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Was Bowie the original British punk?


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Old 29-03-2013, 16:34
Glenn A
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I've had this debate with a few punks and they often agree as Bowie was just as outrageous in certain ways as the punks were when they arrived on the scene four years later.
For a start he often dyed his hair orange, something which is more noted with punks than early seventies long haired singers, and his claims to be bisexual were shocking in the early seventies. Also Bowie's flirtation with Nazism came before Sid felt the need to wear a swastika t shirt. Admirable as well, just as the punk era was fast moving, he moved from art rock to glam to a sarcastic take on soul and then on to electronic music, predating the synth boom by three years( no triple concept albums with weird lyrics either).
However, when it came to punk, Bowie by passed it as he didn't need it and dabbled in electronic music when Kraftwerk were the only musicians to make a living from it. In a way this was Bowie's punk era as he was producing challenging tracks like TVC33 that weren't huge commercial successes but were his I'll do what I want phase.
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Old 29-03-2013, 16:46
Keyser Soze
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I think he was. The second (I think) cover of the Space Oddity album (the picture of him with spiky hair) is pure punk. Plus his energy and his attitude shocked in the same way.

He certainly must've influenced Malcolm and Vivienne in terms of image and attitude.

Punks just did it with less chords. And more shouting.
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Old 29-03-2013, 16:57
Glenn A
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I think he was. The second (I think) cover of the Space Oddity album (the picture of him with spiky hair) is pure punk. Plus his energy and his attitude shocked in the same way.

He certainly must've influenced Malcolm and Vivienne in terms of image and attitude.

Punks just did it with less chords. And more shouting.
He shocked a lot of parents at the time and I did see a clip of a fan in 1973 proudly declaring he was AC/DC, something that was outrageous back then. Then, of course, rather than merely wear a swastika T shirt, which he never did, he openly spoke of fascism being a good thing and that he could save England by being a dictator.
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Old 29-03-2013, 16:57
Electra
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I've had this debate with a few punks and they often agree as Bowie was just as outrageous in certain ways as the punks were when they arrived on the scene four years later.
For a start he often dyed his hair orange, something which is more noted with punks than early seventies long haired singers, and his claims to be bisexual were shocking in the early seventies. Also Bowie's flirtation with Nazism came before Sid felt the need to wear a swastika t shirt. Admirable as well, just as the punk era was fast moving, he moved from art rock to glam to a sarcastic take on soul and then on to electronic music, predating the synth boom by three years( no triple concept albums with weird lyrics either).
However, when it came to punk, Bowie by passed it as he didn't need it and dabbled in electronic music when Kraftwerk were the only musicians to make a living from it. In a way this was Bowie's punk era as he was producing challenging tracks like TVC33 that weren't huge commercial successes but were his I'll do what I want phase.
Certainly many punks were also fans of Bowie, along with Roxy Music (Siouxsie & The Banshees actually met at a Roxy gig). Was he a punk? No, he wasn't. As for pre dating the synth boom, you should listen to what Roxy were up to in 1975 with synths & slow disco beats.
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I'm speaking as someone who was a punk in 1976.
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Old 29-03-2013, 17:12
Electra
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He shocked a lot of parents at the time and I did see a clip of a fan in 1973 proudly declaring he was AC/DC, something that was outrageous back then. Then, of course, rather than merely wear a swastika T shirt, which he never did, he openly spoke of fascism being a good thing and that he could save England by being a dictator.
Well the bisexuality claim was just a pose. It was actually his wife Angie who was bi. The nazi stuff wasn't his finest hour really, was it?

Bowie was the Gaga of his day. He was very good at taking elements of what other people were doing (and he's admitted this). Imo, he got to be a massive name because his sound was actually pretty mainstream. You just need to strip away all the smoke & mirrors ie the outrageous claims, the way he looked etc

Did he write great music? Absof*ckinglutely.
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Old 29-03-2013, 17:51
Glenn A
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Well the bisexuality claim was just a pose. It was actually his wife Angie who was bi. The nazi stuff wasn't his finest hour really, was it?

Bowie was the Gaga of his day. He was very good at taking elements of what other people were doing (and he's admitted this). Imo, he got to be a massive name because his sound was actually pretty mainstream. You just need to strip away all the smoke & mirrors ie the outrageous claims, the way he looked etc

Did he write great music? Absof*ckinglutely.
Actually the Nazi thing was done when he was drugged up on cocaine and couldn't think rationally, same as he released Young Americans in this era and then disowned it( mind you as a fan, it's not an album or single I rate anyway).
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Old 29-03-2013, 17:56
JohnnyForget
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The original British punk pre-dates Bowie by more than a decade. It was Wee Willie Harris back in the fifties.
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:10
gomezz
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Bowie was hardly the original anything. He was very good at copying a style of music or fashion and doing it miles better than anyone else.
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:10
Electra
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Actually the Nazi thing was done when he was drugged up on cocaine and couldn't think rationally, same as he released Young Americans in this era and then disowned it( mind you as a fan, it's not an album or single I rate anyway).
Just say 'no' kids

I wasn't aware he'd disowned YA. It wasn't that bad.
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:31
boysforpele
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Wasnt Bowie influenced by Bolan?
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:36
bryemycaz
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I have always seen Status Quo as a kind of proto punk band in the early 70s.

Before you all fall about laughing hear me out. Between 1971-1975 they were the band you went to see if you did not get all the "prog or glam nonsense".

They played no nonsense rock n roll and were very loud. Paul Weller himself was a fan of the band at this time. He said he went to see them in 1972 and got blown back by the volume that they played at.

Yes they have become a parody of themselves and done some dubious things over the years. However to quote Francis Rossi in the 70s

"Hallo were Status Quo your not going to like us we make hit singles and are very loud"
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Old 29-03-2013, 18:55
mgvsmith
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I think those who see Bowie as really a bit of a chameleon are about right. Bolan and Roxy were much more original than Bowie. Even Bowie's look was heavily influenced by Warhol, The Factory and The Velvet Underground. Like most UK music, punk has its origins in the US - Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, New York Dolls etc.
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Old 29-03-2013, 19:53
Electra
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I think those who see Bowie as really a bit of a chameleon are about right. Bolan and Roxy were much more original than Bowie. Even Bowie's look was heavily influenced by Warhol, The Factory and The Velvet Underground. Like most UK music, punk has its origins in the US - Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, New York Dolls etc.
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Iggy is God. Fact
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Old 29-03-2013, 20:42
barbeler
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I think you'll find that the first punk act was actually Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2ZsWENob1s Dave Vanian eat your heart out
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Old 29-03-2013, 20:57
mgvsmith
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Wow, it's like you're inside my head

Iggy is God. Fact
For me Eno is God but Iggy is up there at his side!
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Old 29-03-2013, 21:03
Electra
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For me Eno is God but Iggy is up there at his side!
As long as you're not one of those people who think Eno was the only (or main) one in Roxy with talent, then I'll agree with you

If you are, then it's pistols at dawn
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Old 29-03-2013, 21:13
mgvsmith
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As long as you're not one of those people who think Eno was the only (or main) one in Roxy with talent, then I'll agree with you

If you are, then it's pistols at dawn
No, I like Ferry's lyricism up to Manifesto and his music up to Avalon. Not fussed on his later solo work although he did a great job at the Titanic concert. Manzanera and MacKay well underrated but Eno is in a different league.
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Old 29-03-2013, 21:27
Electra
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No, I like Ferry's lyricism up to Manifesto and his music up to Avalon. Not fussed on his later solo work although he did a great job at the Titanic concert. Manzanera and MacKay well underrated but Eno is in a different league.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one

You forgot The Great Paul Thompson

I'm less keen on the later Roxy stuff. For me, the first five albums are where it's at.
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Old 29-03-2013, 21:44
JohnnyForget
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The original British punk pre-dates Bowie by more than a decade. It was Wee Willie Harris back in the fifties.
I think you'll find that the first punk act was actually Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2ZsWENob1s Dave Vanian eat your heart out
Wee Willie Harris, a fifties artist, who I mentioned earlier, pre-dated Sutch by about half a dozen years. Harris was the first British rock 'n' roller to have multicoloured dyed hair, some twenty years before the Punks thought of it.
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Old 29-03-2013, 21:55
mgvsmith
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Wee Willie Harris, a fifties artist, who I mentioned earlier, pre-dated Sutch by about half a dozen years. Harris was the first British rock 'n' roller to have multicoloured dyed his hair, some twenty years before the Punks thought of it.
True enough and I liked Lord Sutch even though he is better remembered for his political work. Dyeing your hair wasn't really the main thing about punk, it was much more an attitude of mind and a cultural movement, and remember Elvis was actually blonde!
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Old 29-03-2013, 22:04
mgvsmith
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I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one

You forgot The Great Paul Thompson

I'm less keen on the later Roxy stuff. For me, the first five albums are where it's at.
Thompson played with Ferry at the Titanic gig, great guy.

Eno is simply a genius (overused term), but consider first two Roxy, Bowie Berlin Trilogy, Talking Heads 'Remain in Light', U2's Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby...My Life in the Bush of Ghosts influence on sampling...Ambient music...on and on.
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Old 29-03-2013, 22:24
mr muggles
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Electra 'was there'. I'm from a generation after. Respect Electra dearheart! Its all names and labels at the end of the day... Siouxsie has said it best (or honestly?) Punks were originally a mainly gay (though not exclusively)contingent from Bromley that got slowly taken over by lager louts from the expanding provinces. 'Rent-a sneer' comes to mind. I always thought it was the NY Dolls that influenced the 'punks' anyway?!
Jobriath?!!!
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Old 29-03-2013, 22:25
mr muggles
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Glam rock gives sooo much more than punk! Hah!
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Old 29-03-2013, 22:30
Electra
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Electra 'was there'. I'm from a generation after. Respect Electra dearheart! Its all names and labels at the end of the day... Siouxsie has said it best (or honestly?) Punks were originally a mainly gay (though not exclusively)contingent from Bromley that got slowly taken over by lager louts from the expanding provinces. 'Rent-a sneer' comes to mind. I always thought it was the NY Dolls that influenced the 'punks' anyway?!
Jobriath?!!!
Well yes, it started with the Bromley contingent but it's not true to say that everyone outside of that was a lager lout. That's just elitist bollox. Seems typical of her though. I was far too young to drink lager anyway The NY Dolls were certainly a big influence, along with The Stooges & MC5.
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Old 29-03-2013, 22:41
mr muggles
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Well yes, it started with the Bromley contingent but it's not true to say that everyone outside of that was a lager lout. That's just elitist bollox. Seems typical of her though. I was far too young to drink lager anyway The NY Dolls were certainly a big influence, along with The Stooges & MC5.
I cant help but love ole Sioux. I still love the label of the Banshees 'The most elitist band in the world!' And, more importantly they did make gr8 music.
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