The Berlin S-Bahn, the capital’s much-derided suburban train service was the inspiration for Iggy Pop’s iconic song The Passenger, it emerged this week. Pop spent several years in Berlin during the 1970s after following David Bowie there from the USA, where he had been struggling with drugs. The German woman he spent seven years with, Esther Friedman said this week that The Passenger, one of Pop’s greatest hits, was a “hymn to the Berlin S-Bahn.” She said he went on a trip on the train nearly every day when he was living in what was then West Berlin. “The trips inspired him to write the song, particularly the stretch out to Wannsee,” she told Die Zeit weekly newspaper. And anyone who has taken the long trip on the S1 line to Wannsee might get see it differently if they listen to The Passenger, and its talk of riding through the “city’s backsides.” It might be possible to “See the bright and hollow sky” and the “stars that shine so bright”, as well as the “city asleep at night.” But listening to the song might raise the question of how many drugs Pop was still taking while in Berlin, as the lyrics also speak of the “winding ocean drive”. Wannsee might be a large-ish lake, but an ocean it is not. Bowie released an updated ode to Berlin in January, in his song Where are We Now?, which name-checks a host of his hang-outs when he was there with Pop. [Source]
“Sound and Vision” is a song and single by David Bowie which appeared on the album Low in 1977. The song is notable for juxtaposing an uplifting guitar and synthesizer-led instrumental track with Bowie’s withdrawn lyrics. These were drawn from the cocaine-fueled paranoia the singer had lived in while residing in Los Angeles. In keeping with the minimalist approach of Low, co-producer Visconti and Bowie originally recorded the track as an instrumental, bar the backing vocal (performed by Visconti’s wife, Mary Hopkin). Bowie then recorded his vocal after the rest of the band had left the studio, before trimming verses off the lyric, and leaving a relatively lengthy instrumental intro on the finished song. Selected as a first single from the album, “Sound and Vision” was used by the BBC on trailers at the time. This provided considerable exposure, much needed as Bowie opted to do nothing to promote the single himself, and helped the song to #3. The track was initially performed live only once, at Bowie’s concert at Earl’s Court on July 1, 1978. However, in 1990, it was a regular number for Bowie’s greatest hits Sound + Vision Tour. The name had also been used for Rykodisc boxed set anthology in 1989. In 1991 808 State released an EP of remixes of “Sound and Vision” in America, credited to David Bowie vs. 808 State. In 2008 the Sea and Cake’s cover of this song from their 2003 album One Bedroom was used by Rhapsody in one of their ads. In March 2010, it was announced on Bowie official site that a digital Sound And Vision Remix EP would be made available in June 2010.
“I’m Afraid of Americans” is a song and single by David Bowie from the 1997 album Earthling. The song, co-written by Bowie and Brian Eno, was originally written during Bowie’s studio sessions for the 1995 album Outside but was not released until a rough mix appeared on the soundtrack to the film Showgirls, and was subsequently remade for Earthling. Bowie describes the feelings behind the song: “It’s not as truly hostile about Americans as say “Born in the U.S.A.”: it’s merely sardonic. I was traveling in Java when its first McDonald’s went up: it was like, “for fuck’s sake.” The invasion by any homogenised culture is so depressing, the erection of another Disney World in, say, Umbria, Italy, more so. It strangles the indigenous culture and narrows expression of life.” “I’m Afraid of Americans” originally appeared as a rough mix on the soundtrack to the film Showgirls (in which the chorus is “I’m afraid of the animals” instead of the later “I’m afraid of Americans”) and was subsequently remade for Earthling. This version and two of the Nine Inch Nails remixes were released on the bonus disc of the Digibook Expanded Edition of Earthling in 2004. The song is sampled for a remix of Company Flow’s “Patriotism” when El-P performs it. A CD single for “I’m Afraid of Americans” was released in the United States. The single did not include the album version of the song; instead, it featured remixes of the track performed by Bowie’s former tourmates, Nine Inch Nails, and drum and bass artist Photek.
STATION TO STATION RELEASED THIS DAY IN 1976
“Such is the stuff from where dreams are woven…”
As the headline says, David Bowie’s Station To Station album is thirty seven today.
Considered a classic among fans and critics alike, the record was unusual for a Bowie album in that it contained just six tracks, even though it still clocked in at a little over thirty eight minutes.
Four of those six songs were released as commercial A-sides by RCA, with Golden Years being the pre-album hit. Here’s the tracklisting:
1. Station To Station (10:08)
2. Golden Years (4:03)
3. Word On A Wing (6:00)
4. TVC15 (5:29)
5. Stay (6:08)
6. Wild Is The Wind (5:58)
Top left in the montage below is how the withdrawn colour version of the sleeve would have looked had it hit the racks. Bottom right is the two-colour version (red and black ink on a white sleeve) which is the one that was actually released.
Whether it was the intention or not, the released version was more in keeping with the monochromatic look of the 1976 Station To Station tour, or the Isolar tour as it’s since become known.
See the DavidBowie.com version of this story ( http://bit.ly/S2Sis37 ) for a bigger reproduction of the colour sleeve.
In 1983, Bowie re-recorded the song for his album Let’s Dance. This version was also released as the B-side to the title track’s single release, and performed on Bowie’s Serious Moonlight Tour. He had originally planned on using the original version of the song, but MCA Records refused to license it, as Moroder was under contract to them at the time, and they were not about to let a competing label–EMI America–to use a song by one of its artists on their project.
“Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” is a song by David Bowie, the title song of the 1982 film Cat People. It was written by Bowie with producer Giorgio Moroder. A re-recorded version of the song appears on the album Let’s Dance. In 2009, the original version of the song was used for the soundtrack of the film Inglourious Basterds.
“China Girl” is a song co-written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop’s album The Idiot (1977). It was more widely popularized when it was rerecorded and released by Bowie on his album Let’s Dance (1983). Bowie decided to put the song on his album when Pop, his friend and musical collaborator, was in financial straits (due to his struggle with drug addiction) and was close to facing bankruptcy. Bowie decided to release the song on Let’s Dance so that Pop could collect half the royalties (as co-writer of the track) and get back on his feet financially. Under the auspices of Nile Rodgers, the song was given a much more commercial sheen than Pop’s darker, more roughly-produced version. It continues the theme established in the video for “Let’s Dance”. The song was again edited for single release, but attracted more attention for its striking video. David Mallet’s clip, shot mainly in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia and on a houseboat on Sydney Harbour featured Geeling Ng lying naked in the surf with Bowie (a visual reference to the film From Here to Eternity). The latter’s bared buttocks caused the video to generate some lurid tabloid headlines, though the clip went on to win an MTV award. Versions of the clip included on subsequent video and DVD compilations are slightly censored.
Heavily influenced by producer Nile Rodgers’ work with his band Chic, “Let’s Dance” features a thumping bassline, and was arguably Bowie’s most commercial record up to that point. While the lyrics are ostensibly just those of a dance song, there is some discord struck by lines such as “Let’s dance, for fear tonight is all”. The 7:38 album version was heavily edited for single release, though the 12” single retained the full length. This loneliness and desperation seeps into the music video, made with David Mallet on location in Australia including Coonabarabran and the Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales, as well as Sydney Harbour, which features Bowie watching an Aboriginal couple’s struggles against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism impassively while playing with his band. Red court shoes make several prominent appearances in the video, alluding to the song lyric “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues”.