Welcome friends! It’s time once again for the Cool & Strange Music Countdown! It’s been a sad week this week due to the passing of one of the greatest stars of the 20th and 21st centuries. You all know I am talking about the death of David Bowie.

Bowie so influenced my life. When I was a teenager, David Bowie was just about all I ever listened to. I did listen to other music, of course, but no one ever touched my life or enthralled me like Bowie did. I wanted to be like him and even look like him.

He taught me that it was OK to be different and that everyone is special. I got high with him, laughed and screamed with him, sang with him and dreamed with him…

And, on Jan. 11, 2016, Bowie made me remember how to cry again.

This is the Cool & Strange Music countdown. And what could be cooler than David Bowie or stranger than he? Today, I want to share with you some of David Bowie’s music, art, fashions and some of the really fantastic and bizarre videos he made.

There’s so many great Bowie videos that I couldn’t possibly list them all. This first video is a great start as it has an interesting story. It was 1972 and David Bowie was breaking big in England. David Bowie was the first rock star of the seventies. Before him, all the bands were remainders from the sixties and the Vietnam War and the Hippie movement. Bowie came out with outrageous red hair, and androgynous look and spandex clothes. He looked totally different from all other rock stars. He appeared on “Top of the Pops” with the Spiders from Mars (His band from “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”). This was the moment the Bowie became a superstar. Watch carefully as he captured an entire nation of British girls when he points at the camera (at about 1:35) and sings, “I had to phone someone so I picked on you-u-u-u!” Every girl in the UK fell in love with him at that very moment because he was talking directly to them. A heart-throb not seen since the likes of silent film superstar Rudolph Valentino was born.

#4) David Bowie – Starman  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B5zmDz4vR4

In the late eighties, I was programming the music videos for a TV show here in Japan. When I received the list of possible videos that I could select from, I found this official version of “Jean Genie.” I inserted it into the playlist. Later, I would receive complaints from some people at the station for “playing too many old videos.” I also received massive accolades (mostly from women viewers) about this video and how, even after all those years, Bowie was still so fashionable and cool. I was redeemed. It’s still way cool now! Check it

#3) David Bowie – Jean Genie https://vimeo.com/61137000

Many Bowie videos were so artistically done that they belong in a category by themselves. Here is a classic Bowie track with the bizarre video that looks like something out of a dream. Pay special attention to the characters in this video. Who are they? Why are they there? What does it all mean? I especially was floored by the appearance of his “mom”(?) at about 3:12. It seems like an experience we all had in our lives; our mothers trying to convince us to change our ways. Or, maybe in Bowie’s case, she is trying to convince him to “come back to earth.” Wow! What an imagination!

#2) David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMThz7eQ6K0

Last night, as I lay in bed. I could hear my son practicing piano upstairs. He won second place in the All-Japan Piano Finals so he is no slouch on the keyboard. He will be playing at Japan’s version of Carnegie Hall in March. You can imagine the tears I shed when I heard him playing this next song and singing. He only plays classical piano, but I think, someday, it will matter that the first rock song he has ever played on the piano in his life is Bowie’s “Life on Mars.”

“Life on Mars” was directed by the world famous photographer, Mick Rock. I guess I can say that the closest I ever came to Bowie was that Mick Rock’s wife, Sheila Rock, a famous photographer in her own right, has also taken my photo! I think if there ever just one Bowie song I could take to heaven, it would be this. What style and fashion! What great lyrics and what a touching song.

#1) David Bowie – Life On Mars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgfckymRjY

Thank you David Bowie! I love you! Even in your death, you are with me and a guiding light to do greater things than myself.

See you next week!


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Past issues of:

Cool and Strange Music Countdown – Dec. 29, 2015 – Eddie Murphy, Messer Chups, Vladimir Putin! robot55.jp/blog/cool-and-strange-music-countdown-dec-29-2015-eddie-murphy-messer-chups-vladimir-putin/

Cool and Strange Music Countdown – Dec. 21, 2015 – Bennie Melwin, Cambodian Space Project, The Rebel Scumbags robot55.jp/blog/cool-and-strange-music-countdown-dec-21-2015-bennie-melwin-cambodian-space-project-the-rebel-scumbags/

Cool and Strange Music Countdown – Dec. 15, 2015 – Hexstatic, Stan Freberg, Mary Schneider, The Fancs Brothers! robot55.jp/blog/cool-and-strange-music-countdown-dec-15-2015-hexstatic-stan-freberg-mary-schneider-the-fanc-brothers/

Cool and Strange Music Countdown – Dec. 8, 2015 robot55.jp/blog/cool-and-strange-music-countdown-dec-8-2015/ (Messer Fur Frau Muller, Eliert Pilarm, Zlad)

Cool and Strange Music Countdown – Dec. 1, 2015 robot55.jp/blog/cool-strange-music-dec-1-2015/ (Mrs. Miller, Ray Stevens, Barnes & Barnes)