David Bowie

'Queen Bitch' David Bowie (Hunky Dory, RCA, 1971)

Continuing my theme, of body and breath; absolutely adore the beginning of this song ... A track that was written to express Bowie's love for Lou Reed and the Velvets, or in the words of a nameless other: 

Bowie first discovered the Velvet Underground when his manager, Kenneth Pitt, gave him an acetate of the then-unreleased The Velvet Underground and Nico in 1966. The 19-year-old Bowie fell in love with the music and with the idea of New York City as the sexy den of scum and villainy he heard in the music. The vision was so seductive that Bowie was continually drawn back to NYC throughout his life. He’s lived there continually since the late ‘90s.

As for Lou Reed, Bowie went on to produce his 1972 album Transformer, giving him the single biggest success of his career. They became lifelong friends (however mercurial and frequently at each other’s throats).

Check out this really fab concert performance of Bowie and Reed playing 'Queen Bitch' and the VU classic 'Waiting for the man' at the aforementioned's 50th birthday bash in 1997, found here in this Rolling Stone article

Two points of trivia: the riff apparently came from the 1960 number by Eddie Cochran, 'Three steps to heaven' and 'Queen Bitch' was - again apparently - a major inspiration for this major-pop hit of recent times, which I have to admit to having listened to on occasion (even if this punctures my alt-credibility just a tad):

'It's no game' parts 1 & 2 David Bowie (Scary Monsters - and Super Creeps, RCA Records, 1980)


Shiruetto ya kage ga kakumei o miteiru
Mo tengoku no giyu no kaidan wa nai2

Silhouettes and shadows
watch the revolution
No more free steps to heaven
It’s no game

Ore genjitsu kara shime dasare
Nani ga okkote irunoka wakara nai
Doko ni kyokun wa arunoka
Hitobito wa yubi o orareteiru
Konna dokusaisha ni iyashime rareru nowa kanashii

I am bored from the event
I really don’t understand the situation
And it’s no game

Documentaries on refugees
Couples ‘gainst the target
You throw a rock against the road
And it breaks into pieces
Draw the blinds on yesterday,
and it’s all so much scarier
Put a bullet in my brain,
and it makes all the papers 2

Nammin no kiroku eiga
Hyoteki o se ni shita koibito tachi
Michi ni ishi o nage reba
Kona gona ni kudake
Kino ni huta o sureba
Kyohu wa masu
Ore no atama ni tama o buchi kome ba
Shinbun wa kaki tateru

So where’s the moral
when people have their fingers broken2
To be insulted by these fascists
it’s so degrading
And it’s no game

Shut up! Shutu

Opening the record, 'Shut up! Shutu ..' with the Japanese actress, Michi Hirota included Bowie said 'to break down a particular sexist attitude regarding Japanese girls and women in general' with Bowie screaming out the English translation of 'as if he's literally tearing out his intestines'. Check out this page for Bowie-related japonaiserie, which includes a picture of Bowie and Hirota together. 

The song makes use of an earlier unreleased track called 'Tired of my life' recorded in 1970 and apparently written when Bowie was only 16, here's the demo:

Certainly the opening is beautiful in itself, but the cool delivery part 2 speaks to me: especially now in this era of TV-prototype fascist tendencies, where the potential dictators and politico-confidence tricksters, have bad make-up and wayward hair.