Blackstar- Elvis and David Bowie

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January 8 is a significant date in music history. On this day 3 musical legends and Icons were born.

I wont’t go too much into their lives because there is very little I can add.

Aside from being tow extraordinary artists , there is another connection to these 2 musical giants.

In 1960 Elvis released a country and western style song called “Dark Star” and it was to be used in a  Western. However the song title was changed to Flaming Star. It is not clear to me why it was changed.

Like most children of the 1950s and indeed later decades , David Bowie considered Elvis a mythical figure. The two men  who would go on to share a record label, RCA, in the 1970s, also happened to be born on the same day. “I couldn’t believe it,” David  Bowie said. “He was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something”

On January 8 2016, on David Bowie’s 69th Birthday and 2 days before his death he released his last album, and I nearly would day his best album, titled Black Star.

The title of that album was aed back to Elvis. by the philosopher Simon Critchley, whose book “Bowie” was released in 2014,  He pointed to the rare Elvis song “Black Star,”

 

Maybe it was David Bowie’s tribute to Elvis.

These are the lyrics of the Elvis song. They are very poignant.

Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

David Bowie’s Blackstar sounds completely different of course

 

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Mew York Times

 

The laughing Gnome-Happy Birthday David Bowie.

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January 8, 1947 probably has not much of a historical significance,however it is the day which saw the birth of a truly musical genius,David Robert Jones, aka David Bowie.

But in order to   become this musical icon he had to make a few odd detours. Before Space Oddity,Ziggy Strdust,Life on Mars, Let’s dance, etc, he had to learn his craft by performing as a 15 year old in a band with the name ” the Konrads”.

It was 2 years later though with another band named “the King Bees” David Bowie’s talents were first captured on a record with a song titled “Liza Jane”.

However this song did not become a hit,also the fact it was credited as  Davie Jones with the King-Bees didn’t help, because in 1964 another Davy Jones was already a well established name as the singer of the Monkees.

In order David Robert Jones changed his name  after the 19th-century American pioneer James Bowie and the knife he had popularized.

With the legend of  David Bowie was born. Well kind of, there was just one more literally small obstacle to overcome before reaching the stellar heights the David Bowie reached. The obstacle was called “the Laughing Gnome” although I love David Bowie’s music a lot that song released as a novelty single on Deram Records in 1967 was awful and an assault to the ears. But hey, all is forgiven for David Bowie did become one of THE musical icons of the 20th century.

 

Happy Birthday David

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Michael Jackson, Eddie van Halen and a six pack ,oh, and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Bowie.

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Have one great musician come up with a cool tune is one thing, but have another great musician enhancing that tune is just something else.

I don’t think there is any one on this planet who doesn’t know Michael Jackson’s classic album ‘Thriller”.

The 3rd single from that album was ‘Beat It’  it includes one of the finest guitar solo’s ever played, performed of course by Eddie van Halen, although his name is not on the credits.Not only was he not credited he also did it for free, well sort of, his fee was a Six pack of beer.

Quincy Jones the producer of the album(and so many others) approached Eddie van Halen to contribute to the song.Eddie agreed and following day he met with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in the recording studio.

Michael Jackson went out to take a break from recording or 30 minutes or so. Eddie asked the sound engineer if he could make some changes. this took 10 minutes Eddie then improvised 2 solo’s both in one take, and one of the solo’s was finally used in the song. The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history.

“Wait a minute” I can hear you say “You mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bowie in the title” and you’re right I did. Stevie Ray Vaughan has nothing to do with Beat It or Michael Jackson.

He did however contributed on David Bowie’s classic Album “Let’s Dance” produced by Nile Rodgers Vaughan plays lead guitar on several tracks, including two of the album’s many mega-hits “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” and on the less-famous “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire).”

Vaughan met Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After SRV’s performance, Bowie was so impressed that he later said, “He completely floored me. I probably hadn’t been so gung-ho about a guitar player since seeing Jeff Beck with his band the Tridents.”

Of Bowie, Vaughan said, “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very familiar with David’s music when he asked me to play on the sessions. David and I talked for hours and hours about our music, about funky Texas blues and its roots. I was amazed at how interested he was.

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It is just so sad to realize that 3 of these 4 musical giants have shed their mortal coil and are now gigging in that concert hall in the sky.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

CNN

Guitar World

 

Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo.

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If there is one book and movie that should be in the curriculum of every secondary school it is Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo.

The most famous heroin addict was still a child when she entered into the drug world. Her descent to heroin addiction and prostitution on the streets of West Berlin was turned into a book then a grim biopic in 1981.

This was also set in the background of the cold war and the divided city Berlin. Although East Berlin is always seen as a bleak place, the story of Christiane F. AKA Christiane Vera Felscherinow does paint a bleak picture of the Utopian version of West Berlin in the late 70s/early 80s.

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There are some that refer to its film adaption Christiane F. (1981) as the perfect piece of anti-heroin propaganda. Based on a true story, it’s a barren and hopeless depiction of youth lost – showing kids going through withdrawals and injecting in filthy public bathrooms. Immediately controversial on its release, some critics said the opposite – that it glamorised addiction, making teens think that a Bowie-soundtracked, opiate-induced haze is an ideal state of being.

Christiane Felscherinow was still a child when she became the most famous heroin addict in the world. Her descent, aged 13, into heroin addiction and prostitution on the streets of West Berlin

Thanks to a cameo from David Bowie and all the footage of disturbingly young people injecting heroin, the film quickly became a cult hit. And it wasn’t long before the real Christiane F was catapulted from a life of shooting up and turning tricks in West Berlin’s public toilets to becoming the so-called “junkie princess,” injecting heroin while hanging out with artists and celebrities in Los Angeles.

Felscherinow was born in Hamburg, but her family moved to West Berlin when she was a child. They settled in Gropiusstadt, a neighbourhood in Neukölln that consisted mainly of high-rise concrete apartment blocks where social problems were prevalent.

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Felscherinow’s father frequently drank large volumes of alcohol and was abusive towards his two daughters while her mother was absorbed by an extra-marital relationship.

When she was 12 years old, she began smoking hashish with a group of friends who were slightly older at a local youth club. They gradually began using stronger drugs such as LSD and various forms of pills and she ended up trying heroin. By the time she was 14, she was heroin-dependent and a prostitute, mainly at West Berlin’s then-largest train station Bahnhof Zoo.

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During this period, she became part of a group of teenage drug-users and sex workers of both sexes.

Two journalists from the news magazine Stern, Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck, met Felscherinow in 1978 in Berlin when she was a witness in a trial against a man who paid underaged girls with heroin in return for sex. The journalists wanted to disclose the drug problem among teenagers in Berlin, which was severe but also surrounded by strong taboos, and arranged a two-hour interview with Felscherinow. The two hours extended to two months, as Felscherinow provided an in-depth description of her life, as well as those of other teenagers, in West Berlin during the 1970s. The journalists subsequently ran a series of articles about her heroin use in Stern, based on the tape-recorded interviews with Felscherinow.

The interviews were extensive and the Stern publishing house eventually decided to publish the successful book Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo in 1979. The book chronicles Felscherinow’s life from 1975 to 1978, between the ages of 12 and 15 years, and depicts several of Felscherinow’s friends, along with other drug users, as well as scenes from typical locations of the Berlin drug scene at the time. The narrative of the book is in the first person, from Felscherinow’s viewpoint, but was written by the journalists functioning as ghostwriters. Others, such as Felscherinow’s mother and various people who witnessed the escalating drug situation in Berlin at the time, also contributed to the book.

After the initial success of the book and the film, Felscherinow found herself becoming something of a celebrity, both in Germany and other countries in Europe. A subculture of teenage girls in Germany began to emulate her style of dress and spent time around the Bahnhof Zoo, which became an unlikely tourist attraction. This development concerned drug experts in the youth field, who feared that, despite the film’s bleakness and numerous drug-related scenes (particularly those portraying the reality of heroin withdrawal), vulnerable teens might regard Felscherinow as a cult heroine and role model.

Staying true to the real-life account of Christiane’s first experience taking heroin at a David Bowie concert in Berlin, the musician offered to make an unexpected cameo in one of the most iconic scenes of the film – singing “Station to Station” on the smoky stage of a performance hall (which was actually recorded in New York), as the character watched him from the audience.

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The singer went on to be a big part of the film’s soundtrack, with “Heroes” becoming Christiane F.’s unofficial theme song, echoing through the halls as her and her friends run from the police. Bowie’s presence drew a lot of initially unexpected attention to the release, which would otherwise probably remain as a niche cult creation.

Bowie attended the premiere arm-in-arm with real-life Christiane – who later recounted how she had to take a lot of cocaine to get over her nerves, but also added the mystique disappeared in the light of real life.

Felschernirow contracted hepatitis C from an infected needle in the late 1980s. She suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and rejects interferon treatment because of the side effects.In 2013 Felschernirow stated: “I will die soon, I know that. But I haven’t missed out on anything in my life. I am fine with it. So this isn’t what I’d recommend: this isn’t the best life to live, but it’s my life”

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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SRV-The death of a Legend.

I am very careful when it comes to calling someone a hero, for so many who are considered a hero , often aren’t. However in this case I can say that SRV-Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of my heroes. The man who made playing guitar look cool again.

On August 26, 1990, Vaughan performed two shows with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin.

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Some of the musicians boarded four Chicago-bound helicopters, which were waiting on a nearby golf course. Vaughan, along with three members of Eric Clapton’s entourage (agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and assistant tour manager Colin Smythe), boarded the third of the four helicopters—a Bell 206B Jet Ranger—flying to Meigs Field.

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In Clapton: The Autobiography, Clapton explains that, contrary to rumors, his seat was not given to Vaughan, but three members of Clapton’s entourage were on board with Vaughan. According to a witness, there was haze and fog with patches of low clouds. The helicopter took off at about 12:50 am (CDT)on August 27 and, despite the conditions, turned left towards a 150-foot ski hill adjacent to the golf course. It collided with the hill approximately fifty feet from the summit.

 All on board, including the pilot, Jeff Brown, were killed instantly.According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a veteran pilot for Alpine Valley suspected that Brown attempted to fly around the ski hill, but misjudged the location.The Civil Air Patrol was notified of the accident at 4:30 am, and located the crash site almost three hours later.

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Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan were asked to identify the bodies. The Walworth County coroner conducted an autopsy and found that Vaughan suffered from multiple internal and skull injuries.Clapton issued a statement the next day, saying that the victims “were my companions, my associates and my friends. This is a tragic loss of some very special people. I will miss all of them very much.” A Coptic cross necklace, worn by Vaughan, was given to Jimmie Vaughan.

Vaughan’s memorial was held on August 30, 1990, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, where he was buried next to his father, and was preceded by a private chapel service for close friends and family. Reverend Barry Bailey of the United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, who was Vaughan’s AA sponsor, opened the service with personal thoughts: “We’re here to thank God for this man’s life. He was a genius, a superstar, a musician’s musician. He captured the hearts of thousands and thousands of people. I am thankful for the impact of this man’s influence on thousands of people in getting his own life together in the name of God.” Kim Wilson, Jeff Healey, David Bowie, Charlie Sexton, ZZ Top, Colin James, and Buddy Guy attended the event. Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and Bonnie Raitt sang “Amazing Grace” at the event. Nile Rodgers gave a eulogy,while a member of the Nightcrawlers read chapters five and eleven from The Big Book, the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous.In 1995, the Vaughan family received an undisclosed settlement for wrongful death.

Sadly Jeff Healey and David Bowie also have died since.

 

David Bowie and Stevie Ray Vaughan had collaborated on Bowie’s China Girl. The guitar solo is the genius of  SRV.

I only heard the news late in the evening. I remember it as vividly as the time I heard the news about Elvis’s death. I had just finished an evening shift and went to my local pub for a drink. where I saw these big tattooed ,pierced bikers with tears in their eyes.

 

I asked “what happened?” and they replied in chorus”Stevie died” it was just so surreal.

Finishing up with my one of my favorite SRV tracks, taken from his last studio album “Family Style”

RIP SRV

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The Last Waltz

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This is a tribute to all the musicians who danced their Last Waltz in 2016. I will try mention all of them but there were so many. So forgive me if I forget a few.

Natalie Cole

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She passed away on new year’s eve 2015, but her death was only announcedthe day after on January 1st 2016. Reunited with her Dad the legendary Nat King Cole, I am sure they will be dancing plenty of Waltzes beyond the pearly gates.

 

David Bowie

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AKA David Robert Jones. Sadly passed away on the 10th of January. Only 2 days after his 69th birthday and the release of his prophetic last album ‘Black Star’

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I am sure he will be doing some gigs in the sky with some of his friends. Here he is with my all time Guitar Hero Stevie Ray Vaughan on ‘China Girl’

Glenn Frey

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Just over a week after David Bowie’s death, Glen Frey,one of the founding members of the Eagles shed his earthly shell on the 18th of January.Last time I saw him live was with the aforementioned Eagles in Dublin. A very generous man. He had been on holiday in Ireland prior to the concert and had read up on the history of Ireland. He also had high praises for David Gray, his music was ‘inspirational’ Glen Frey said.

Prince
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One of the biggest shocks came on the 21st of April. One of the biggest stars of all time, Prince, died that day. Singer,Actor,Dancer,Choreographer,Composer,Multi-Instrumentalist, one of a kind.Controversial at times but above everything talented.

Billy Paul

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Paul Williams (December 1, 1934 – April 24, 2016), known professionally as Billy Paul, was a Grammy Award-winning American soul singer, known for his 1972 #1 single, “Me and Mrs. Jones”, as well as the 1973 album and single “War of the Gods” which blends his more conventional pop, soul, and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences.

Paul died on the afternoon of April 24, 2016, at his home in the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, New Jersey, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81.

Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Norman Cohen, (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)

A Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. A true legend.

I am certain he will have found plenty of ladies on the heavenly dance floors willing to dance with him to end.

These were just a few of those who we had to bid farewell to 2016 was a dark year for the entertainment industry.Below are the other musicians that died this year, because there were so many I may have missed out on some.

Craig Strickland, rising country singer and frontman for Backroad Anthem, was found dead at 29 years old on Jan. 4 after going missing during a duck hunting trip in extreme weather.

Otis Clay, soul singer and Blues Music Hall of Famer best known for 1967’s “That’s How It Is (When You’re In Love),” died Jan. 8 at 73.

 

Dale “Buffin” Griffin, drummer and co-founder for Mott the Hoople, died at 67 on Jan. 17 after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Clarence Reid, better known as funk/R&B singer Blowfly, died Jan. 17 at 76. He wrote and produced tracks for artists like Sam & Dave and KC & the Sunshine Band, and his often R-rated solo songs were sampled by rappers like Snoop Dogg and Jurassic 5.

Mic Gillette, Tower of Power founder and trumpet player, died of a heart attack over the weekend of Jan. 16-17 at 64.

Jimmy Bain, former Dio and Rainbow bassist, died at 68 over the weekend of Jan. 22-24.

Signe Anderson, the original Jefferson Airplane singer who was replaced by Grace Slick, died at 74 on Jan. 28, the same day as Kantner.

Maurice White, a founding member of disco-funk group Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 3 at 74.

Dan Hicks, who led ’60s band Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, died Feb. 6 at 74.

Vanity, an ’80s singer-actress and Prince protege also known as Denise Katrina Matthews, died Feb. 15 at 57.

Jon English, singer-songwriter who starred in Australia’s “Against the Wind” TV series, died March 9 at 66.

Singer Gogi Grant, whose song “The Wayward Wind” topped the charts for 6 weeks in 1956, died March 10 at 91.

Keith Emerson, founder and keyboardist of the progressive-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died March 11 at 71

Frank Sinatra Jr., singer and son of Ol’ Blue Eyes, died March 16 of cardiac arrest at 72.

Lee Andrews, ’50s doo-wop singer and father of The Roots drummer Questlove, died March 16 at age 79.

Daryl Coley, Grammy-nominated gospel singer, died the week of March 16 at age 60.

Steve Young, outlaw country singer best known for “Seven Bridges Road,” died March 17 at 73.

Phife Dawg, Grammy-nominated A Tribe Called Quest rapper, died March 22 of diabetes at 45.

Merle Haggard, country music legend who had more than 30 No. 1 hits, died April 6 on his 79th birthday.

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Lonnie Mack, blues guitar great who inspired everyone from Eric Clapton and Keith Richards to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa, died April 21 at 74

Julius La Rosa, pop singer famously fired on the Arthur Godfrey show in 1953, died May 12 at 86.

Guy Clark, Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter, died May 17 at 74.

John Berry, original Beastie Boys member, died May 19 at 52 after a long struggle with dementia.

Nick Menza, former Megadeth drummer, died May 21 after collapsing on stage at age 51.

P.M. Dawn’s Prince Be, singer-rapper born Attrel Cordes and best known for the 1991 hit “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” died June 17 at 46 from complications of diabetes and renal kidney disease

Ralph Stanley, bluegrass music legend and “O Brother Where Art Thou” singer, died June 23 at 89.

Bernie Worrell, masterful Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist, died June 24 at his home at age 72.

Scotty Moore, pioneering rock guitarist for Elvis Presley, died June 28 at his home. He was 84

Steven Young, member of M/A/R/R/S (“Pump Up the Volume”) and Colourbox, died Wednesday, July 13.

Bonnie Brown, of Country Music Hall of Fame trio The Browns died July 16 at 77.

Alan Vega, Suicide singer and punk rock pioneer, died July 16 at 78.

Glenn Yarbrough, founding member of folk trio The Limeliters, died Aug. 11 at 86.

Ruby Wilson, blues, soul and gospel singer known as “The Queen of Beale Street,” died Aug. 12 at 68

Joan Marie Johnson, The Dixie Cups singer known for ‘Chapel of Love’ and ‘Iko Iko,’ died Oct. 3 at 72.

Pete Burns, Dead Or Alive singer best known for 1985 hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” died Oct. 23 after a massive cardiac arrest at 57.

Leon Russell, influential singer-songwriter and all-star collaborator, died Nov. 13 at 74.

Sharon Jones, Grammy-nominated soul singer with The Dap-Kings, died Nov. 18 at 60 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

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