Hello once more and thanks for paying me a quick visit. Probably best as this will be a rather quick post as I’ve got some furious plate spinning to do today, which should be fun.
One thing to mention today really is a very Happy Birthday to David Bowie who turns 66 today and to cap it off he is releasing some new material and not before time too. Bowie (remarkably) seemed to my young ears to be an old man but still a hero by the time I was listening to punk and post punk music as the 1970′s drew to a close. Even though, due to my older brother, I was fully aware that few musicians did more to keep rock and roll interesting in the first half of that decade, something I understood to a much greater degree years later. His influence and output are of course both monumental and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who had a streak of albums that would compare to what he accomplished between 1970-1977. That’s not even mentioning his chameleon like physical appearance(s) during years that were as dull as any endured in rock music, Bowie was just the opposite. I’ve never fully researched what he had to say about the arrival of punk but he surely knew it was a natural lineage to the groundwork he had laid down in the years preceding. Our Clash stories relate to him seeing the band in New York in 1979 and of course the famed tale of CBS executives telling The Clash that Bankrobber sounded like David Bowie backwards and thus hesitated on the single’s release.
1980 was a year that might have been history making in The Clash camp as I think it was Joe who decided that they should release a single every month for the entire calendar year. Seeing as the period between summer 1979 and late 1980 saw the band write the components of a double and then a triple album it’s not too far-fetched to think they would have pulled it off with gusto. More importantly it is also realistic to say that the quality would have been very high simultaneously. CBS as usual balked at the idea due to it’s unconventional nature and the feat was never undertaken.
Interestingly one of my favourite bands The Wedding Present did manage to do the one single per month routine a dozen years later. Beginning in January 1992 an original a-side was released every month with a cover version on the b-side throughout the year. One of my more prized possessions is each one of the 7″ singles from the year, having had to search forever to eventually get the November release. Each were issued in limited editions of 30,000 copies and each single made the top 40 chart in the UK creating a record for the most hit singles in a calendar year. No idea whether David Gedge stole that idea from The Clash, I’ll have to ask him next time I see him.
David Bowie had this to say upon the news of Joe Strummer passing away:
“”The Clash turned punk into a proper political movement, and Joe Strummer showed recently that he still had much of value to say. It is a terrible tragedy to lose him at this early age.”
What else…hmmm….Ziggy Stardust is about Vince Taylor….who wrote Brand New Cadillac. Contrary to fable both Bowie and Paul Simonon weren’t born streets apart in Brixton as Paul came into the world a short distance away in Thornton Heath, although both spent parts of their childhood there. The only other obvious Bowie link I can think of is Big Audio Dynamite’s cover of Suffragette City on 1995′s F-Punk. So I’ll finish with a trivia question: What do The Clash, David Bowie, Blur and Primal Scream all have in common?