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Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:43 am

»Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.«
David Bowie, 1996

Elvis’ echo finds his way through Bowie’s whole career. As he was a kid he plays Hound Dog a hundred times and in his first live appearance he did a impersonation of his major hero Elvis. This happened before an audience of Bromley cubs when he was 11 years old. As all started and he joined RCA in 1971 he called home and excitedly say: »Mum, I’m going to be bigger than Elvis.«

Bowie’s creation of Ziggy Stardust was inspired by American rocker Vince Taylor. This man worked in France and brings his career to an end when he announced himself as Jesus Christ.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG0uk_ILNiM

Ziggy Stardust concerts ended with the song Rock’n’Roll Suicide for which Bowie changed into a white jumpsuit, copied from one of Elvis’ by designer Fred Buretti. Bowie’s manager Tony De Fries closed the concerts with: »David Bowie has left the building.«

»I walked in on a Saturday evening in full Ziggy garb to see Elvis and he nearly crucified me. I felt such a fool and I was way down in the front. I sat down there and he looked at me and if looks could kill ! Ziggy changed on the Monday night. It was probably Elvis Stardust [laugh] for about a week.«
About Elvis' Madison Square Garden performance

It did not traumatize Bowie. He took the Elvis lightning-bold logo and painted at in his face for the cover of his album Aladdin Sane, the following year.

The video of Bowie’ s Young Americans was a further borrowing of the Elvis style – with its deliberate emulation of Elvis’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show – and the song itself employed Elvis’ vocal tricks.

phpBB [video]


The most Elvis moment in Bowie’s career was the song Golden Years, which he have written hoping Elvis would record it and which he recorded in Elvis’ style.

phpBB [video]

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:59 am

Brilliant! The recent BBC documentary showed Bowie doing a press shoot posing with a guitar doing all the 1950s Elvis moves - and playing a snippet of what sounded like "Baby What You Want Me To Do."

Watching the GLASS SPIDER TOUR I was struck how much Elvis is in Bowie - the leg movements and the voice - fantastic!!!

Always loved Bowie.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:20 am

His appearance in the German cult movie Christiane F (as himself) was a reference to Roustabout. Dressed in a red short jacked, blue shirt and hair in the same style as Elvis whore in Roustabout. I like some of the stuff Bowie made but that could be collected on one cd.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:25 pm

For some reason, the album cover of LOW always makes me think: ELVIS.

Image

A good album, too.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:52 pm

I remember reading an interview with David Bowie where he says that it's untrue that he wrote ''Golden years'' for Elvis Presley.

Angie Bowie wrote in her book that she went to the Las Vegas Hilton around 1976 to give Elvis a copy of the song ''The prettiest star''.

Angie's story was later confirmed by Lamar Fike.

I think the ''Prettiest star'' could have been a hit for Elvis in Europe.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:36 pm

brian wrote:I remember reading an interview with David Bowie where he says that it's untrue that he wrote ''Golden years'' for Elvis Presley.

Angie Bowie wrote in her book that she went to the Las Vegas Hilton around 1976 to give Elvis a copy of the song ''The prettiest star''.

Angie's story was later confirmed by Lamar Fike.

I think the ''Prettiest star'' could have been a hit for Elvis in Europe.


Your memory is not too good, as we discussed this on a topic you put up a few years ago. All of the above is inaccurate. Below is what I wrote in 2009, and it still applies today.

---

Here's so-called Fike confirmation, from a press release:

According to the Memphis Mafia's LAMAR FIKE, in his forthcoming memoir, AN UNCOMMON JOURNEY: ON ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD (co-written with celebrity-bio man MARK BEGO), "In 1976, David's then-wife Angela Bowie, visited us all at the now-defunct International in Las Vegas, and she brought with her a song David had written especially for Elvis, 'The Prettiest Star'. She was a bit under the weather so she didn't get to stay for the show, but gave me the song to give to Elvis. We were terrifically excited to get something from one of the new emerging acts on the music scene. Elvis was always very much aware of the next thing, and, at that point it was Bowie." Fike has also written a film treatment to accompany the book entitled '57-60: One of the Boys.' "The screenplay is out to a several film companies in N. Y. and L. A. I expect we'll be able to announce a deal in 90 days."

http://www.theinsider.com/news/1004207_WHEN_ELVIS_PRESLEY_ALMOST_DID_A_BOWIE



Problems:

1 - "The Prettiest Star" was not "written especially for Elvis" -->
It was issued by Bowie on a Mercury single in 1970, then rerecorded for RCA's Aladdin Sane in 1973

2 - Both "The Prettiest Star" and "Golden Years" may have actually been inspired by David's wife, Angela

3 - By December 1976, the International had been called the Las Vegas Hilton for over 5 years

The time frame for Lamar's meeting with Mrs. Bowie has to be connected with David's signing to RCA in 1971. "Changes" almost broke the top 40 in early 1972, and Aladdin Sane cracked the top 20 in the summer of 1973. This is when Bowie got noticed by people like Lamar Fike as a "new emerging act." David's attendance at Elvis' Sunday, June 11, 1972 Madison Square Garden show might have also left an impression with some of the more aware members of the Presley entourage.

Thus, if the Angela Bowie story is true, she probably visited the Hilton and offered the song during Presley's August 1973 engagement. It's kind of a stretch, though, to imagine Elvis taking to the tune's unusual music hall melody and somewhat obscure lyrics.

The Prettiest Star
David Bowie
© Faber / EMI, Screen Gems / EMI Music

Cold fire, you've got everything but cold fire
You will be my rest and peace, child
I moved up to take the place, near you

So tired, it's the sky that makes you feel tried
Its a trick to make you see wide
It can all but break your heart, in pieces

Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the past
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
The prettiest star

One day, though it might as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
The prettiest star

Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the past
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
The prettiest star

One day, though it might as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
Prettiest star


Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:22 pm

That's great Dr.Carpenter except I didn't say Bowie wrote the song for Elvis.

There is no way of knowing for sure when Angie brought a copy of the song to the Hilton it's just that Lamar said 1976.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:48 pm

http://www.tcb-world.com/threads/10413- ... -York-1972

Bowie on Elvis in MSG pasted from above link.

"One of my most exciting trips happened about a year or so later. Having performed a gig outside London on a Thursday in June 1972, I shot home to sleep, then caught an early-morning flight?getting me to Madison Square Garden about ten minutes after Elvis hit the stage. I had the humiliating experience of walking down the center aisle to my very good RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed ?Proud Mary.? As I was in full Ziggy regalia by this time?brilliant red hair and Kabuki platform shoes?I?m sure many of the audience presumed Mary had just arrived.

"Elvis was fantastically fit-looking, and his voice was in great shape. I was a little brought down as his show lasted only about 45 minutes. But there he was. At the end, I rushed off to the airport to get the next plane back to the UK, as I myself was working on Saturday night."

Lucky David Bowie!

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:00 pm

Around the time Bowie saw Elvis at MSG, he was still living in Beckenham, just across the road from a flat I used to live in, albeit almost forty years later. Oh, and he was in a mansion, I was in a shabby old block.

He also used to perform at what was my local pub (until it became a Zizzi's) and also appeared at an open air festival in the park down my childhood road.

One of his blazers is on display at the local library.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:11 pm

philobeddo wrote:His appearance in the German cult movie Christiane F (as himself) was a reference to Roustabout. Dressed in a red short jacked, blue shirt and hair in the same style as Elvis whore in Roustabout. I like some of the stuff Bowie made but that could be collected on one cd.


Not just the shirt, or the jacket with the collar up, but the bluejeans are also exactly the same as when Elvis performs "Little Egypt", in "Roustabout". He's missing the bandana and the belt...

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:15 pm

londonflash wrote:Around the time Bowie saw Elvis at MSG, he was still living in Beckenham, just across the road from a flat I used to live in, albeit almost forty years later. Oh, and he was in a mansion, I was in a shabby old block.

He also used to perform at what was my local pub (until it became a Zizzi's) and also appeared at an open air festival in the park down my childhood road.

One of his blazers is on display at the local library.


I used to walk past there most lunchtimes when I was at Sedgehill School in 1983.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:01 pm

LesterB wrote:
londonflash wrote:Around the time Bowie saw Elvis at MSG, he was still living in Beckenham, just across the road from a flat I used to live in, albeit almost forty years later. Oh, and he was in a mansion, I was in a shabby old block.

He also used to perform at what was my local pub (until it became a Zizzi's) and also appeared at an open air festival in the park down my childhood road.

One of his blazers is on display at the local library.


I used to walk past there most lunchtimes when I was at Sedgehill School in 1983.


Wow!

Small world.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:08 am

brian wrote:That's great Dr.Carpenter except I didn't say Bowie wrote the song for Elvis.


It is implied. You write:

brian wrote:Angie's story was later confirmed by Lamar Fike.


And the Fike PR release in my reply says:

... she brought with her a song David had written especially for Elvis, 'The Prettiest Star'.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:19 am

Well, regardless it was a song that Angie Bowie wanted Elvis to record.

When Angie Bowie first mentioned it in her book I was skeptical but years later Lamar said the story of her bringing that song to Elvis was true.

Lamar Fike probably wasn't the biggest David Bowie fan in the world so he believed that it was written for Elvis.

In any event the David Bowie song ''The prettiest star'' has a connection to Elvis.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:26 am

LesterB wrote:http://www.tcb-world.com/threads/10413-David-Bowie-and-Elvis-New-York-1972

Bowie on Elvis in MSG pasted from above link.

"One of my most exciting trips happened about a year or so later. Having performed a gig outside London on a Thursday in June 1972, I shot home to sleep, then caught an early-morning flight?getting me to Madison Square Garden about ten minutes after Elvis hit the stage. I had the humiliating experience of walking down the center aisle to my very good RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed ?Proud Mary.? As I was in full Ziggy regalia by this time?brilliant red hair and Kabuki platform shoes?I?m sure many of the audience presumed Mary had just arrived.

"Elvis was fantastically fit-looking, and his voice was in great shape. I was a little brought down as his show lasted only about 45 minutes. But there he was. At the end, I rushed off to the airport to get the next plane back to the UK, as I myself was working on Saturday night."

Lucky David Bowie!


David's landmark LP The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (RCA LSP 4702) had just been released on June 6, and he was on tour in the U.K. But there was a convenient, albeit small, break in his schedule, and so he went to see Elvis in New York.


Jun-11th 1972

At short notice Bowie flies to New York with Tony DeFries (who negotiates with RCA for more funding) and attends one of four 8:30pm evening Madison Square Garden Elvis Presley concerts held in New York.

"[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I'd gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set." - Bowie (1996)

"I was in the middle of a Ziggy Stardust tour and I flew over on a Friday to see Elvis on the Saturday night. It was just brill. I flew back again on Sunday for the Monday night gig. For about two weeks I was Presley [laughs]. I was so gobsmacked by the show. It was a fantastic experience. I went dressed as Ziggy Stardust. I had the red hair, the big boots, the full kit. I got there late and I had really good seats about 10 rows in. I had to walk down through these really quite conservative Americans. I had to presume that he saw me, and I thought it was the worst, most humiliating feeling ever [laughs]." - Bowie (2002)

The Ziggy Stardust Companion: Ziggy takes shape 2/2
http://www.5years.com/shape2.htm



David's memories are basically true, if you don't take his words to the extreme. Note the 1996 memory he recalls "a long weekend." He had RCA business to do, and got in to see Elvis as well, but not on Saturday.

Bowie played Leicester on June 10 (Sat), then flew into New York, arriving at some point Sunday (June 11) and catching Elvis' closing afternoon show at MSG, courtesy of RCA. Elvis probably went on somewhere around 4:00 pm. If Bowie arrived mid-set, that puts him in the building near 4:30 pm.

David probably next took meetings with RCA executives on Monday (June 12), and closed out his "long weekend" by flying back to the U.K. in time to make his June 13 (Tuesday) gig in Bristol.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:21 am

Pretty cool to think that Bowie crossed the Atlantic principally to see an Elvis show.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:23 pm

Cool story on how Bowie saw Elvis perform in 1972, even though there are slight inconsistencies across the years, the main thing is that he had huge respect for Elvis and was not afraid in telling so.
I am not too sure though the NYC-people would be too shocked by his outfit.

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:57 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
LesterB wrote:http://www.tcb-world.com/threads/10413-David-Bowie-and-Elvis-New-York-1972

Bowie on Elvis in MSG pasted from above link.

"One of my most exciting trips happened about a year or so later. Having performed a gig outside London on a Thursday in June 1972, I shot home to sleep, then caught an early-morning flight?getting me to Madison Square Garden about ten minutes after Elvis hit the stage. I had the humiliating experience of walking down the center aisle to my very good RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed ?Proud Mary.? As I was in full Ziggy regalia by this time?brilliant red hair and Kabuki platform shoes?I?m sure many of the audience presumed Mary had just arrived.

"Elvis was fantastically fit-looking, and his voice was in great shape. I was a little brought down as his show lasted only about 45 minutes. But there he was. At the end, I rushed off to the airport to get the next plane back to the UK, as I myself was working on Saturday night."

Lucky David Bowie!


David's landmark LP The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (RCA LSP 4702) had just been released on June 6, and he was on tour in the U.K. But there was a convenient, albeit small, break in his schedule, and so he went to see Elvis in New York.


Jun-11th 1972

At short notice Bowie flies to New York with Tony DeFries (who negotiates with RCA for more funding) and attends one of four 8:30pm evening Madison Square Garden Elvis Presley concerts held in New York.

"[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I'd gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set." - Bowie (1996)

"I was in the middle of a Ziggy Stardust tour and I flew over on a Friday to see Elvis on the Saturday night. It was just brill. I flew back again on Sunday for the Monday night gig. For about two weeks I was Presley [laughs]. I was so gobsmacked by the show. It was a fantastic experience. I went dressed as Ziggy Stardust. I had the red hair, the big boots, the full kit. I got there late and I had really good seats about 10 rows in. I had to walk down through these really quite conservative Americans. I had to presume that he saw me, and I thought it was the worst, most humiliating feeling ever [laughs]." - Bowie (2002)

The Ziggy Stardust Companion: Ziggy takes shape 2/2
http://www.5years.com/shape2.htm



David's memories are basically true, if you don't take his words to the extreme. Note the 1996 memory he recalls "a long weekend." He had RCA business to do, and got in to see Elvis as well, but not on Saturday.

Bowie played Leicester on June 10 (Sat), then flew into New York, arriving at some point Sunday (June 11) and catching Elvis' closing afternoon show at MSG, courtesy of RCA. Elvis probably went on somewhere around 4:00 pm. If Bowie arrived mid-set, that puts him in the building near 4:30 pm.

David probably next took meetings with RCA executives on Monday (June 12), and closed out his "long weekend" by flying back to the U.K. in time to make his June 13 (Tuesday) gig in Bristol.


Thank you for this, Doc.

I'm always interested to hear what Elvis' peers thought of him. Saying that Elvis looked fantastically fit-looking is something you don't hear that often, and for Bowie to witness such an astonishingly great performance from Elvis must have been an amazing experience for him (Bowie).

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:13 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:... Elvis probably went on somewhere around 4:00 pm. If Bowie arrived mid-set, that puts him in the building near 4:30 pm.

As already noted, Bowie said he made his way to his "RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed Proud Mary" [second song in... third if you wish to count the opening theme].

bowie-unseen.jpg
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Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:21 pm

elvisalisellers wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:... Elvis probably went on somewhere around 4:00 pm. If Bowie arrived mid-set, that puts him in the building near 4:30 pm.

As already noted, Bowie said he made his way to his "RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed Proud Mary" [second song in... third if you wish to count the opening theme].

bowie-unseen.jpg


Also quite a humorous comment when Bowie says 'they' must have thought Mary had arrived when he walked in with his stage character get up on :P

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:39 pm

LesterB wrote:
elvisalisellers wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:... Elvis probably went on somewhere around 4:00 pm. If Bowie arrived mid-set, that puts him in the building near 4:30 pm.

As already noted, Bowie said he made his way to his "RCA-provided seat while Elvis performed Proud Mary" [second song in... third if you wish to count the opening theme].

bowie-unseen.jpg


Also quite a humorous comment when Bowie says 'they' must have thought Mary had arrived when he walked in with his stage character get up on :P

Yeah, he's got a dry sense of humour alright.

Did you ever catch the cameo appearance he made on Ricky Gervais' "Extras"?

This is funny!

phpBB [video]


"Little fat man who sold his soul..."

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:33 pm

i hadnt seen this before - good stuff :)

Re: Elvis and Bowie

Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:12 am

Quite obviously, some legendary musicians saw Elvis live. It would be interesting to compile a list of them, along with their thoughts on the experience (if known). It's kind of flattering when the greats tell of their experience watching Elvis ( assuming they enjoyed it, of course -not all of them did).