The Man Who Sold the World David Bowie and the 1970s [Pdf ebook] by Peter Doggett – nikeuktrainers.co.uk
Gist so a discussion of a song and its chord changes means nothing to me On the whole the author has managed to make Bowie boring which he never was Too bad I really enjoyed Doggett s book about the break p of the Beatles You Never Give Me Your Money and I am a diehard Bowie fan so expected to get a lot out of thisPerhaps it s because I ve read so much about Bowie that this was such a disappointment Doggett is not a Bowie scholar of the calibre of Kevin Cann or Nicholas Pegg or Chris O Leary with his superlatively detailed and intuitive blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame His reading of Bowie s work was often based on half baked interpretation or seemingly willful misunderstanding Neither was this sociological which you might expect from a book whose title suggest it would examine the link between the greatest popular artist of the 70s and the decade itselfThe song by song approach did not fit the sociological definition either Much better were the little focus pieces that littered the book discussing Bowie s appropriation of contemporaries Aleister Crowley Krautrock etc Books about Bowie are increasing all the time probably because the man himself seems to have retired but the appetite for him is still there This is firmly in the meh camp with the absolutely terrible song by song approach of Chris WelchDoggett mentions in the foreword that Ian MacDonald was originally going to write this book but he died MacDonald wrote Revolution in the Head possibly the best book about Beatles songs so it can only be imagined how much better this could have been Music lovers and those who love to read about musicians will find much to celebrate in The Man Who Sold the World Fans of David Bowie might find themselves in thrall Musicians will find the extra treats nestled within the stories and anecdotes Put it all together and you have an excellent book that is a delight on many levelsAuthor Peter Doggett targets 1967 1980 preferring to focus on Bowie s early years and some of his most prolific work While there are chapters devoted to filling in some of the blanks most of the story is related through the individual songs Bowie wrote After presenting s with a brief background of Bowie and his family life Mr Doggett shares an overview of the musician s early attempts to make a name for himself in the music businessWhat I found wonderful in the book was the author s communication with the reader emphasized by the book s layout Although there are periodic short essays to help nderstand a larger event or a particular album the songs are the stars and every song receives its own sub chapter and explanation Each opening description of a song includes when it was written if it was recorded and by who if not by Bowie and released on which album if released at all The basic info is followed by portraits of what was happening in Bowie s life at that time who or what inspired him to write the song and related influences that can be heard in the music It was extremely interesting to learn the back stories and hidden meanings for instance I always thought of the son Papillon ueen Bitch as a story concerning two transvestite lovers and the explanation that the song was aimed at Marc Bolan of T Rex fame was a shock but made perfect senseMr Doggett snderstanding of composition adds another level of enjoyment In many of the song descriptions he describes how the music was produced and what some of the musicians were creating This includes for those who Descent into Chaos understand basic composition descriptions of chord patterns including how Bowie and the accompanying musicians might have created them I have to add that the author is not one to pull his punches and while sharing his many stories Mr Doggett manages to offer themp with point blank honesty When dealing with the retirement of the Ziggy Stardust persona and the possibility of this happening to other musicians and groups the author notes that in the hands of the Stones the who and countless others rock would pass almost without notice from an embodiment of youthful rebellion into a highly rewarding pension plan A wry truth that would be hard to argueOverall this is not your normal invitation to romp
through the decadence of a musician s offstagethe decadence of a musician s offstage nor a basic homage to what has been presented to the musical table The Man Who Sold the World is a straightforward and informative look at a man who was in most instances either ahead of his time or running alongside everyone else but on a slightly skewed track Five stars Via my work as the book buyer at Book Soup I received a galley of Peter Doggett s mega book on David Bowie The Man Who Sold The World I know another new book on Bowie but gosh darn it he s a fascinating figure And Doggett goes through all the songs by Bowie including nreleased tunes through out the 70 s and also including the obscure 1960 s material So the book is a biography on Bowie as well as a critical analysis of Bowie s work Or a narrative via his songsAnd yeah I guess this book is for the Bowie geek but it is also a fascinating read on a man and his work and his work is extremely impressive And one can say he said it all in the 19i70 s from Space
Oddity to Scary Monsters which is an incredible range for an artist within a ten year span But youto Scary Monsters which is an incredible range for an artist within a ten year span But you I love all his work even his so called horrible albums I won t tell And again what I find the most interesting time period of Bowie is his 1960 s era He was searching p and down to fit in or to make it into the music biz Hustler and that is a compliment galore and a Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, uick study on the world around him Its pretty impressive that it took Bowie at least 8 or 9 years in the slogs of music business before he made it big and yeah Bowie is really theltimate show biz figure who to this day has the touch of pure gold or genius Bowie fans do buy I really really enjoyed Doggett s previous book You Never Give Me Your Money a fascinating tome about the Beatles that actually covered Things I Didn t Already Know ie the band s slow and lumbering breakup and decade long post Beatles solo period torment In that book Doggett managed to dish about the band s personal lives give a behind the scenes of their business dealings with a detail that was both interesting and revelatory and save some fairly niue insight into the music both group and solo that the Beatles produced It was critical in every sense of the word while telling a story and being grippingBy contrast Doggett s new book detailing the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise and fall of David Bo Doggett was brought in to do this book after the death of the originally contracted author Ian MacDonald and adopts the same song by song format as MacDonald s great Beatles book Revolution in the Head He alters the formula by inserting small contextualizing chapters at various points mini essays on things ranging from Philly soul Krautrock and androgyny in glam rock to Friedrich Nietzsche Andy Warhol and occultist Aleister Crowley I ll take a wild guess and say these asides probably annoy some readers but in the case of a compulsive synthesist like Bowie they re extremely seful Doggett does than simply acknowledge Bowie s many influences he sheds real light on how they came to him and shaped his work Where the book a bit is in the song critiues themselves which are always intelligent but which fail to convey the immediacy of a real listening They re oddly distant The fact that Doggett was denied permission to ote from Bowie s lyrics doesn t hel. Changing nature of sexual roles as represented by Bowie's pioneering adoption of a bisexual persona; the emergence of a new experimental form of rock music that would leave an indelible mark on the decades to come; and the changing nature of many of the world's great cities including London New York Los Angeles and Berlin each of which played host to Bowie during particularly creative periods of his career Mixing brilliant musical critiue with biographical insight and acute cultural analysis The Man Who Sold The World is a niue study of a major artist and his tim. .
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Many years ago when I was in my late teensearly twenties I was obsessed with the Beatles and I would rattle on about the Beatles all the time My local library had a lot of Beatles books to the extent that they had TWO Yoko Ono biogs both of which I read So I thought I was pretty p on the Beatles But then Ian MacDonald s Revolution In The Head came out Rather than the sual rock biog arc form fun fucking signed success snorting bored broke boring slips switch splitting it went song by song and looked at how they were recorded the contemporaneous inspirations vogues and references that went into them and some of the technical detail of why they did and didn t work It was brilliant and rather than reveal the songs as a suat Oz behind the curtain actually gave you a deeper and richer experience of the songs as achievements made by people in a particular time before nostalgia and legend left their heavy footprint So when I heard about this book and that it was going to be a Revolution In The Head for the only other British artist with as strong a golden age as The Beatles I was very excited Does it live p to the claim I m not sure The author Peter Doggett acknowledges that the book is a deliberate attempt to write a RITH for DB as Ian MacDonald died a few years ago having discussed doing a Bowie version It is absolutely packed with very interesting info about each song but there isn t as much focus on how different things were achieved in the studio Doggett doesn t have the access that MacDonald had where he was listening to the huge cache of tapes EMI shared with MacDonald he is relying on listening to the albums extra tracks and bootlegs What he does have is a tremendous knowledge of 60s and 70s brit pop and can show how Bowie s work was a conversation with his peers and the artists who were ahead of him throughout the sixties and early seventies and who he motored away from and left for dead as the decade progressed As someone with no great affection for the reedy ersatz Sounds of the Sixties Carnaby Street 45s and little idea of how they fit in the story of that time this was really interesting and seful for me On the other hand Doggett is a Beatles expert and I think he hears a lot Beatles and solo Beatles influences and allusions in all of Bowie s work than I do Throughout the book Bowie interviews from the time have him disavow his last work make p heaps of lies forget whole days at a time pretend he is working on any number of other things and generally cast doubt on everything So with such an nreliable subject can we expect a reliable narrative No But Doggett does make the best of it and weaves that nreliability in throughout sing Bowie s boredom with truth and his latest incarnation a central theme The best best best thing about a book that takes the time to address every song is that it makes you do the same This has meant me finally getting the whole Man Who Sold The World LP seeing even deeper colours in Hunky Dory getting Diamond Dogs a rescued stab at a stage play of 1984 sabotaged by Orwell s ptight wife and like I was hoping having a deeper relationship with these songs And what can you want really I m very rarely David Jones anyI think I ve forgotten who David Jones is David Bowie 1972IIt s that time of year post Christmas weekend for me an annual retreat into isolation paranoia and a diet consisting wholly of cookies egg nog and cocaine holiday cheer so I figured hey why not revisit some old favorites by the man who took p similar practices to make one of the greatest albums ever Station to Station With Peter Doggett as my guide I began doing just that reading this song by song chronology of Bowie s most illustrious decade and listening to each song as I went along I ickly grew impatient with this method and began skipping around to my favorite albums and tracksDoggett had this to say about my favorite Bowie song Golden Years
Which You Can And Shouldyou can and should to hereSeductive and knowing he sounded like the most arrogant and yet attentive of lovers promising a full millennium of fidelity But in the wake of the occult excursion of Station to Station Golden Years began to display another face Invoke often wrote Aleister Crowley of the holy names and in his belief system the higher self was represented by the Holy Guardian Angel Sure enough it was an Angel that Bowie invoked throughout the song each time cloaking the word in an otherworldly echo In this light the most innocent of lines began to assume menacing proportions the thousand years sounded Hitlerian the instruction to his love to rise suggested that heshe was actually dead No wonder that the supposedly pure message of love carried a darker literally subtext run for the shadows Bowie insisted repeatedly as if only in darkness could he feel truly safeUntil now I had not been aware of the extent of Bowie s flirtation with fascism not only its imagery seen in the Thin White Duke character but its ideology 1 Doggett oting BowieBowie ttered borderline fascist phrases in several interviews during late 1975 and early 1976
I could have been Hitler in EnglandEngland s in such a sorry stateYou ve got to have an extreme right frontcould have been Hitler in EnglandEngland s in such a sorry stateYou ve got to have an extreme right front p and sweep everything off its feet and tidy everything Winners Dream upI believe very strongly in fascismAdolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars Much of this is just the cocaine talking Bowie retracted all of this after he soberedp but the last bit is revealing Hitler was nothing if not a self made man or monster and the theme of self creation is what defined 70 s Bowie most obviously in Ziggy Stardust but also in the desperate occcultism of Station to Station or the ground O viziune a sentimentelor up rehabilitation of the Berlin albums 2 Bowie whether he knew it or not seemed to value fame and beauty than morality itself This is completely consistent with his probably misguided admiration of Nietzsche whose Ubermensch ideal Bowie would allude to repeatedly in The Supermen on The Man Who Sold the World and in Oh You Pretty Things Gotta make way for the Homo superiorThat Bowieltimately failed to achieve his goal to reject his past and decide with complete authority exactly who he was to become an Ubermensch does not make him an artistic failure It makes him an artist of failure and as Doggett points out in the biographical section TMWStW both a chronicler and prime example of society s collective attempt to disappear Harveys Revised English Grammar up its own asshole amid thenbearable disappointment of watching 60 s idealism amount to a sweet nothingI think the artifact which illustrates the failure of 70 s artifice most ironically which is to say most appropriately is Bowie s performance of Golden Years on
SOUL TRAIN WATCH HERE IT STrain watch here It s surreal scenario here s little white boy Bowie imitating the big black funk sound in front of an audience being paid to look like they re enjoying themselves for a TV show that opportunistically swooped in on black culture just as it was becoming cool Bowie looking firmly coked out of his mind and most deliciously it s painfully obvious that he s lip syncing He is literally pretending to partake in black culture as his critics had accused him of figuratively doing since Young Americans came outEveryone loves Ziggy and Ziggy and hisherits development get extensive coverage here What makes Ziggy cool as an entertainer is obvious but things get even interesting when viewed through a biographical lens Ziggy was the creation of David Bowie who was himself a creation of David Jones and Ziggy brought Bo. No artist offered a incisive and accurate portrait of the troubled landscape of the 1970s than David Bowie Through his multi faceted and inventive work he encapsulated many of the social political and cultural themes that ran through this most fascinating of decades from the elusive promise of scientific progress to the persistent fear of apocalypse that stalked the globe In The Man Who Sold The World David Bowie and the 1970s cultural historian Peter Doggett explores the rich heritage of the artist's most productive and inspired decade and traces the way in which. Wie the fame he was desperate for But Ziggy was also the starting point of a decade long journey through the bowels 3 of stardom which would end in the toilet of 1980 am I extending this metaphor too far Ziggy Stardust s ability to give its creator exactly what he wanted while simultaneously spinning his life out of control is a testament to how little care that generation or parts of it had about what it wished for a solipsistic wasteland of burnouts playing with their bellybuttons 4And then we have the failure of the 80 s which was for Bowie but also for the West a selling out point where we became too lazy to attempt to invent ourselves and gave that responsibility to others That is wisely beyond the scope of Doggett s work1 It s probably saying something about our culture that when Bowie began giving interviews to promote his string of albums from the late 90 s and early 00 s the Como agua para chocolate uestion that kept poppingp wasn t whether he regretted sympathizing with Hitler but whether he regretted calling himself gay2 Which were produced by Tony Visconti and NOT Brian Eno Like seriously3 You might say Labyrintham I right folks4 Am I being a bummer I think I am SorryIIDoggett instead chooses to end on Scary Monsters 1980 a high note in Bowie s career and there isn t a hint of contrarianism in me when I say that it s his best album Don t hurt me Hear me outConsider the album s opening track It s No Game No 1 which begins with a set of lyrics spoken not sung by some Japanese woman Imagine the incredulous listener just home from the record store Is this the right record they would ask themselves if it weren t for those basslines nmistakably Bowie Silly listener The record spins two times and then the agonizing caterwaul of a man performing his own lobotomy Silhouettes and shadowsWatch the revolutionNo free trips to HeavenIt s no gameThe lyrics alternate between Bowie s and the Japanese woman speaking translations of Bowie s and like a Polaroid photo coming into focus we get a snapshot of a rock star driven by ego and vanity derided by the press and adulated by an increasingly small pool of fans some turned off by his commercially disastrous Berlin trilogy of albums some of them simply grown ps now heralding the commercialized 80 s with a hearty handshake and leaving their youths behindThe deliberately grating tone of Bowie s voice assures s that this is just another character but Doggett knows otherwise sagely labeling this iteration as Bowie having shed his skins The lyrics like always are deeply personal but this is different gone are the cut ps the surreal imagery the occult references The second track Up the Hill Backwards even dares to deal albeit opauely with Bowie s recent divorce and the media s coverage of it The vacuum created by the arrival of freedomAnd the possibilities it seems to offerIt s got nothing to do with youIf one can grasp it2xIn the album s title track Bowie adopts a Cockney accent and delivers the monologue of a man who Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran uses and abuses a girl a groupie In Fashion he draws parallels between the fashion industry s strict and ever changing rules of conformity 5 and the fascist movements he invoked in Station to Station FashionTurn to the leftFashionTurn to the rightWe are the goon suadAnd we re coming to townBeep beep Ashes to Ashes serves as a seuel to Bowie s most famous tune 1969 s Space Oddity We followp on that song s Major Tom and the ensuing four minutes become high tragedy Ashes to ashes funk to funkyWe know Major Tom s a junkyStrung out in Heaven s highHitting an all time low It s clear that Scary Monsters is Bowie at his most ironic and most bitter He had poured his artistic heart into the Berlin trilogy their wellspring was the brutal withdrawal from cocaine addiction and the public s response was to dismiss it as pretensionIt is no wonder then that in Scary Monsters is a sustained streak of emotion nmatched in the rest of Bowie s discography and it is no paradox that it comes in an album which holds its audience
at arm s length It might be a tad paradoxical that such an album wasarm s length It might be a tad paradoxical that such an album was commercially successful but this is easily explained by the pop catchiness of so many of the tracks It achieves a delicate balance between Berlin art rock and the commercial pop in Bowie s futurePerhaps most important to the album s success is its musical independence Bowie made a career of taking a musical genre and giving it a new spin Listen to Young Americans or watch Soul Train and hear a rail thin Briton transform American soul As that album is to soul so The Man Who Sold the World is to metal so Diamond Dogs to rock opera and so on Scary Monsters bucks the trend It is a sound niuely Bowie s a what have we learned retrospective that transcends the decade it comments onIt s tempting to compare SM to Blood on the Tracks Dylan s masterpiece and album length middle finger to his ex wife Rather than Angela Bowie however David sets his scope on the When the Sea Turned to Silver ueen Bitch that walked out of his dreams and into his life and shook him cold fame with all its trappings5 Movements like the Mod movement which Bowie had apparently been a follower of in the mid 60 sIIIFor my reference and anyone who might be interested the following is a list of albums songs books movies TV shows and other work mentioned in TMWStW that inspired Bowie or which Bowie was involved in It is not a complete list including only the ones Inderlined while reading The Image 1967 silent short film Bowie acted in Orpheus in the Underworld an operaThe satanic novels of Dennis WheatleyThe Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert Heinlein The Man Who Bought the World 1968 Brazilian political satire Odd John by Olaf Stapledon Herostratus a 1967 BBC TV filmThe 1974 Latin remix of Rebel RebelSteve Reich s composition It
s Gonna RainFrank Zappa s Help I m a RockShe sGonna RainFrank Zappa s Help I m a RockShe s Friend of Dorothy s an The Dont Worry Book unreleased John Lennon song believed to be about Bowie The Return of the Thin White Duke annpublished book of stories by Bowie The TempestThe writing of Aleister CrowleyDarkness 1111 by Ver Der Graaf Generator Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night a 1973 Peter Hammill albumKirlian photography Crash by JG BallardThe performance art of Chris Burden an aptly named man Fuck a series of canvases by the artist SalomeAuto Destructive Art a 1960 manifesto by Gustav Metzger I bought this book about 2 years ago and with the recent passing of David Bowie felt it was time to finally read it I made the mistake of watching the 90 minute documentary Sound Vision a few days before starting the book and admittedly learned about David Bowie in the documentary than this entire book Although I rarely do this I skipped large portions of this laborious book just to get to the endDoggett s book contains a scholarly look at each Bowie song from about 1969 to 1980 A lot of Doggett s analysis is conjecture and taxing at time although there are admittedly other parts that are informative and enlightening Sprinkled between these analyses are essays or recounts of various aspects of Bowie s career that comprise the most interesting part of the book In the end readers don t really learn as much about Bowie as his large lifestyle had to offer This book isn t written for the casual hardcore fan like myself that owns nearly every Bowie album Instead it is written for the fanatic who knows every song and lyric by heart and can relate to Doggett s deep discussions of each song s nuance and meaning Shame he dies in the end While I think Bowie is a genius I am no musicolo. His music reflected and influenced the world around him The book follows his career from 'Space Oddity' his dark vision of mankind's voyage into the nknown terrain of space to the Scary Monsters album It examines in detail his audacious creation of an 'alien' rock star Ziggy Stardust and his own increasingly perilous explorations of the nature of identity and the meaning of fame against the backdrop of his family heritage of mental instability Among the book's wider themes are the West's growing sense of insecurity in the age of oil shortages and terrorism; the. ,