Monday, January 08, 2007

Music Note #411 - Bowie's lyrics

Listening to a documentary about David Bowie on Saturday evening (on Radio 2), it occured to me that his lyrics (for Life on Mars? for example) owe much to Bob Dylan - Ballad of a Thin Man type surrealism. Guess Song for Bob Dylan on Hunkydory is a bit of clue...

7 comments:

practicalpsychologist said...

But as he said himself 'chameleon, corinthian and caricature'.

arkangel said...

Corinthian meaning what?

practicalpsychologist said...

Well, I cannot answer for Bowie but at the time he was going though his cut and paste method for creating lyrics. So corininthian probably means whatever the newspaper article he cut it out from wanted it to mean. I see it as Victorian amateur sportsman of private means. With added debauchery.

But I think chameleon and caricature explain the dylanesque thinking at the time. In fact, listening to Lazy Sunday afternoon the other day his lyrical style owes a lot to Steve Marriot. More so than the oft-cited Anthony Newley.

arkangel said...

I think Anthony Newley is cited for his singing style rather than his lyrics, particularly with regard to that quirky first album before Space Oddity, the one with Laughing Gnome etc. (there's a song, for example, which is very Newleyesque)

practicalpsychologist said...

You are right. Lesson - don't respond to blogs armed only with an excellent bottle of vin rose for company. The singing style (as opposed to the lyrical style) is very Marriott. The chipper london mod.

But I love Newley's 'Pop goes the Weazel'. 'Up and down the city road, in and out The Eagle'. The Eagle is still there I think. Near the Shepherdess Cafe.

BTW - can I oneup your Elms experience? Prizes I have won on Elms show include: Two tickets for Gil SH, Two Donny Hathaway CD's, A Pat Metheney album, a Pharoah Sanders album, a Ben Christopher's album and a book on the history of Cuban amateur boxing (really a great cultural study of Castro's Cuba). if you enter you nearly always win because almost nobody enters.

arkangel said...

Actually I lie - I did once win a thing from London Radio - from a religious programme on Sunday morning - a book about how to bring up your kids spiritually without formal religion. But you're right, I should aim higher...

practicalpsychologist said...

The cuban book was actually a major test of sporting knowledge. They had 3 copies to give away and I was the only one to get it right so I presume there are still two copies knocking around in the BBC library...