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03/27/04 08:58 PM
John Lennon new  

I couldn't go in a session and play like George plays, you know. I have limited vocabulary on the guitar and the piano - so what could I do going in with Cream or whatever (the other Beatles) were doing in those days? ... I never did that bit.

And suddenly I was working with Elton and then Bowie was around. We were talking and he'd say come down and I found myself doing that, you know.

So he's fiddling around. He writes them in the studio, you know. He goes in with about 4 words and a few guys and starts laying down this stuff. And he has virtually nothing - he is making it up in the studio.

So I just contributed whatever - you know like backwards piano and oooohhh [hits a high note] and the repeat of 'fame'. Then we needed a middle eight so we took some Stevie Wonder middle eight and did it backwards. [Laughs] And you know we made a record out of it.

So that was like his first number 1 and I thought that was a karmic thing. With me and Elton I got my first number 1 and I passed it on to Bowie and he got his and I like that track you know. [Makes heavy percussive sounds]. Yeah I love it.

And I must say I admire him for the vast repertoire of talent the guy has. I was never around for the Ziggy Stardust thing because I had already left England when all that was going on.

So I never really knew what he was and meeting him doesn't really give you much more of a clue! Because you don't know which one you're talking to, you know


We all have our little personality traits so between him and me, I don't know what was going down ... but we seemed to have some sort of communication together and I think he's great.

John Lennon, 1980, Transcribed Interview souced from MP3

03/27/04 09:36 PM
John Lennon again new [re: Adam]  

"[Bowie] was doing 'Across The Universe' and I had sort of met him once in LA, and met him again here. That was an old song of mine. I gave it away because we made a lousy version of it, and then Spector made an improved lousy version of it and it ended up on the 'Let It Be' LP, which none of us would have anything to do with.

So I just went down to Electric whatever, where he was recording, and I did whatever you do. Then he, or the guitarist, had this sort of a lick, and we made a song out of it, called 'Fame.' It's an interesting track. So that's the extent of it, and they'll be on his new album - the one with 'Young Americans' on it."

John Lennon, NME, 8 March 1975

03/27/04 09:51 PM
Bowie & Lennon [re: ziggfried]  

"..Let's talk about the rest of the album. Very decadent this is (laughs). 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' is a 'Watch out mate, Hitler's on his way back'... it's your rock and roll sociological bit.

And 'Across The Universe', which was a flower power sort of thing John Lennon wrote. I always thought it was fabulous, but very watery in the original, and I hammered the hell out of it. Not many people like it. I like it a lot and I think I sing very well at end of it.

People say I used John Lennon on the track ... but let me tell you ... no one uses John Lennon. John just came and played on it. He was lovely."

David Bowie, NME, August 1975

03/27/04 09:55 PM
Bowie & Lennon again new [re: ziggfried]  

"Money-wise...we made nothing. All I've made is an impact and a change, which, of course, is worth a lot. I keep telling myself that. The best thing to say about it all is that it's archetypal rock 'n' roll business. Read the reports of the Beatles, the Stones and a lot of other big entertainers and take some kind of amalgamation of all that; it's a pretty accurate picture of my business. John Lennon has been through it all. John told me, "stick with it. Survive. You'll really go through the grind and they'll rip you off right and left. The key is to come out the other side." I said something cocky at the time like, "I've got a great manager. Everything is great. I'm a Seventies artist." The last time I spoke to John, I told him he was right. I'd been ripped off blind."

David Bowie, Playboy, September 1976

03/27/04 10:01 PM
Bowie & Lennon again again new [re: ziggfried]  

"I don't know why you're interviewing me when you've got someone like Lennon. He's the last great original.''

David Bowie, Sunday Times Magazine, July 1975

03/27/04 11:15 PM
David Bowie on Lennon's Contribution new [re: ziggfried]  

With John Lennon in the studio it was more the influence of having him there. There's always a lot of adrenalin flowing when John is around, but his chief addition to it all was the high-pitched singing of Fame. The riff came from Carlos and the melody and most of the lyrics came from me. But it wouldn't have happened if John hadn't been there. He was the energy, and that's why he got a credit for writing it. He was the inspiration

David Bowie, 1976, Playboy Interview

03/27/04 11:19 PM
Puts you there where things are hollow new [re: ziggfried]  

There was a degree of malice.

I'd had very upsetting management problems and a lot of that was built into the song [Fame].

I've left all that behind me, now....I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say about it is it gets you seats in restaurants. Other than that, there's very little about it that anybody would covet.

David Bowie, 1990, Q Magazine, April

03/28/04 10:57 AM
The origins of "Fame," again... new [re: Adam]  

"...[Carlos Alomar] said, 'Oh, I know that old thing [Footstompin'].' And he said, 'Listen, I've got this great riff that we could use for it.' It was something that he'd written for James Brown, though Brown never used it...

[In 1975] Lennon said, 'You know, let's do something.' I said, 'Yeah, what can we do?' And I said, 'Carlos, that riff you've got!'

We used it for Fame but it came from our version of Footstompin'. Fame was built around a recycled riff.

I guess we could have done more together, John and I, but we ended up just having a laugh most of the time. He was terrific fun."

David Bowie, Washington Post, 9 June 2002

03/28/04 11:03 AM
The classic, moving speech new [re: Adam]  

“I co-wrote that song [Fame] with John Lennon. And I asked him one day 'How do you write your songs', and he said 'It's easy, you just say what you mean and you put a back-beat to it.' I said 'What do you think of my kind of rock 'n' roll?' He said 'It's great, but it's just rock 'n' roll with lipstick on.' Last time I saw John Lennon was in Hong Kong, we went to a Hong Kong market and there was a stall that sold old clothes and there was a Beatles jacket on the stall, and I did something that is not usually in my character—I asked him to put it on, so that I could take a photograph. I took a photograph, and I still got the photograph. The jacket doesn't fit properly, it looks like John has outgrown it. On this day, December the 8th 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed outside of his New York apartment.”

David Bowie, Hong Kong Coliseum, 8 December 1983

03/28/04 11:10 AM
Fond memories of Dr. Winston O'Boogie new [re: Adam]  

“It's impossible for me to talk about popular music without mentioning probably my greatest mentor, John Lennon. I guess he defined for me, at any rate, how one could twist and turn the fabric of pop and imbue it with elements from other artforms, often producing something extremely beautiful, very powerful and imbued with strangeness. Also, uninvited, John would wax on endlessly about any topic under the sun and was over-endowed with opinions. I immediately felt empathy with that. Whenever the two of us got together it started to resemble Beavis and Butthead on "Crossfire."

The seductive thing about John was his sense of humor. Surrealistically enough, we were first introduced in about 1974 by Elizabeth Taylor. Miss Taylor had been trying to get me to make a movie with her. It involved going to Russia and wearing something red, gold and diaphanous. Not terribly encouraging, really. I can't remember what it was called -- it wasn't On the Waterfront, anyway, I know that.

We were in LA, and one night she had a party to which both John and I had been invited. I think we were polite with each other, in that kind of older-younger way. Although there were only a few years between us, in rock and roll that's a generation, you know? Oh boy, is it ever.

So John was sort of [in Liverpool accent] "Oh, here comes another new one." And I was sort of, "It's John Lennon! I don't know what to say. Don't mention the Beatles, you'll look really stupid."

And he said, "Hello, Dave." And I said, "I've got everything you've made -- except the Beatles."

A couple of nights later we found ourselves backstage at the Grammys where I had to present "the thing" to Aretha Franklin. Before the show I'd been telling John that I didn't think America really got what I did, that I was misunderstood. Remember that I was in my 20s and out of my head.

So the big moment came and I ripped open the envelope and announced, "The winner is Aretha Franklin." Aretha steps forward, and with not so much as a glance in my direction, snatches the trophy out of my hands and says, "Thank you everybody. I'm so happy I could even kiss David Bowie." Which she didn't! And she promptly spun around swanned off stage right. So I slunk off stage left.

And John bounds over and gives me a theatrical kiss and a hug and says "See, Dave. America loves ya."

We pretty much got on like a house on fire after that.

He once famously described glam rock as just rock and roll with lipstick on. He was wrong of course, but it was very funny.

Towards the end of the 70s, a group of us went off to Hong Kong on a holiday and John was in, sort of, house-husband mode and wanted to show Sean the world. And during one of our expeditions on the back streets a kid comes running up to him and says, "Are you John Lennon?" And he said, "No but I wish I had his money." Which I promptly stole for myself.

[imitating a fan] "Are you David Bowie?"

No, but I wish I had his money.

It's brilliant. It was such a wonderful thing to say. The kid said, "Oh, sorry. Of course you aren't," and ran off. I thought, "This is the most effective device I've heard."

I was back in New York a couple of months later in Soho, downtown, and a voice pipes up in my ear, "Are you David Bowie?" And I said, "No, but I wish I had his money."

"You lying bastard. You wish you had my money." It was John Lennon.”

from David Bowie's speech to Berklee College of Music's Class of 1999, delivered at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, 8 May 1999

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