Musical Monday’s back in its rightful spot this week. At the end of this month I’ll be going to my first live concert indoors in Monaco. You may recall we went to a number of outdoor concerts this summer. There’s nothing nicer than hearing live music. However great your musical set-up at home, you can’t truly invoke the atmosphere of a live concert. Consequently, this month I’m going to feature some of the artists I’ve most often seen live in concert.
I’m going to start with the late and incomparable Mr David Bowie (1947 – 2016) whom I’ve previously featured as part of a duet with Mick Jagger. This time, he’s on his own and I’m choosing two tracks. A leading figure in the music industry, Bowie is rightly regarded as one of the most influential musicians of 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music.
My first pick is one from 1970s and comes from his fifth studio album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, released in June 1972 in the UK. Described as a loose concept album and rock opera, Ziggy Stardust concerns Bowie’s titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous and bisexual rock star who is sent to Earth as a saviour before an impending apocalyptic disaster. The album’s lyrics discuss the artificiality of rock music, political issues, drug use, sexual orientation and stardom.
Retrospectively, Ziggy Stardust is considered one of Bowie’s best works, one of the best glam rock albums and has appeared on numerous lists of the greatest albums of all time. My selection is track number four, Starman – enjoy
After what might best be described as uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single Ashes to Ashes – my choice for a second and a contrast to the first track – and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance; its title track topped both the UK and US charts.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with The Next Day. He remained musically active until his death at his home in New York City, two days after his 69th birthday, and the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016).