Teenage Wildlife

Bowie At The Beeb

A Plea
by Dave Gibbs, dag@ca.com.au

From inspection of the 'confirmed' track listing of the up and coming 2CD Bowie at the Beeb (release date 25 Sept?) as published at Teenage Wildlife, it would appear that the tracks follow the chronological order of the BBC sessions from which they are taken. Assuming this to be the case, a little deduction reveals what has been omitted from what was once planned (by Trident Music International, later NC) to be a comprehensive 3CD set of all the available BBC sessions (i.e. those that had not disappeared from the vaults of the Beeb).

Omissions

In 1967 and 1968 Bowie did two Top Gear sessions for the BBC. The second session of five songs on 13 May 68 was lost and reportedly only in the posession of Toni Visconti who donated "When I'm Five" for use on the soundtrack to the "Love You Till Tuesday" film. Apparently Bowie has recovered the lost session from his own collection. Of the other four songs, two of the titles had also been performed on 18 Dec 67 so it can be deduced that what is missing from the forthcoming release are:

Love You Till Tuesday - recorded 18 Dec 67
When I Live My Dream - recorded 18 Dec 67
Little Bombardier - recorded 18 Dec 67
Silly Boy Blue - recorded 18 Dec 67
In The Heat Of The Morning - recorded 18 Dec 67
When I'm Five - recorded 13 May 68
Something I Would Rather Be - purportedly a song also recorded 18 Dec 67

Next up was the Dave Lee Travis Show - recorded 20 Oct 69. Three songs were recorded, only two seem to be included in the impending BBC compilation which leaves the following unreleased:

Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed

The Sunday Show was recorded at the Paris Cinema Studio on 5 Feb 70. Songs that are missing on the compilation from this recording are:

Buzz The Fuzz - a song by Biff Rose/Paul Williams
Karma Man
London Bye Ta Ta
An Occasional Dream
Janine
Fill Your Heart
The Prettiest Star
The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud -

Sounds Of The Seventies - recorded 25 Mar 70: Hmmmnnnn... Looks like the only song from this session that IS included is "The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud":

Waiting For The Man
The Width Of A Circle
The Supermen - possibly not recorded at this time but some bootlegs include it

John Peel's Sunday Concert - recorded 5 Jun 71: Seems we only get five songs from this set so the following are missing:

Queen Bitch
The Supermen
Song For Bob Dylan (George Underwood on vocals)
Andy Warhol (Dana Gillespie on vocals)

Bob Harris Show - recorded 21 Sep 71: Famous session with just Dave and Ronno in the Beeb's studios. We only get two songs so these are left out:

Oh! You Pretty Things - interestingly, this song was at the time segued into "Eight Line Poem" but only the latter makes it to the official release
Kooks
Fill Your Heart
Amsterdam
Andy Warhol

Finally we move into the 1972 Ziggy era and we get nearly all the songs from several sessions at the Beeb. Only one song is missing here: White Light, White Heat - from Sounds Of The Seventies - recorded 23 May 72

There has always been a lot of debate as to whether two sessions were recorded in January 72, only a week apart and with several songs common to both session. Seems unlikely, but poor quality recordings of other songs supposedly recorded for the Beeb do exist. Anyways, nothing extra is revealed in the track listing of "Bowie at the Beeb" 2CD.

Gems

First of all, the fact that Bowie's BBC early sessions (well, 60% of them) are finally seeing the light of day officially and presumably in pristine quality. Ziggy fans are going to have their little cotton socks blown off by the 1972 stuff.

The songs from 13 May 68 which have never appeared before, not even on bootlegs.

The songs from 5 Feb 70 which have never been bootlegged in good quality and in particular "Memory of A Free Festival" which has never appeared anywhere before. Presumably a hearty thanks is due to Toni Visconti for making this session available??

Errors

The main problem with this set is that it's incomplete. Why leave out stuff? See plea below.

The biggest fault is that now after obviously locating the The Sunday Show recorded 5 Feb 70 we are only given a snippet of it. Most of the other stuff has been circulating in reasonable quality for years and years so why leave out the show that is of biggest interest to long time fans?

The other sessions of real interest are 25 Mar 70 which was The Hype (there IS no other recording of The Hype!!!) and 21 Sep 71 which was a sensitive acoustic set by Dave and Mick Ronson only. But these have largely been ignored.

Plea to Mr Bowie

C'mon Dave, don't stuff around. Give us the whole lot and give us comprehensive liner notes on each session. We all know it only costs a few cents to mass produce CDs so make it a 4CD set if necessary. You have not started pressing these CDs yet 'cos we all know from 'Fanmix' you are still working on them. Forget about the limited edition with bonus third CD of the recent BBC concert special (which is totally out of context here anyway and which we can all get with our VCRs and tape decks later during the broadcast) and fill it with the historic stuff. If you really want to show us you have some disdain for some of the earlier work (Buzz The Fuzz - yeah, right!) then put it on the bonus disc instead.

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This document last updated Friday, 01-Sep-2000 13:40:59 EDT
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