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The Fabulous Friendship of David Bowie and Jane Scott

Wednesday, January 20: 5:44 p.m.
Posted by Anastasia Karel

autographed David Bowie photo with Cleveland Jane Scott Plain Dealer reporter

Pictured: Jane Scott with David Bowie in the late 70s during one of his Isolar tour stops. Did you see him perform on the Isolar or Isolar II tours?

I’m an archivist at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives. I'm also a diehard music fan and collector. Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite – I've seen him in concert 60 times – but David Bowie was the first artist that I collected on vinyl. I believe that Bowie is one of those artists whose work should be owned in its original format, if only because of the cover art and sense that you're holding a piece of history. Unfortunately, I never saw Bowie in concert and didn't dive into his entire catalog as so many fans did, and yet, now that he is gone, I realize just how much he was a presence in my life.  And this week, it just so happened that my job created a collision of Bowie, Cleveland, and women in rock journalism.

My days involve a fair amount of detective work, such as forming connections between documents to describe a moment in rock history. One collection that will provide endless opportunities ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Library and Archives, History of Rock and Roll, Exhibit

The Surprising Stories Behind Four Bowie Classics

Monday, January 11: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

David Bowie Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Most Popular David Bowie Songs

It's rare to talk of an artist truly being without equal, but that's exactly who David Bowie was. A remarkable visionary, Bowie was a font of wild creativity, a transformative presence constantly evolving to address and help define our times. His art entertained, challenged and enlightened us all - and that will be an enduring legacy celebrated for many generations to come.

With tributes to the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee powering in from around the world, we take a look at the stories behind four classic David Bowie songs and fan favorites: "Fame," "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Ziggy Stardust."

David Bowie Young Americans album the story of David Bowie's "Fame" recording

David Bowie and John Lennon Break into "Fame" ... and Lennon Forgets It

Two weeks after finishing the mix on a David Bowie album called The Gouster, one of the producers, Tony Visconti, got a call from the artist: "David phoned to say that he and John Lennon had got together one night and recorded this song called "Fame." I hope you don't mind, Tony, but it was so spontaneous and spur of the moment... He was very apologetic and nice about it, and he said he hoped I wouldn't mind...I said that it ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event

Madonna Shares Wild Story of First David Bowie Concert

Monday, January 11: 12:52 p.m.
Posted by Madonna

Madonna inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 speech and video

Before I saw David Bowie live, I was just your normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest, and he has truly changed my life.

I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to David Bowie, not just because I grew up with his music, but it’s because it was the first rock concert that I ever saw, and it was a major event in my life. I planned for months to go and see it. I was 15 years old, it was the end of the school year, and leading up to the week of the show, I begged my father and he said, “I absolutely refuse, over my dead body, you’re not going there, that’s where horrible people hang out,” so of course I had to go. So my best friend spent the night at my house and when we thought everyone was asleep, we snuck out of my window, which was no mean feat, as I was wearing my highest platform shoes and a long black-silk cape. Don’t ask.

We couldn’t drive, so we hitch-hiked into Detroit and I don’t know who was scarier ... the drivers that picked us up, or us in ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews

Talking Heads' David Byrne Reflects on Music of David Bowie

Monday, January 11: 12:35 p.m.
Posted by David Byrne

David Byrne of Talking Heads Inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996

When David Bowie came along, well, rock and roll needed a shot in the arm and when I first saw him it was a shock, and yet it was very familiar. It was very necessary. It was something that was needed. It was essential. And like all rock and roll, it was tasteless, it was glamorous, it was perverse, it was fun, it was crass, it was sexy, it was confusing. And like all rock and roll, it was freedom, it was pain, it was liberation, it was genocide, it was hope, it was dread, it was a dream and it was a nightmare.

It was about sex and drugs, it was about combining literature with rock and roll, with art, with anything you could name. It was about sex as an idea, and sex as a reality, and sex as a liberating force. It was about rebellion, it was about rebellion as a cliché, it was rebellion as an idea. It was about rebellion as a billboard, as an advertisement. It was about the joy of reckless prophecy. It was ironic when rock and roll became self-reverential. It was about joy and terror and confusion in our lives. It ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock: David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust"

Thursday, January 7: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Album Cover David Bowie Rock Hall

Who was Ziggy Stardust, anyway? According to Bowie: "''Ziggy' was my Martian messiah who twanged a guitar. He was a simplistic character...someone who dropped down here, got brought down to our way of thinking and ended up destroying his own self. Which is a pretty archetypal story line."

As Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bowie prepared to record the song for an album provisionally called Round And Round, he motivated his musicians by telling them, basically, to think Jimi Hendrix. With lyrics about a star with a "screwed-down hair-do" who "played it left hand," "jiving us that we were voodoo," who took it all too far "but boy could he play guitar," how could anyone not have thought of Jimi?

But the song suggested a whole new concept. When the album now titled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released in June 1972, RCA promoted it with the slogan "David Bowie Is Ziggy Stardust." Not the catchiest slogan, though it did much to up the intrigue.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, David Bowie exhibit 1972 Ziggy Stardust costume

A month later, when DJ Kenny Everett attempted to introduce Bowie at a London concert, the androgynous figure at center-stage corrected him: "I'm ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "All the Young Dudes"

Wednesday, March 26: 2:07 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Released in September 1972, 'All the Young Dudes' marked a turning point for Mott the Hoople.

As glam rock hit its platformed stride in early 1972, Mott The Hoople was fading fast.

Born in mid-1969 as the brainchild of Island Records' mad genius Guy Stevens, the band was now deep in debt after four albums. Despite local notoriety helped by a riot-causing performance at London's Albert Hall (resulting in a "permanent" ban on rock and roll at the venerable venue), they had stiffed stateside and had just been dropped by their American label.

As Mott half-heartedly entered the studio that February to record demos for their next venture, a package awaited; in it, a tape and a note reading: "A song for you to hear. Hope you'll ring me and tell me what you think. David Bowie." The tape featured a demo of "Suffragette City," the song that would soon climax Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" breakthrough. After Mott turned down the tune, they set out on a miserable tour of Switzerland and officially broke up on March 26, 1972 (a series of events that would be later chronicled on "The Ballad of Mott the Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)" off of 1973's Mott).

Back in London, bassist Pete "Overend" Watts called Bowie ...


continue Categories: Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Today In Rock: David Bowie is Born

Friday, January 6: 1:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
1996 Hall of Fame inductee David Bowie

Born on January 8, 1947, David Bowie is rock’s foremost futurist and a genre-bending pioneer, chameleon and transformer. Throughout his solo career and in his alliances with other artists - including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno and Nine Inch Nails - Bowie has positioned himself on the cutting edge of rock and roll. His innovations have created or furthered several major trends in rock and roll, including glam rock, art-rock and the very notion of the self-mythologized, larger-than-life rock star. "More than any other performer in the rock and roll era, David Bowie elevated himself to the role of artist," says Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curator Howard Kramer. "He revolutionized and redefined the role of the frontman."

On the strength of such early albums as Man of Words, Man of Music and The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie became a cult figure to rock fans looking for something new and challenging to fill the post-Sixties void. A driven, polymorphic artist who breaks all the molds, Bowie attracted attention from the beginning for his frequent, fascinating changes of guise and the high quality of his unpredictable music. “I’m the last one to understand the ...


continue Categories: Inductee

Fashion Meets Rock and Roll

Friday, February 12: 12 p.m.

Assistant Curator Meredith Rutledge discusses late fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s influence on the look of rock and roll

When talking about rock and roll’s relationship to the world of fashion, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chief curator Jim Henke said, “virtually every artist defines (themselves) as much by the way they look as by the music they play.”

It’s been said that fashion and style are the natural visual counterparts to creative musical expression. Rock and roll artists have had a long relationship with the world of high fashion — picture Elvis Presley’s iconic gold lamé suit designed by Nudie, then fast forward to Madonna’s equally iconic gold bustier designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.  Fashion designers like Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and  Gianni Versace have all become synonymous with the branding of rock stars like Madonna, Mick Jagger and Elton John. That’s why the tragic death of clothing designer Alexander McQueen, whom Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour called “one of the greatest talents of his generation,” has especially resonated here at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. McQueen was a favorite designer of the rock world, creating red carpet, stage and album cover looks ...


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