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➤ The non-Bowie tribute super-duper group Holy Holy to stage The Man Who Sold The World

Tony Visconti, Woody Woodmansey , Holy Holy, The Man Who Sold The World,David Bowie,album, live concert,UK, pop music

TMWSTW: Bowie’s ambitious album to be updated in live performance by Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey’s band Holy Holy

➢ David Bowie’s website announces:
Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey perform David Bowie’s classic The Man Who Sold the World album with supergroup Holy Holy. Keep reading for further details of this and Holy Holy’s debut 45 with a Bowie cover on the B-side, not to mention a few words from a clearly excited Tony and Woody regarding the event. [Today’s update: After the Sept 17 London gig, a second performance is announced for Sheffield, Sept 18.]

David Bowie’s seminal album The Man Who Sold the World, produced by Tony Visconti, was recorded in 1970. It is unusually sonically heavy and dystopian for a Bowie album, with lyrical themes including annihilation and a totalitarian machine. The sound combines riff-laden heavy rock with futurist synth sounds and Visconti’s innovative production techniques.

Tony Visconti says: “I’ve rarely played anything as ambitious and demanding as the music of that great batch of songs conceived by David Bowie. With Woody Woodmansey and Mick Ronson, two of the finest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of recording and playing with, we set out to create something both new and classic, we called it our Sgt. Pepper. David gave us a chance to bring our unique talents to the table and we made up our parts within David’s framework. Mick forced me to listen to Jack Bruce, however, and told me ‘That’s what great bass playing was all about’. I got it, lead bass playing – as a guitarist this came natural to me. With David as our charismatic frontman we were Young Turks determined to spin heads and change the world of music… / Continued at davidbowie.com

Holy Holy, The Man Who Sold The World,David Bowie,album, live concert,UK, pop music,Malcolm Doherty, Steve Norman,

Holy Holy at Peckham Liberal Club last December: Malcolm Doherty on guitar and Steve Norman on sax. Photograph © Marilyn Kingwill

➢ A few tickets remain for Holy Holy’s TMWSTW on Sept 17 at The Garage, London
➢ Buy tickets for Holy Holy’s second performance on Sept 18 at the O2 Academy, Sheffield
➢ Update 5 June: more dates added, for Glasgow and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, plus a live discussion about the Bowie album at the ICA

Tony Visconti on bass, and Woody Woodmansey on drums, will be joined by this stellar Holy Holy line-up:
Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), lead vocals
Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), sax, guitar, percussion and vocals
Erdal Kizilcay (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury), keyboards and vocals
James Stevenson (Generation X, Scott Walker, Gene Loves Jezebel), guitar
Paul Cuddeford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof), guitar
Rod Melvin (Ian Dury, Brian Eno), piano
Malcolm Doherty (Rumer), 12-string guitar and vocals
Lisa Ronson (A Secret History), vocals
Maggi Ronson backing vocals and recorder
Hannah Berridge Ronson backing vocals, recorder and keyboards

➢ Bowie collaborators Woody Woodmansey and Tony Visconti will lead a 12-strong ensemble, says The Guardian:
Woodmansey said the time was right to revive the album that first brought him, Visconti and Bowie together, and that it would be a fitting tribute to Mick Ronson, the guitarist and musical genius behind Bowie’s most successful run of albums, who died in 1993. The Man Who Sold the World was the first album Mick Ronson and I played on, our first even in a proper London studio, yet it never got played live,” Woodmansey said. “It was the forerunner of what we could do sound-wise, and we just let rip. We spent three weeks recording [it] because we were creating the songs as we went… / Continued at Guardian Online

David Bowie, Mick Ronson, 1971,

The day they signed the deal for Hunky Dory in 1971… In a band called Hype, Bowie, Visconti and Ronson (right) created a sound that led to The Man Who Sold the World. And that meant the future was hunky-dory

➢ At Facebook Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman confirms: “And if that’s not enough, there’s a brand new track scheduled for release on the day of the gig, We Are King. I can’t wait!” A little bird says Steve himself wrote it as the Holy Holy debut single, backed with their cover version of Bowie’s Holy Holy.

❑ Not forgetting possibly the definitive performance of the title track The Man Who, with Klaus Nomi. This thrillingly exact video is (for rights reasons) available to view only in the V&A’s touring exhibition, Bowie Is, which is currently at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, until August 10, later visiting Chicago and next year Paris.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Bowie drags up in the Mr Fish “man-dress” that appears on the sleeve for The Man Who Sold The World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How Bowie defined the difference between glam and glitter

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2010 ➤ A feast of Bowie-ana served in waffeur-thin slices

David Bowie, review,Curious magazine, Any Day Now,Brian Ward,Arnold Corns,Man Who Sold The World,Mr Fish,Freddi Burretti, Ziggy Stardust,Yours or Mine,Malcolm Thomson

Candid cover for Curious magazine from 1971: Bowie spotted the dress designer Fred Burrett (aka Rudi Valentino) at the Kensington disco Yours or Mine wearing white spandex hot pants. He became a close friend Bowie determined would be “the next Mick Jagger” in a specially created band called The Arnold Corns. In the event, as Freddi Burretti he made Ziggy Stardust’s outfits from the first quilted jumpsuit onward… Bowie here drags up in the Mr Fish “man-dress” that appears on the sleeve for The Man Who Sold The World — one of many mementoes in Any Day Now, Kevin Cann’s new book about Bowie. Photographed © by Brian Ward

❚ DAVID BOWIE HAS BEEN THE SINGLE MOST INFLUENTIAL FORCE IN POPULAR MUSIC SINCE [Fill in the benchmark of your choice, eg:] Mozart/ Schubert/ Marie Lloyd/ Gershwin/ Little Richard/ Sondheim/ Spinal Tap. In which case, this Christmas there can be no better present for anybody with the slightest interest in the godlike creator of Ziggy Stardust than Kevin Cann’s new photobook Any Day Now, The London Years 1947-1974 (Adelita, £25).

It is impossible adequately to acknowledge the trainspotterish, yet deeply rewarding scope of this sheer labour of love that has amassed 850 pictures — friends, lovers, costumes, contracts, doodles, laundry bills, performances, candid snaps — on 336 pages. Why, it even has a backstage photo I’ve never seen of the day I met Bowie at the London Palladium when he sang Space Oddity for charity (and met the cult ukulele player Tiny Tim, going on to record one of his B-sides, Fill Your Heart, on Hunky Dory).

This book is a feast of Bowie-ana served up like La Grande Bouffe, in ever more tempting waffeur-thin slices. Cann is a veteran chronicler of the pop star’s work and here neither attempts a long-form biography, nor detracts from Nicholas Pegg’s much more musically appreciative survey, The Complete David Bowie, last updated in 2006. Any Day Now is more a chronology that feels as if it has an entry for every day in the star’s first three decades, running to 140,000 words (original interviews, press reports, eye-witness accounts), all diced and dispersed through the calendar. Contributions include a foreword by Kenneth Pitt, Bowie’s gifted manager 1967-1970.

Any Day Now, Kevin Cann, Adelita

Early cover designs for Any Day Now, publicised during the past year. At centre, the Palladium performance of Space Oddity

A typical spread [see below] might contain six images and as many short items, some of which are set in a font so small as to demand a magnifying glass for reading. An efficient index helps you to pick your topic and start panning for gold.

So for example, the “seminal” filmed version of Space Oddity, Bowie’s biggest hit, that has been exhumed then forgotten four times in the past 40 years, is finally accounted for in all its charmingly improvised glory. Since 2005, we have been able nonchalantly to click on YouTube to view this paradigm of all pop videos dating from before the word was invented. Yet originally it was a mere segment in a half-hour TV film about Bowie titled Love You Till Tuesday (LYTT) and directed by Malcolm Thomson.

While America was testing its first unmanned Apollo Lunar Module in 1968, the Space Oddity segment was of course inspired by that year’s visionary 70mm movie release, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. Cann’s chronology documents Thomson filming what Bowie evidently intended as a tongue-in-cheek spoof from its conception in Oct ’68 to wrap in Feb ’69. Bowie wrote the song itself, a forelorn meditation on love and fame, as his own love-life was falling apart and after viewing the Kubrick film “while stoned” (allegedly) that January, six months before the first Moon landing.

Ultimately in a studio in Greenwich, Bowie dons a barely-plausible zip-up silver space suit, blue visored helmet and Major Tom breast-plate [referenced in the 1980 image which heads Shapersofthe80s] while Samantha Bond and Suzanne Mercer as Barbarella-esque astro angels (more ’68 iconography), flaunting ludicrous blonde wigs and diaphanous gowns, simulate weightlessness among inflatable plastic furniture. It’s a modest little dig at Swinging 60s ephemera to set beside Barbarella, Blow-up and the incomparable Modesty Blaise.

Despite the single spending 14 weeks in the charts in 1969 and reaching No 5, Cann reports, TV networks showed “no interest” in the film, LYTT, containing this musical jewel, so it did not have its first public airing until 1972, on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test. It then vanished until 1975 and the re-issue of Space Oddity when the clip was supplied as a promo to broadcasters, which doubtless helped the song’s progress to No 1 in the charts. Even then, the film clip did not receive a release until an album of same name, LYTT, came along in 1984. We then had an even longer wait until a DVD release in 2005 delivered the remastered version we enjoy today.

Not many people know this–1 In the same month, Feb 1969, Bowie auditioned for the hippy stage musical Hair! Twice! [Any Day Now, page 146]

Not many people know this–2 The book’s timeline ends in 1974 because Bowie left the UK on March 29 that year, aged 27, and has never resumed residency here since. Sob! Onboard the SS France bound for New York, the harmonica legend and Gershwin protege Larry Adler gives a recital. When the crew hear that Bowie is not going to do likewise while aboard and express their disappointment, Bowie gives them an impromptu performance in the canteen: 10 songs including Space Oddity. A few crew members took instruments and they played with him. What a jam session that must have been!

Any Day Now, Bowie, Kevin Cann,Kon-rads,Bowie

Spread from Any Day Now, the new book about Bowie’s formative years: here seen in his David Jones era when he formed his first band the Kon-rads at the age of 15

Melissa Alaverdy,Lindsay Kemp,Bowie , Any Day Now, Kevin Cann, Adelita

Another spread from Any Day Now, designed by Melissa Alaverdy: Bowie learning white-faced mime under Lindsay Kemp

Melissa Alaverdy , Any Day Now, Kevin Cann, Adelita,Bowie,Beatles

Another spread from Any Day Now, designed by Melissa Alaverdy: Bowie is seen here with Yellow Submarine-era Beatles

➢ Why there will never be another David Bowie — Caspar Llewellyn-Smith says Lady Gaga has got it wrong if she thinks the Thin White Duke’s brilliance comes down merely to striking a decent pose (from The Observer, Oct 10, 2010)

➢ Review in the Guardian: Two Bowie biographies shed new light on the career of pop’s greatest chameleon, but the man himself remains elusive

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