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A brilliant & entertaining book... but still leaves some of my random Bowie questions unanswered
on 10 November 2014
A great book, well written, easy to read and which I literally could not put down most of the time.
Like many other reviewers, reading the book made me go back to some tracks and even albums I hadn't played for a while.
Here are some random questions &/or comments about Bowie that I've never found an answer to and was maybe hoping to-- none of these are criticisms of the book though just things I've always wondered about:
1. What were Bowie's thoughts on the original (cartoon) cover to The Man Who Sold the World album?
2. What possessed RCA to release "Rock & Roll Suicide" as a follow-up single to "Rebel Rebel" and before the "Diamond Dogs" single?
3. Why didn't RCA ask Bowie for input when remixing "Velvet Goldmine" for the "Space Oddity" 1975 single re-release?
4. I think a bit more on the making of Lou Reed's Transformer and even the long deleted Dana Gillespie album would have been of interest. There was some coverage of Iggy Pop's The Idiot and Lust for Life but I was left hungry for more.
5. How is it possible that "Be My Wife" didn't even make the Top 75 particularly when the preceding single had been a Top 3 hit? Was there a physical record distribution problem at the time?
6. What was Bowie's experience of working with Giorgio Moroder (and Paul Schrader) on the original "Cat People" track like?
7. Why did EMI America release "Without You" as a follow-up single to "Modern Love" in the US without a promotional video at the height of MTV fever? Contemporary acts were achieving 4th and 5th Top 40 hit singles on the US Hot 100 from the same hit album but not without that all important video.
8. How did the Keith Haring cover of the above "Without You" single come about? Was Bowie involved or was this purely a record label and/or PR exercise?
9. How did the David Bowie and Tina Turner collaboration on "Tonight" come about and why was "Tonight" selected for the duet?
10. Tina Turner covered Bowie's "1984" track on her Private Dancer album. Private Dancer was one of the biggest selling albums in the US that year (as well as a sizeable hit in the UK). The remake is not referenced in the book but it would be interesting to know if this choice of track to cover had anything to do with them recording "Tonight" together-- or just selected because the album itself released the year of the song title; either way, both tracks would have been recorded no more than a few months apart by my estimation.
11. Iggy Pop's "Real Wild Child" gave him his first and biggest ever chart hit in the UK (Top 10), the track isn't mentioned by name in the book (although the Blah Blah Blah album is) despite being produced by Bowie; some insight on the track would have been really interesting.
12. The book strangely makes no mention of the live single version of "Tonight" (credited to "Tina Turner - duet with David Bowie"), lifted from her Tina Live in Europe album, which became a hit in Europe in 1988 (but not the UK), even reaching # 1 in the Netherlands (not the biggest sales territory, agreed, but still noteworthy as it would have been one of Bowie's last bigger European hit singles).
13. Bowie's liner notes on the original release aside, what input did Hanif Kureishi have, if any, into the making of the Buddha of Suburbia album?
14. What did Bowie think of the sound quality of EMI's 1999 remasters of his back catalogue?