david bowie

David Bowie and Space Oddity: 50 Years On

By Harvey Kubernik c 2019

On February 20, 1969, singer/songwriter David Bowie recorded an early studio version of “Space Oddity” for his 1969 promotional film, Love You Till Tuesday.

After departing Deram Records, Bowie then signed to Mercury/Phillips Records in London in the late spring of 1969 by manager Kenneth Pitt to record producer and label executive Lou Reizner.

The Mercury/Phillips studio recording of “Space Oddity” was then cut on June 20, 1969 at Trident Studios in the UK produced by Gus Dudgeon and arranged by Bowie and Paul Buckmaster.

“I met Gus Dudgeon while preparing some arrangements for a female vocalist,” explained the late arranger, conductor and composer Paul Buckmaster in a 2014 lecture at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Songwriters On Songwriting: Killer Hooks, Essential Songs & Songwriters of the Rock Era class taught by Professor David Leaf.  

“It wasn’t an audition for her so much as for me.  Tony Visconti hired me to work on [David Bowie’s] ‘Space Oddity.’ 

“I was obsessed with Kubrick’s 2001. I saw it at least a dozen times and really tried to bring that quality from the movie’s score, which featured Richard Strauss and in particular, Gyorgi Ligeti.  Unfortunately, that cheesy mellotron swamped my strings and you can’t really hear my work.”  

Ken Scott engineered the Trident session. Continue reading

SOUNDTRACK TO BESIDE BOWIE: THE MICK RONSON STORY

AVAILABLE NOW VIA UME     

By Harvey Kubernik c 2018

Record label UMe this summer has released the soundtrack to the official Mick Ronson documentary,  Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson

Courtesy Universal Music

Story, with tracks by Mick Ronson, David Bowie, Ian Hunter, Michael Chapman, Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Elton John and Mike Garson.

This is the first official career retrospective compilation for the guitar virtuoso Mick Ronson. The compilation includes key selections from Ronson’s solo records, as well as material from noted collaborations with David Bowie, Elton John, Ian Hunter, Queen and Michael Chapman plus previously unreleased and unheard songs.

The soundtrack is available on CD, Digital & heavy-weight 180-gram vinyl and includes extensive essay and liner notes. The soundtrack accompanies the critically acclaimed film Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story also available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Continue reading

Mike Garson: Bowie’s Piano Man

New Biography and Bowie Celebration Tour in 2018 and 2019

By Harvey Kubernik c 2018

“It is pointless to talk about his ability as a pianist. He is exceptional. However, there are very, very few musicians, let alone pianists, who naturally understand the movement and free thinking necessary to hurl themselves into experimental or traditional areas of music, sometimes, ironically, at the same time. Mike does this with such enthusiasm that it makes my heart glad just to be in the same room with him.” — David Bowie on Mike Garson

Pianist Mike Garson was David Bowie’s most frequent musician, on record and onstage, throughout Bowie’s life. They played over a thousand shows together between 1972 and 2004, and Garson is featured on over 20 of Bowie’s albums. In November 2006, Garson accompanied Bowie and Alicia keys for a rendition of “Changes” in New York City at an AIDS benefit which was Bowie’s final public performance in the U.S.

Around his teaching, performance and recording work, Garson is serving as the pianist, bandleader and stage emcee who anchors the well-received A Bowie Celebration spotlighting a flexible touring lineup.

The current touring ensemble is Garson, who was Bowie’s musical director with Luther Vandross and David Sanborn on the Young Americans 1974 tour, longtime Bowie veteran Earl Slick guitar, Gerry Leonard guitar, Mark Plati guitar, Carmine Rojas bass, drummer Lee John Madeloni, who is Slick’s son, and vocalists Bernard Fowler, Cory Glover, Joe Sumner and Gaby Moreno. Continue reading

D.A. Pennebaker on David Bowie

With the passing of David Bowie, Cave Hollywood thought it wasDavid Bowie - Aladdin Sane-40th Anniv Ed - cover art (1) appropriate to display a 2003 interview Harvey Kubernik conducted with Oscar-winning filmmaker and documentarian, D.A. Pennebaker, who directed 1973’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

The documentary has been out on DVD for many years.

Pennebaker’s riveting celluloid portraits captures Bowie’s last performance as Ziggy while introducing musical aspects of Bowie’s ongoing 1973 journey that resulted in his “Aladdin Sane” album.

D.A. (Donn Alan) Pennebaker was born July 15, 1925 in Evanston, Ill. Continue reading