Monday, June 24, 2013

"Any Day Now": Bowie's big book of ch-ch-changes, 1947-1974

For those who enjoy tripping down rock's memory lane, David Bowie (...remember him?) now gets the ultra-glam treatment in a coffee-table slab of his own. Any Day Now: David Bowie The London Years 1947-1974 (Adelita Publishers) is an eye-popping collection of memorabilia (and a memento of a gallery show) that should remind readers of a certain age that the '70s -- in the UK, at least -- certainly seemed ... well, a bit more colorful than here in the drab, Nixon-browed USA at the time.

Bowie has always been a smart businessman -- he was the first to offer a stock offering in his musical back catalog -- and it seems only natural at this point to expect the Diamond Dog to approve this extravagant look back in mascara at the early years.

The parade of pictures shows The Thin White Duke in his many transformations from Maidstone folkie to Ziggy space case. The resulting tumble of images is a great laugh or a serious head-scratching case of pop remorse ... sometimes on the same page. Lady Gaga's got nothin' on this Aladdin Sane.

Bowie, au-courant, by Kenneth Pitt (1969)

340 pages, 850 images, pull-outs, signed glossies, concert tickets, lipstick traces: if you're interested in Bowie's history, you can read between the promo shots, coy backstage glances, and space-age album-cover art. Author Kevin Cann has put together all the details, as well as "the most concise listing of Bowie performances ever published," according to the Guardian UK.

At a length of 140,000 words, there's not much more to be read about Bowie's UK years. One must admit it was a nice gesture on Bowie's part to ask Dudley Moore to add piano to Hunky Dory, though(Moore declined.)

Pin-up boy: Bowie by Terry O'Neill (1973)

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the price of the book (£24.99 for the no-frills paperback, £175.00 for the all-you-can-collect limited edition of 450 signed and numbered copies) is a bargain. 

A history stopping at 1974, when Bowie left the UK for his Stateside dukedom, should give the collector and his wallet pause: If you have any quid left over from buying this book of ch-ch-ch-changes, better start saving it for Bowie, vol. 2.

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