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13 January 2016 5,694 views 4 Comments
Bowie papers
 ”Bowie was an innovator – a unique artist with a vision that changed the face of music. He is greatly missed”
Jimmy Page – January 11, 2016
David Bowie 1947 – 2016:
I had risen early on Monday morning as usual, feeling positive and keen to get the week’s TBL workload underway. I wrapped some book orders and took them to the post early. On my return It was just after 7am when I turned on the TV..and there it was…the shocking news…
David Bowie gone …
It really does feel like part of me has died and I am sure countless others feel the same way ..…I’ve followed his music since Space Oddity in 1969 – he has always been there…through the life changes I’ve gone through his music has been a constant soundtrack.
Led Zeppelin was always my number one but I have always been a massive Bowie fan. The excitement of his career unfolding during the 70s was just awe inspiring. I was one of the lucky ones who saw that game changing Top of The Pops appearance of Starman on the night of Thursday July 6 1972.
Back then, reading the likes of Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent waxing lyrical in the NME on the rise of Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke etc was hugely inspirational. As for the music…simply mesmerising.

So many wonderful Bowie related memories – my very good friend Dec collecting his early singles… the incredible five years 1969 to 1973…obtaining rare Bowie bootlegs, the TV appearances, being lucky enough to see him live in 1978, 1983 and 1990.

So many great memories of selling his singles and albums in my retail years in WH Smith, Our Price and Virgin.

I vividly remember on my first day working as a record department salesman at WH Smith being asked to file multiple copies of a just released album. That album was David Live – the double live album from his Diamond Dogs tour. It was a pleasure to gaze at that shiny cover and file them in for their eventual sale. It’s just one of countless joyous Bowie memories I have stored…here’s the David Bowie live experiences I was lucky enough to have:

David Bowie Live Memories 1: Saturday July 1 1978. Earls Court Arena:
bowie ec set list
I had hoped to see the Station To Station tour in 1976 but missed out – so when this date was announced in the February of 1978 I made it a mission to get tickets.I went to this with Dec Hickey Yvonne Salim and Barry Farnsworth. This was the tour that would be chronicled on the Stages album. All sparse tubed lighting and low key spotlights. Of course he was fantastic – it was actually the first ever rock show that I attended that had an interval. And what a return to the stage for the second half. Six straight numbers from Ziggy Stardust…and an encore of TVC15, Stay and Rebel Rebel. A truly wonderful night…and an ambition completed. I had finally seen David Bowie live on stage… this is the set list notes I wrote out the next day to preserve the memory of the occasion…
David Bowie Live Memories 2: Sunday July 3 1983. Milton Keynes Bowl:

Ten years to the day of the famous Ziggy Quits Hammersmith show and five years almost to the day I had last seen him – Bowie was back and bigger than ever.

I loved the Lets Dance album, brilliantly produced by Nile Rodgers – we sold truck loads at the WH Smith record department I managed. This was on the Serious Moonlight tour with David all suntan bleached hair and big suits.

A big open air show at the nearby MK Bowl on a gloriously sunny day – I went with Tom, Alan Stutz Tracey Guiry and the late Alan Johnstone.

This is a significant date for the good lady Janet and I.

For this Bowie event was first proper concert (we has seen Robert Plant at the Tube TV recording the previous month) that the good lady Janet and I attended as a couple (ten months later we would be married) – it was Janet’s’ first ever concert – she was 18 then and I was 26.

A slick often soulful show with an animated Bowie well up front on the stage. Great set list too with plenty of hits merging with the bast of the Lets Dance album -Modern Love, China Girl and Cat People.

David Bowie Live Memories 3 : Wednesday March 28 1990 – Docklands Arena London:
The Sound + Vision tour was a pure celebration of his catalogue – a greatest hits tour that tied in with a campaign for all his albums being to be reissued on CD by EMI – this commenced with a greatest hits album Sound + Vision.I made a big deal of this at the Our Price record store I managed at the time with window displays and an in store DJ playback – and the sales stacked up.
I was duly rewarded with a couple of tickets for the Docklands March 28 show and very welcomed they were too. The good lady Janet was pregnant and unable to go so I went with Denise Bibby a colleague from work. Memories? Stunning use of the backdrop screen with silhouette images and a set list that lived up to the greatest hits billing. Bowie was on sale again…and on tour and it was like he had never been away…

Another Bowie fact in my life – so many of my lifelong personal friendships have been enhanced by a shared love of this incredible musician – the late Karl Bergin, Dec, Tom, Phil, Max etc – we all loved his music – talked about it – collected it – at the record fairs we attend rarely does a visit not produce a Bowie album purchased amongst us. As mentioned above, Janet and I have shared many a golden Bowie moment together.

There had been rumours of ill health but when he returned with The Next Day album in 2013 all seemed well with his world.

I had had only just got the magnificent Five Years box set for Christmas and have been wading though it last week. His new album Blackstar was on my list to buy this week.

I’ve been in tears for much of this week and it’s been the same for millions of others across the world…it feels like our youth and guiding light has slipped away…

I’ve been though similar high profile deaths – Elvis, John Lennon, Diana, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson…but this seems to hurt so much more – the passing of David Bowie has profoundly affected me and countless others.

I have read some truly inspiring tributes and watched the countless TV acknowledgements.  The one that has really stood out is Rick Wakeman’s incredibly poignant solo piano rendering of Life On Mars on BBC Radio 2-  the very song he played on for David on the Hunky Dory album. I watched it with tears streaming down my face…you can see the YouTube clip of it below.

Watching the footage of the hundreds of fans that have gathered at various places of sanction across the world – notably in Brixton and Hedden Street in London has also been simply overwhelming.

There will of course come a time when his music and legacy will be ripe for on going celebration. Right now, it all seems so raw and every song I hear is shrouded in a combination of joy and utter sadness.

Jimmy Page released his own tribute statement as can be seen above.

Of course, a family have also lost a loving husband and father and I know all our condolences and love go out to his family – wife Iman, daughter Lexi and son Duncan – and stepdaughter Zulekha.

One of Iman’s social media comments on Sunday poignantly read:

”Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.

As with any major passing, there is that sense of ”you don’t know what you got until you lose it” as John Lennon sang. The outpouring of grief of the passing of David has vividly illustrated just how important he was – musically and culturally. As a solo artist – it’s no over statement to say that he is and was the single most important and influential musician of this or any other generation.

Much more than a mere musician, David Bowie changed perceptions, he changed the way we presented ourselves and he changed music fundamentally.

Some comments amongst so many wonderful ones I’ve read:

”What a lucky planet we were to have had David Bowie. In all the cold silent black emptiness of space, we were the ones who had David Bowie. And he us. He invented something just as astonishing as a currency, or a machine, or medicine, or a circuit, or a city.  He was an emotional statesman – a president of possible futures. Thank you, you beautiful man. Thank you for giving us us.”

Caitlin Moran – The Times

”During the half century of his career he did everything an artist should do: he enchanted, intrigued, inspired, confused, angered and more than any other artists in his field – even Lennon, Dylan or Hendrix, he championed the power of imagination. No one could touch him in those golden years and it’s unlikely that anyone ever will.”

Charles Shaar Murray – The Times

”Taking Station To Station around to a mate’s flat. he had to hear it. We treated these albums as religious artefacts. We worked hard studying the sleeve notes. We wanted to know some of what Bowie knew. He was our university. He was the one who could open up the world…

Leave my shoes,and the door unlocked  – I might just slip away…

That door, he unlocked it. For me, for you, for us. he gave us everything. He gave us ideas, ideas above our station. All the ideas and a specific one. Of Life. The stellar idea that we can create ourselves, whoever we are. He let us be more that we ever knew possible. There Is nothing greater. Nothing”

Suzanne Moore – The Guardian 

”On the evening of Thursday July 6 1972, between the Nationwide and the Tomorrow’s World programmes on BBC 1 ,David Bowie invented tomorrow’s world. On that summer evening with his snow white pallor and carrot coiffure, he sang Starman with his band the Spiders From Mars on Top of The Pops -and something changed for ever. ”I had to phone someone so I picked on you hoo hoo” – Bowie turns and glances at the camera, smiles coyly points, then twirls a beckoning figure at every kid in the land. Every one who had been bullied, overlooked, teased or picked last for games, just found a very special new friend”

Stuart Maconie – The Mirror

Long time TBL supporter Kevin Hewick put it very eloquently when he commented on Facebook:

”The impact of Bowie’s passing is immense – and it reminds us of our own mortality. The reaction has been incredible and yet on a personal note I feel so alone with it, there are many people that do.”

There is a sense of feeling alone with it as we all carry such deep personal memories…however whilst there have been moments of isolation dealing with his passing, I have gained much strength in this difficult week talking to friends and sharing posts on Facebook  with many others who are feeling the same grief as I am.

As for mortality: David Bowie was 69 – I am 60 this year – none of us are getting any younger and that makes the passing of our heroes – who we always expect to be there, so hard to process.

Therefore the days really are to cherish…I think it’s fair to say he did that right up to the end.

David Bowie…beyond iconic…forever in our lives….never in the past tense…but sadly passed on…RIP…

Dave Lewis – January 13, 2016.


The Led Zeppelin /David Bowie Connections:

Jimmy Page was on some of the early Bowie singles – this info via the excellent Jimmy Page Session Man site:.


bowie mannish boys

Jimmy Page uses for the first time a Roger Mayer fuzz box in a January 15, 1965 session in London, playing on two tracks for the Manish Boys, an early David Bowie band, back when he was just 17 and known as David Jones.

Bowie and others have stated that Page just got this new fuzz box at the time, indicating that the hand made fuzz effect Page asked Roger Mayer to create for him in mid to late 1964 was finished at this time.

Here is a quote from Bowie on the session:

“When I was a baby, I did a rock session with one of the bands, one of the millions of bands that I had in the ’60s – it was the Manish Boys, that’s what it was – and the session guitar player doing the solo was this young kid who’d just come out of art school and was already a top session man, Jimmy Page.

And he just got a fuzz box and he used that for the solo.

He was wildly excited about it, and he was quite generous that day and he said “Look, I’ve got this riff but I’m not using it for anything so why don’t you learn it and see if you can do anything with it.”

So I had his riff and I’ve used it ever since [laughs]. It’s never let me down.”

Bowie did use the riff for The Supermen on his third album The Man Who Sold The World, then again in 1997 in the song Dead Man Walking from his Earthling album.

Reportedly the band rehearsed the song “I Pity The Fool ” (written by Bowie) at a coffee bar before the session, where they were introduced to Page, who was scheduled to play on the session.

Page mentioned he was bringing his “brand new fuzz box” to the session.

The Superman:

The Supermen” is a song written by David Bowie in 1970 and released as the closing track on the album The Man Who Sold the World. It was one of a number of pieces on the album inspired by the works of literary figures such as Friedrich Nietzsche and H. P. Lovecraft.

According to Bowie himself the guitar riff was given to him by Jimmy Page when the latter, who was Shel Talmy’s session guitarist in the mid-1960s, played on one of Bowie’s early releases, “I Pity the Fool”. The riff was later used on another Bowie song, “Dead Man Walking”, from the Earthling album in 1997.

Thanks to Craig Wells for bringing that to attention on Facebook.


David Bowie and Robert Plant:

bowie and robert

Here is a photo of the pair taken circa 1988.

David Bowie and John Paul Jones:

My Facebook friend Joe Magiera recalled a humorous story Bowie  about  John Paul Jones he relayed to to Playboy magazine 1976

PLAYBOY: Do you remember the first time you got stoned?

BOWIE: On grass? I’d done a lot of pills ever since I was a kid. Thirteen or fourteen. But the first time I got stoned on grass was with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin many, many years ago, when he was still a bass player on Herman’s Hermits records. We’d been talking to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott somewhere and Jonesy said to me, “Come over and I’ll turn you on to grass.” I thought about it and said, “Sure, I’ll give it a whirl.” We went over to his flat–he had a huge room, with nothing in it except this huge vast Hammond organ, right next door to the police department.

I had done cocaine before but never grass. I don’t know why it should have happened in that order, probably because I knew a couple of merchant seamen who used to bring it back from the docks. I had been doing it with them. And they loathed grass. So I watched in wonder while Jonesy rolled these three fat joints. And we got stoned on all of them. I became incredibly high and it turned into an in-fucking-credible hunger. I ate two loaves of bread. Then the telephone rang. Jonesy said, “Go and answer that for me, will you?” So I went downstairs to answer the phone and kept on walking right out into the street. I never went back. I just got intensely fascinated with the cracks in the pavement.


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters for UK Southern States Tour:

plant southern tour pic

This one via Rolling

Pic by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will hit the road this March for an 11-date trek that will focus on the southern half of the United States. Dubbed Blues…Roots and Hollers (A Southern Journey), the tour comes as Plant and company work on the follow-up to 2014’s Lullaby and . . . The Ceaseless Roar. “Having just begun work on our new album, we thought we’d take time out to raise a little sand and welcome springtime with one more adventure, another celebration of life and song,” Plant said in a statement.

The trek kicks off the weekend of March 4th with a performance at the inaugural Okeechobee Festival before climbing its ways through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and four Texas dates. The tour-ending gig on March 20th at Austin’s Moody Theatre will double as an Austin City Limits taping.

“I’m always eager to return to the hospitality of the Southern states,” Plant added. “Towns and cities that hold fond memories for me personally, places that gave birth to so much of the music I love. Our recent travels have taken this wild whirlwind of a band through many incredible and inspiring places.”

Influential garage rock outfit the Sonics will serve as Plant’s opening act for the trek.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Tour

March 4 – 6 – Okeechobee, FL @ Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival March 6 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre March 7 – Mobile, AL @ Saenger Theatre March 9 – Jackson, MS @ Thalia Mara Hall March 10 – Baton Rouge, LA @ River Center Theatre March 11 – Shreveport, LA @ Shreveport Municipal Auditorium March 13 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom March 15 – Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory March 17 – San Antonio, TX @ Tobin Center for the Performing Arts March 18 – Midland, TX @ Wagner Noel Center Performing Arts Center March 20 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live at Moody Theater

Read more: Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook


BBC 4 Music Moguls -Masters Of Pop: Part One – The Money Makers.

This looks good on BBC4 Friday January 17:

Three-part series revealing the secret history of pop and rock from the men and women who pull the strings behind the scenes.

Programme one tells the story of the maverick managers who controlled the careers of megastar artists, from Colonel Parker (Elvis) right the way up to Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber). Along the way are rollicking tales of industry legends like Led Zeppelin’s Peter Grant, and Don Arden, who managed the Small Faces, Black Sabbath and ELO.

Narrated by Simon Napier-Bell, it also features contributions from Andrew Loog Oldham (the Rolling Stones), Jon Landau (Bruce Springsteen), Bill Curbishley (the Who), Paul McGuinness (U2) and Jonathan Dickins (Adele).


LZ news Round Up:

Led Zeppelin News Weekly Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re producing their weekly email update news summary.  This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Hello! Welcome to the twenty-first Led Zeppelin News email. We email out a summary of the week’s news every weekend so that you don’t miss anything.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page with his favourite M.C. Escher artwork, “Ascending and Descending.” (Dulwich Picture Gallery)

  • A new photograph has been published (above) of Jimmy Page visiting the M.C. Escher exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery in December. The gallery said he was photographed next to his favourite work, “Ascending and Descending.” Page has liked and collected Escher’s work since the 1970s, as mentioned in Mick Wall’s book “When Giants Walked the Earth.”

Robert Plant

Robert Plant with a fan in Costa Rica (Facebook/Nueveunocinco)

John Paul Jones

  • John Paul Jones’ friend Nick Beggs says in a new article for Classic Rock Magazine that Jones’ next project is “a killer.” Beggs, the bass player in Kajagoogoo, is a longterm friend of John Paul Jones, and has performed with him in the past. It’s not clear what project he is referring to, but it would seem unlikely that John Paul Jones’ opera is the “killer.”

Upcoming events:

January 15 – Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant will be included in the Music Moguls episode aired on BBC Four at 10pm.
January 31 – Robert Plant will perform at a tribute concert to Bert Jansch in Glasgow.
February 1 – Robert Plant will again perform at a tribute concert to Bert Jansch in Glasgow.
February 12 – “Né So,” the new album by Rokia Traoré that features John Paul Jones, is released.
March 4 – The charity album “The Long Road” (which contains a new Robert Plant song) is released.
March 4/5/6 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters perform at the Okeechobee music festival in Florida.
Follow Led Zeppelin News on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to stay up to date on news as it happens.

Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:

Follow Led Zeppelin News on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to stay up to date on news as it happens


DL Diary Blog Update:

Before the sadness of Monday and what followed , it had turned out to be a very good weekend. Last Friday, the year got properly under way with the first record purchasers of the year – David Bowie Stage RCA Italian pressing (how poignant that is now) , Robin Trower Live, the Mick Taylor solo album on CBS and Paul Rodgers Cut Loose. Thank you Darren Harte

gary january 9 1

At short notice on Saturday there was a welcomed visit from Mr Gary Foy  We were able to celebrate Jimmy’s birthday in some style. Appropriate albums were played and in the evening (”when the day is done”) we ventured out for a curry. Gary stayed over and here’s the  morning after pic : The TBL 2 – that’s me and Gary suitably refreshed via the TBL mugs (vodka obviously) – soon to be part of the TBL merchandising – ordering details soon.

On Sunday afternoon, the good lady Janet and I wandered in to town and there was an unexpected DL Vinyl Find in a charity shop – a Pick of The Pops LP from 1970 on the Deacon label. This is one of those budget albums that had authentic versions of the day’s pop hits sung by session players. I knew Elton John was on a few of these circa 1970 so I snapped it up for £1.99 – lo and behold Elton can be heard singing lead vocals on Spirit In the Sky, Good Morning Freedom, I Can’t Tell the Bottom From The Top, Young Gifted and Back and Travellin’ Band – a top result.

And then came Monday…

One of the strangest of days ever and Tuesday was much the same – I feel totally drained by it. You want it to be all a dream but the front pages of all the newspapers and the media coverage offer the stark reality. There’s a lot of TBL projects to get down to so I need to get on with it – but in a world without David Bowie…wild is the wind indeed…

Yesterday, I got some TBL work done at Studio Mix with Mick Lowe – on the way back I stopped off for a drink in The Fox to read some of the tributes in the press – awesome words from Caitlin Moran and Charles Shaar Murray in the Times and Andy Gill and Dylan Jones in the Independent – eloquently saying what I was thinking. All with a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes…the emotion of this thing just doesn’t fade..

Today I awoke at 4.30 am with the sound of his version of Across The Universe  from the Young Americans album in my head…I just had to get up and play it – and then the sense of loss started all over again…

”There will always be a Starman waiting in the sky”

That is  just one memorable statement concerning the passing of David Bowie that has resonated these past few days…there will be many more ahead…

Dave Lewis, January 13, 2016


YouTube Clips:

David Bowie – Starman -Top of The Pops July 6 1973 – Game changing…and that finger waving moment at 1 min 36…


David Bowie: Wild is the Wind…(and it is)

Rick Wakeman Radio 2 Tribute: Life On Mars…profoundly moving…

David Bowie The Jean Genie Top of The Pops appearance – January 1973: One of the finest performance by anyone,anytime, anywhere… 


Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…


Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – January 13, 2016.

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  • VHP said:

    Dave, as ever great work and a nice piece on David Bowie. Somehow saying ‘the late David Bowie’ just doesn’t seem right. I watched the BBC news at 7am Monday morning and couldn’t believe what I was seeing & hearing. Very sad.

    Ed from Washington DC, nice comments re SRV and Lets Dance. Steve Ray Vaughan, someone else who left us way too young.

    Its a sad fact but I do wonder, say over the next 5 – 10 years, how many more of our ‘musical greats’ will be no longer with us? None of us are getting any younger.

  • Dave M said:

    Dave – a perceptive and informed piece on David Bowie, written from the heart.

    Like many others, I’m feeling unusually emotional about his death.

    For those of us born in the 50s, 60s, 70s – and maybe beyond – he was a giant, seemingly omnipresent figure as we grew up.

    The comedian David Baddiel’s Tweet struck a chord: “Not just upset by Bowie’s death but disorientated:like I’ve woken up and the world is out of joint. I think I assumed he was immortal.”

  • Ian Avey said:

    I still can’t believe the tragic news about David Bowie. I’d had a bit of a Bowie Filled weekend as I’d watched the ‘Love You Till Tuesday’ DVD and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ on Saturday, as well as playing the ‘Blackstar’ album that I’d picked up on Friday. It was a total shock when I heard the news just after 7am on Monday morning.

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    Mr. Bowie’s often overlooked contribution to the 1980’s was his timely discovery of Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1982, which led to Mr. Vaughan’s big break on the Let’s Dance session and subsequent deal with Epic that produced the Texas Flood album. Easily the impetus for the blues guitar revival stateside in what was an otherwise overproduced and over-synthesized decade of music. Thanks for that, David Bowie.

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