the greatest such events in rock & roll – and you betcha, I want a piece of it, if it happens – or end up in disaster if Ray and Dave kill each other – in other words, the continuation of the usual story of The Kinks!😀

    As for Bowie, I’m primarily drawn to his early career – pretty much most of his music until the Ziggy Stardust album from 1972.

    While I think the persona of Ziggy Stardust was very destructive to Bowie and made him almost lose his sanity, that album is my favorite Bowie record. I feel I could easily create a six-pack with tunes from just that album!😀

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    1. Yeah, my guess is the Kinks will hold it together long enough to do a tour. Hate to say it but money talks.

      I think maybe if you’re saying that the last great stuff from Bowie was in 1972, you’re shutting yourself off from a lot of terrific stuff.

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      1. After listening to Davis’ TV interview, I don’t think his motivation for a Kinks reunion is the money, though I might be a bit naive here.

        As for Bowie, while I’m less fond of his Berlin trilogy, I do like other post Ziggy Stardust songs, such as The Jean Genie, Rebel Rebel, Heroes, Ashes To Ashes, Let’s Dance and Blue Jean. In general though I prefer his music from the first four albums.

        Blackstar wasn’t my cup of tea; in fact, I essentially stopped listening to Bowie after 1984’s Tonight album.

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        1. I’m sure that Ray wanted to get back up there on the horse and ride it again for creative reasons. But I know in the back of my mind I’d also be going ka-ching! Look at how much ticket prices have gone up in the twenty or so years since they last played together. Heh! Maybe you’re naive and I’m a cynic.

          Those are all good tunes. I could easily put together a greatest hits Spotify list across a variety of albums. For fun, I sometimes play licks on the guitar from “Stay,” “Suffragette City,” “Hang On To Yourself,” “Rebel, Rebel.” etc.

          I wouldn’t say I stopped listening to Bowie so much as it became random after “Earthling.” I still haven’t quite digested “Blackstar.” Not sure what I’m waiting for. Maybe it’s because at heart I still hear Bowie as an R&B guy.

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      1. Close run thing between Hunky Dory and ‘Ziggy’ for me!
        Mick Ronson’s guitar, Queen Bitch on Hunky v Sufferagette City on Ziggy
        Decisions, Decisions 🤔
        Loved the whole ‘Soul Boy’ ‘thin white duke’ vibe too.
        😎

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  2. I seen Ray a few years ago and it was a fantastic night. I’d probably go see them. Avory like all drummers was the anchor. Him and Watts are probably the two most laidback drummers in the history of music. I take it Dave has recovered from his health issues if he’s going to tour. Nothing like watching a couple of old guys beat the shit out of each other. I love the Kinks then and now.

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    1. Yeah, Dave has actually been touring in the past few years although maybe not with a heavy schedule. Can you imagine what a kick-ass show that would be? I would first cry for like, an hour during the show. It would be great if they did “Lola” and just for fun, “Layla.” I’ll be tracking these guys’ progress like they’re Santa, it’s XMAS Eve and I’m NORAD.

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      1. I’ll meet you at he show and we can both cry like a couple school girls. They have so many good songs to pull from. When I last seen Ray he played a solo acoustic set then brought out a young band from LA to back him for some kick ass rock. Hey these guys are all rockers at heart. Here’s one for you Doc. Did Bowie ever cover one of their tunes?

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        1. I’m pretty sure he did ‘Waterloo Sunset.’ Did he also do ‘Dead End Street?’ I can’t remember. That’s one of their great not-so-well-known tunes. And I know he was a big Who fan and covered some of their stuff.

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  3. Saw The Kinks news on social media a few days ago and thought “oh aye”. Admittedly, I don’t own or know much of their stuff – a ‘hits’ compilation.

    As for Bowie, I only really started delving further into the discography a few years back. Diamond Dogs is possibly my favourite, followed by Low and then Blackstar (which I think is an extraordinary piece of work).

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    1. I’ve been a Kinks lover from way back as is fellow traveler CB. I saw them once a long time ago. They didn’t specifically come out and say they were going to tour but I suspect they will. Kinks fans are everywhere and that would be a hot ticket

      Bowie has so much good stuff. I’ve been remiss in not putting together a Spotify list. I’ll rectify that. As to Blackstar, I confess I haven’t given it the time it merits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was chatting with a pal today (fan and happens to be in a tribute band, so it comes as great news for him) and he mentioned that there was no mention of touring. I hadn’t realised that. I assume that comes as great news for tribute acts – new material and demand for a ‘Kinks Experience’.

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        1. I dunno. Below is from the Sun. I think that if they do tour, Ray is naive about the informal part.

          There are no official UK dates confirmed yet.
          Ray said that the band would do a tour as he was inspired by the Rolling Stones.
          But their tour would be much more informal.

          He even suggested the iconic band might even be performing at “the local bar.”

          Liked by 1 person

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