Friday, February 19, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: David Bowie Doing "'Heroes'" (also there will be Neu!)

Never a fan of ironic distance, I nonetheless succumb to adding the infamous "'Heroes'" scare quotes. According to this fascinating and well-researched wiki, Bowie added them "to impart an ironic quality" to this wonderfully romantic song. Now why would he want to do that? No shame in writing a beautiful song, even if you are the Goblin King. Tell me if he's written one better. (This bizarre clip is from the Bing Crosby Christmas special of 1977. Weird sound mix and some "interesting" "pantomime":)

Or, if you prefer, the unembeddable original promo video. And it's also on Bowie's new live album, A Reality Tour, in a stripped-down version that emphasizes the Velvet Underground guitar groove. (I've heard it innumerable times over the past week because of my four-year-old's David Bowie obsession. No complaints.)

"'Heroes'" came during a period of Bowie's life when he was really into dolphins and krautrock. We've all been there. So his 1977 album, and this song, are named at least partly in homage to Neu!, German critics' darlings who will make you break the speed limit if you listen to them in your car. Here's their 1975 "Hero":

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