Wednesday, 23 June 2010

'Heroes' - David Bowie (1977)

“I …
I wish I could swim.
Like the dolphins.
Like dolphins can swim.”

Bowie popped up in my life a number of times before he really caught my attention. Not literally, obviously. It wasn’t like I’d be staring out the window in Geography class and he’d be waving furiously at me from the playing fields. Though that would have been cool.

No, the reality was more the odd song on the radio here, the odd Top Of The Pops performance there. But none of them made me want to dip into his music any further. I think this was because my Bowie was 80s Bowie. I’d just missed the real good stuff.

The first time I clearly remember hearing one of his songs was at a disco (yes, kids, a disco) on another dreaded school trip. My first and last disco. The song was ‘Let’s Dance’ which was number one at the time. It stood out because it wasn’t Duran Duran, which was about the only thing the DJ (or Mr Abbott the PE teacher, as he was otherwise known) had been playing all evening.

My second encounter of the Bowie kind was in ‘Labyrinth’. At some point, this film appears to have achieved cult status and everyone in their late 20s seems to love the Goblin King. But at the time I just remember thinking, “Who’s this guy getting in the way of all the ace muppets?”

And then, in 1990, EMI began reissuing all Bowie’s albums as he went on tour to play all his big songs (except ‘The Laughing Gnome’) one final time. (And then one final time again a few years later. And then again a few years after that, etc.) At this time, Chris Roberts (my favourite music journalist then and now) wrote a review of the ‘Sound And Vision’ greatest hits collection in Melody Maker that I can still picture to this day. I’ll thank him now for it. The way he wrote about ‘Heroes’ made me want to immediately hear early Bowie. And he even brought new depths to later songs I’d already heard, such as ‘Blue Jean’. I went out that lunchtime at college and began building my Bowie collection. Yep, even the 'Labyrinth' soundtrack is in there. But that’s another post.

Spotify linky (the full length album version):

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