Saturday, May 2, 2009


I've begun reading Turquoise Days:The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen by Chris Adams. Both this book and in interviews, Ian "Mac" McCulloch talks about the profound influence David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust LP had on him as a young boy.

"It just changed my life completely. I'd never really liked music up 'til then except for the odd thing like "The Wonder of You" by Elvis Presley. But now it became an obsession. I used to stare at pictures of Bowie and wonder how anyone could look so good. I used to listen to the Ziggy Stardust LP every night. "Five Years" was my favorite track, and I also liked "Lady Stardust" ... I never wanted to share it with anyone. I wanted to be the only Bowie fan in the world. When I was 13 I tried to be him, in spirit." -Ian McCulloch

"Bowie separated me from me parents, me brother and sister and me friends at school. I was in a different world. It was the most incredible feeling that I've ever felt in me life. I'd be walking down the street and I'd have these split-second things, almost like astral projection, like "seeing the light", where I'd want to hold the moment. I've been in love - and its not the same as that. I know I'll never feel like that again." -Ian McCulloch

I've always liked David Bowie myself, at least until about 2004 when I experienced a major shift in my taste in music, dropping all interest in "classic rock" (with the exception of Van Halen!). Now that I've embarked on this new interest in the Bunnymen, I was curious as to what it was that influenced Ian McCulloch to write such beautiful lyrics. It was time to investigate.

The first half of the night was spent listening to Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars, released on June 6, 1972. This album reached number five in the UK and number seventy-five in the US. It is often cited as being one of the top ranked albums of all time. Some really good music and a joy to listen to this evening.

R. Stigwood of Phonograph Record Magazine writes (July 1972):

Goddamit, if I hear one more sucker, anywhere, come off with a line 'bout any record being "The Best Album of 1972"; I pity the fool. Cuz, whoever has the balls, the gumption to label any among the myriad of releases this world's been deluged with these past three years as "The Best of" should be thumbstrung and have his flesh scrapped off, ever so slowly, with Black and Decker abrasive paper. Indeed eyes will be popped, foreheads will be cropped and appendages will be stretched beyond the point where they normally stop while the body of the offender lies prone amid 23 gallons of Miller's Lye if any dare breathes, even unintentionally, that one specific recording is "The Best Of.."

As for this here David Bowie LP. "THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS": ITS THE BEST ALBUM OF 1972. (With that I await my punishment ambitiously, "long as I know I face it in God's company (we're not alone, are we David?).

Circus Magazine wrote (July 1972):

David's latest exclamation comes in the form of this portrait-in-song of the ultimate rock and roll star. Ziggy is an otherworldly figure who can really sing and "lick em by smiling". With the lyrical expertise he has demonstrated in Hunky Dory and earlier albums, Bowie dispassionately chronicles Ziggy's upward course, his reign at the top, and his inevitable decline. From start to finish this is an LP of dazzling intensity and mad design. Bowie is achieving with words the sort of effect which groups like Pink Floyd are attempting with instruments and volume. At times one is almost mesmerizes by the tumble of images and the sheer force of Bowie's performance. A stunning work of genius. Not your everyday sort of album, but an album for every day - at least until the End.

Hearing the same words
So many decades apart
Life lines intersect

Bowie set me up for listening to the second studio album of the night, Echo & The Bunnymen's Crocodiles, their dark and moody debut album released on July 18, 1980. The copy I had was the remastered UK version, reissued on CD in 2003 containing ten bonus tracks —the release were marketed as 25th anniversary edition. A solid album from start to end with no mediocre fillers.

From Wikipedia:

Writing for NME in 1980 Chis Salewicz described the album as "being probably the best album this year by a British band". Reviewing the album in 1981 for Rolling Stone magazine, David Fricke awarded it four out of five stars and said when describing McCulloch's vocals, "[He] specializes in a sort of apocalyptic brooding, combining Jim Morriosn-style psychosexual yells, a flair for David Bowie-like vocal inflections and the nihilistic bark of his punk peers into a disturbing portrait of the singer as a young neurotic." He went on to say, "Behind him, gripping music swells into Doors-style dirges ('Pictures on My Wall'), PiL-like guitar dynamics ('Monkeys'), spookily evocative pop ('Rescue') and Yardbirds-cum-Elevators ravers jacked up in the New Wave manner ('Do It Clean,' 'Crocodiles')". Reviewing the 2003 remastered version for American music magazine Blender's website, reviewer Andrew Harrison also gave the album four out of five stars and said, "[...] the Bunnymen were a pure nihilistic thrill, with Will Sergeant’s desperate, mantra-like guitar summoning up a primal night of blinking hallucinations.

Decades out of step
They all mourn their hero's death
My journey's just begun

Delayed inception
Late sonic transformation
Years gone down the drain

Eyes on the heavens
We are galaxies apart
Seeks the home planet

Note sent by the heart
Wishing that the world would stay
Just the way it is

Music's the rescue
Instrument of distraction
From reality

Out of the shadows
Fateful nights transformation
A rock'n roll star

Lured by their poems
Darkness reaches for the heart
Give it willingly

Our time is over
Musics just a memory
Ringing in his ears

Dawns new beginning
Dropped from his perch in the sky
Into glaring light

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