Saturday, 16 January 2016

Bowie Track of the Day - "Rock'n'Roll Suicide"

"Everybody... this has been one of the greatest tours of our lives. I would like to thank the band. I would like to thank our road crew. I would like to thank our lighting people. Of all of the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest because not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show that we'll ever do. Thank you."
Thus David Bowie killed the man, Ziggy Stardust, live on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon - before launching into what is, and always will be, my all-time favourite of Mr B's songs.

As a "late-comer" to the magic and mystery of the great man (my first album was the aforementioned Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, and I sort of worked backwards from there), his early Glam Rock era was something I needed to explore, in order to truly understand him. I was, after all, only nine years old when The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released - thus far too young (and wrapped up with the likes of Donny Osmond, The Sweet and The New Seekers) to know what to make of this ambisexual space-freak first time around.

Sure, the "Bowie/Roxy" nights we went to in '83/'84 at Lazers club in Newport played his heavy-on-the-electronica repertoire from "The Berlin Trilogy", as well as stuff like Rebel Rebel and John, I'm Only Dancing, but what of the music that didn't lend itself so easily to "pointy dancing"?

My journey inevitably led me to the tortured genius of Ziggy, and I began to appreciate exactly why a man with a singing voice reminiscent of Anthony Newley and a penchant for extreme make-up and hair dye could possibly have exploded onto the musical scene with such a huge force as he did. How strong, how clever, how brave, how glamorous! Of course, this was at a particular time in my own life (early 1980s) when I too was "tortured" by confusion, self-denial, fear and uncertainty - mainly about my sexuality - and I felt I wanted desperately to escape the small-town life, the dreariness and the despair, if only I knew how (or had the guts to do something about it). It was then that David Bowie came to my rescue...

...with this song:

Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Oh, how, how, how, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

You're too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a café but you don't eat when you've lived too long
Oh, no, no, no, you're a rock 'n' roll suicide

Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don't let the sun blast your shadow
Don't let the milk float ride your mind
You're so natural - religiously unkind

Oh no love! you're not alone
You're watching yourself but you're too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! you're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share, I'll help you with the pain
You're not alone!

Just turn on with me and you're not alone
Let's turn on with me and you're not alone (wonderful)
Let's turn on and be not alone (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you're wonderful (wonderful)
Gimme your hands cause you're wonderful (wonderful)
Oh gimme your hands...

He was there for me, and I really appreciate that.


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