In reply to:
But I had the chance to talk to an American guy in 1981 and when I asked about David Bowie, he said: "Well, he's good, but he had his day." So I don't think it was much different elsewhere.
Maybe not outside Europe (or at least the UK), but I think it was different in the UK. From a commercial point of view in the UK, Ziggy was Bowie's breakthrough, he rode the crest of a wave for a couple of years, then started going into commercial decline circa Diamond Dogs. This continued more or less until Lodger, which at least showed signs of reviving his commercial fortunes, but Scary Monsters was a number one album (his first in 6 years) that spawned 4 hit singles, one of them at #1 (his first ever #1 single from the current album).
He then sat out the rest of his RCA contract, but his commercial stock was still clearly very high, as proven by the fact that RCA found it worthwhile to keep flogging compilations, and "minor" singles like Baal and Cat People made the top 40 with no video or promotion. Contrast that with Bowie's difficulties getting singles into the upper echelons of the charts round the mid 90s even with an expensive video and a big promo push.
In reply to:
Even a renowned fan like Dara admits to having discovered Bowie through "Let's Dance" and thinking it was his debut album.
True. I was a kid from BallyMacPodunk at the time.
The thing Let's Dance did, I think, was blow wide open the idea of who could be a Bowie fan. You no longer had to be part of a small self-appointed elite, centred on major cities in Europe and the US, very fashion conscious etc. etc. Some people will never forgive Bowie for that, which I think is the main reason his 80s output gets such stick. As a group, Bowie fans are drama queens, and everything has to be exaggerated. His lows and his highs.
So yeah, NLMD is not one of his best albums, and Blah Blah Blah is a much better album, but the notion it's the worst album of all time (or one of the worst) doesn't stand up to serious scrutiny (or repeated listenings to most of Stock Aiken and Watrerman's output). I'd say that NLMD is still better than, say, 90% of the albums released that year. Now that represents a comedown for a man who, in the words of one Q writer, "used to make the best records in the world in the 70s", but it's hardly rock bottom.
So Levi's are called Levi's because the guy's name was Levi Strauss? Why didn't they call them strousers? - Fiona O'Kearney 6/5/2004