||From Tom Frangione:
Lisa and I made the schlepp to Brooklyn to take in the much-celebrated “David Bowie Is …” exhibition. Suffice it to say, if you like Bowie – even a little – there’s a treasure trove of artifacts that worth checking out. Everything from handwritten-lyrics, to stage costumes, to album artwork, photographs, films, … you name it.
But getting to the end of the 5th floor exhibit, with gigantic screens playing Bowie concert films, it struck me that I’d not seen ANYTHING related to a very important record in his career – “Fame”, co-written with John Lennon, which was his first US #1 hit. It had dawned on me earlier during the assault on the senses that IS “David Bowie Is ….”, notably in the “recording studio” which had key singles and their accompanying picture sleeves chronologically arranged along the interior perimeter.
And then I saw it … just past what appeared to be the end of the exhibit, and the giant screens & blaring concert footage was a small room that contained the motherlode:
A video reel looped the 1990 remix of “Fame”, along with a complete clip of Bowie miming the song on the Soul Train TV program, and an accompanying live clip from The Dick Cavett Show where Bowie performed “Footstompin’”, the song upon whose guitar riff “Fame” was built.
While taking in the soundtrack, one can simultaneously marvel at the sight of the handwritten lyrics to the song, but more interestingly, Bowie’s diary entry from the date of the recording session, January 30, 1975, during what was already the mixing phase of the album “Young Americans”. Clearly, Bowie is enamored with the idea of co-writing with Lennon, citing it as their “first” such collaboration, but also noting the “publishing” potential.
Equally surprising was a drawing – or more accurately a collection of drawings Lennon created for Bowie, with a “Spaniard In The Works”-like ½ man ½ flying creature, a dog, a shining sun, and a very captivating self-portrait drawn within a television screen. Inscribed “to video Dave”, it’s initialed “J.L ‘74”. The dating alone is a curiosity, given the date the pair recorded together (January 1975). Whether it was actually done in 1974, or if Lennon had been bitten by the “new year” bug a-la still writing the preceding year on your checks.
A pair of Bob Gruen photos of David, John & Yoko, Simon & Garfunkel and Roberta Flack at the 1975 Grammys rounds out this final corner of the exhibit.
Unfortunately, as is standard, photography of any kind is forbidden within the museum, so if you want to see these artifacts and more Bowie than you could ever hope to handle, you have until July 15th to get to Brooklyn.
You can hear Tom Frangione on Sirius / XM radio every Wednesday evening from 9 to 11 pm on The Fab Fourum radio show discussing The Beatles and solo work with NY radio legend Dennis Elsas and co-host Bill Flanagan