Thursday, June 16, 2016

Everybody Up! 9 - In Which Bowie Is Covered, Yet Again

16. ALVIN STARDUST "My Coo Ca Choo"

Now here's a name you never see anymore.  Dare I say that, as one of the people most synonymous with the genre, he may have been a victim of the public's extremely justified horror around the actions of a fellow high-profile glam rocker.

It is a shame really, as Mr Stardust - not that one - was a magnetic figure at the time, and actually did good business on the nostalgia circuit up until his inevitable end.  Ignoring for a second that this record isn't actually performed by him (apparently he wasn't the first Alvin Stardust OR the first Shane Fenton), it is an iconic hit that will forever be associated with the man himself, whoever in fact he is.

I am therefore happy to report that this is a cracking tune.  A great little groove here, admittedly repetitive, but when you have bare bones this good there's no point in shoving extraneous sections in to make it more 'interesting' - it's interesting enough as it is.  More like this, please!

17. LULU "The Man Who Sold The World"

Alright, let's be as fair as we can be about this: this version was about as Bowie-endorsed as it possibly could be, so there was some quality control going on.  The public certainly liked it, the single peaking at number 3 in the UK.  And - importantly - it's better and less disposable than Dana Gillespie's "Andy Warhol" from two entries ago.

The main problem isn't even that the Bowie version is better, although at the time arguably not better known, than this one; it's those bloody Nirvana scamps who retrospectively made a rock for this version's back.

For when a certain blue-eyed, charmingly vulnerable, unwilling poster boy for a somewhat greasy-haired generation gazed up into the camera, acoustic guitar on lap (though it was creating a suspiciously fuzzbox-ish sound at the time), and a hundred thousand hearts broke for the tragic creature for whom fame was just too cruel, Lulu's version was pinned with a 3rd place ribbon and handed its metaphorical coat.

Does the job, though.  And it's better than Midge Ure's version.

18. MICK RONSON "Growing Up And I'm Fine"

In recent documentaries about the end of the Spiders From Mars, it was said that Mick Ronson was, if not in on it, then at least aware of Bowie's planned announcement of the end of the band that fateful night at the Hammersmith Odeon.  He was allegedly asked to keep quiet on a promise that his career would get the Bowie treatment next - the sky's the limit, fame and fortune, and so forth.

For whatever reason that didn't quite work out, to the point where even a Bowie obsessive such as myself had not found his output high-profile enough to have a listen to.  Reader: based on this evidence, I was a fool.  A fully justified, extremely handsome fool.

It's brilliant, to the point where my jaw legitimately dropped on first listen.  From the low-key piano intro, through Ronson's tale of moving on from his years as a teenage ne'er-do-well with the power of love, into a stomping chorus worthy of the closing titles of...  Something.  Anything, surely - this is sheer, unadulterated class.  Seek it out.

19. COCKNEY REBEL "Judy Teen"

In an odd phenomenon that often happens when I listen to music of a certain vintage, I spent a fair while wondering what this had ripped off that I already knew, and realised it was two songs that were released after this one!  Bloody time, eh?  Flexing like a whore... 

(Hang on, that's not on this album.  Damn.  It should be.)

The verse of this song that is essentially Adam And The Ants' "Prince Charming" with a slight calypso lilt, and there are shades of the vocal delivery in These Animal Men's "New Wave Girl", probably my least favourite song by that particular combo.

It's a bit of a whimper to end a disk on, and one that's been pretty damn solid all in all.  However we will be hearing from Cockney Rebel again soon, one of only two complete acts to make two appearances (T. Rex being the other), so they will have a chance to atone for their mediocrity.  Otherwise I can think of a certain Rock 'n' Roll Hall that will be accepting them very soon.

End of Disk Two! At this point we're largely through the "pure glam" section, and with approximately 60% of the collection left, we've doubtlessly got a few surprises coming up.  So please join us, why not, for the next instalment!

Disk two is in the books!  Join us next time for the start to disk three, which features "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" by Sparks.  And nothing else it contains can possibly matter, as it features "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" by Sparks.

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