Specifically Station to Station.
What are you listening to today?
When I was an adolescent, I took a lot of pride in telling my friends that I was born on the same day as Elvis Presley and David Bowie. Then I met my best friend and she retorted that she was born on the same day as James Dean.
It was the only time I’ve ever felt a tinge of birthday jealousy.
Happy birthday to both of them. Today would have been Mr. Dean’s 78th birthday.
As anyone knows me knows: this is the most important day in rock ‘n’ roll. I’m going to take this opportunity to reprint an article I wrote for the St. Petersburg Times in 2004 when I was the paper’s pop music critic. Again it’s five years old, so don’t be fooled by the ages listed:
Raise a toast this day, rock ‘n’ rollers. It’s a special one for music lovers.
Jan. 8 marks the birthday of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll (today Elvis would have celebrated number 69), and the birthday of several more notables in rock history.
David Bowie turns 57.
The Doors’ Robby Krieger is 58.
Little Anthony Gourdine of Little Anthony and the Imperials: 64.
R. Kelly celebrates number 35.
Terry Sylvester of the Hollies is 57.
Shirley Bassey turns 67.
Even the late concert promoter and Grateful Dead buddy Bill Graham, who devoted his life’s work to rock music, was born on this day in 1931.
Can you imagine what rock would be like if Jan. 8 were wiped off the calendar?
Think of the rock history we would have been denied: No “Hound Dog”, as done by Elvis, with leg wiggle. No Bowie dressed as Ziggy Stardust. No “Light My Fire.” (Krieger wrote the tune.) All those legendary Dead concerts at the Fillmore in San Fran – poof! Gone.
You wouldn’t be reading this article. My birthday, too, is Jan. 8, as I’ve been proud to say my whole life.
As has Jeremy Gloff.
The Tampa singer-songwriter turns 29 today. Gloff says he found out back in middle school that he’d been born on a special day. Already a music obsessive, “I bragged to everyone about it,” Gloff says. “If the day Buddy Holly died was the day music died, than Jan. 8 has got to be the day the music was born.”
With 12 albums under his belt, tireless Gloff shares a work ethic equal to that of Presley and Bowie.
Could it be a Capricorn thing?
Astrologists say Capricorns, folks born between Dec. 22 and Jan. 19, are a hard-working bunch. Like the goats who represent us on the zodiac, we see a mountain, and by golly, we climb it.
Unfortunately, Capricorns are also supposed to be uptight, prone to mood swings and gloominess, and fastidious to the point where it’s an unpretty line between our orderliness and others’ obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“My CD collection is totally alphabetized,” Gloff admits. “It’s sorted by release dates, all the albums in a row by the date they came out. Even CD singles are organized in between by the date. I’m totally Type A.”
When I spoke with Krieger last year while he toured with the Doors 21st Century, we discussed magic Jan. 8. We jawed about astrology – turns out, Krieger is into the stuff and, like Elvis and Bowie, always searching spiritually.
Krieger said that, like most Capricorns, he’s finding himself less gloomy and more playful as he gets older.
We giggled about how Krieger, in his 20s during the 1960s, believed all of the bad things going on in the world and in his life were part of a great conspiracy.
Paranoid? A Capricorn? Well, the astrology books say we’re “cautious.”
Cautious like Elvis, with his “Memphis Mafia” and rampant conspiracy fears? Walled up in Graceland, shooting TV sets, windows and anything else that reminded him of a reality he couldn’t deal with. Ultimately dying “down at the end of Lonely Street” in his bathroom, fat, bingeing, addicted to the drugs that were meant to combat the mood swings and gloominess and paranoia.
Or David Bowie, holed up, high on cocaine in Berlin during his 1970s recording blitz? Dressing in vintage war clothes as the Thin White Duke, his alter ego too “cautious” to blink in public.
Gloff’s no paranoid freak, but he does see similarities between Bowie and himself:
Like Bowie did during the 1970s, Gloff wears his sexuality on his sleeve or, in the case of Gloff’s pic on Romantico, his latest disc, across his chest. Gloff’s vintage iron-on T-shirt reads: Made for Loving Him. He also changes his look a lot. Right now, Gloff’s head is shaved, but his hair has been an assortment of colors, and he’s been known to wear electrical tape as part of his onstage wardrobe.
Also, as Bowie did several times during the 1970s and the 1980s, Gloff toys with a musical alter ego. When Gloff records his peppy, naughty electronica dance music, it’s under his J.Glo alias.
Gloff gives props to the King, too, but he’s says he’s not much of an Elvis freak. The King’s former queen, however, is another story.
“I’m a huge fan of Priscilla Presley,” Gloff says, “She always had good hairdos, even on Dallas.”
Anyway, Happy Birthday, everyone. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll party. Get yourself a slice of cake, that is, if The King left any for the rest of us.
Like most music lovers, I hated switching from vinyl records to CDs. Vinyl records not only sounded better, they came with often fantastic album art including great liner notes and covers large enough for great pictures. Now there’s another reason to prefer vinyl CDs – or Mp3s – it’s Sleeveface.com a fun site that brilliantly mashes up album art and real humans, like this Elvis Presley image:
Look at this David Bowie Diamond Dogs shot (click to enlarge):
Be prepared to spent a stupid amount of time on the site, especially if you are old enough to recognize a lot of original album covers. Have fun!
After posting earlier about Metallica drummer and art collector Lars Ulrich, I started to think about other celebrities who are avid art collectors. With the art market seemingly immune to the country’s financial woes, a painting by a well-known artist is often a profitable place to store your money.
Here are some more celebrities who collect art and whose art they have purchased. See if the art they like says something about their personalities. (Most of this information gathered from Nicholas Forrest‘s terrific Art Market Blog):
Steve Martin is my hero not only because of his awesome sense of humor, he has an extensive art collection that includes the work of Picasso, William de Kooning, Georgia O’ Keefe, Cy Twombly, Franz Kline, and Roy Lichtenstein. (I’m pretty sure in another life Steve and I were married).
Victoria Beckham: Damien Hirst.
Charlton Heston: Andrew Wyeth
Steven Spielberg: Norman Rockwell
Elton John : Damien Hirst, Picasso, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nan Goldin, Henri Matisse, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Alfred Stieglitz, Sam Taylor-Wood.
Jack Nicholson: Jack Vettriano.
Madonna: Frida Kahlo, Damien Hirst, Ferdinand Leger, Picasso
Jane Fonda, Robbie Williams and Hugh Grant: Andy Warhol
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: Banksy
Elizabeth Taylor: Vincent Van Gogh
David Bowie: Balthus, Graham Sutherland.
Does any of this surprise you? Do you know of others?
At the recent Fashion Rocks concert in New York, R&B songstress Rihanna did a faithful rendition of Madonna‘s now classic “Vogue.” Take a look (and yes, unfortunately this was the best quality video I found):
In honor of fashion, and pop music, here is a list of more songs about fashion (and models):
* Duran Duran, Girls On Film
* David Bowie, Fashion
* Simple Minds, Up on the Catwalk
* RuPaul, Supermodel
* Juliana Hatfield , Supermodel
* Jill Sobule , Supermodel
* Kraftwerk, The Model
* Run-D.M.C., My Adidas
* Irving Berlin , Puttin’ On The Ritz
* Gwen Stefani, Harajuku Girls
* The Kinks, Dedicated Follower of Fashion
Got any more songs to add? Let’s hear ’em!
Looks like indie rock chanteuse Cat Power is the new go-to girl for commercial tunes. She recorded an exclusive cover of Cat Stevens’ How Can I Tell You for DeBeers Diamonds. (It’s not available anywhere but in the ad.)
Now she tackles David Bowie‘s Space Oddity for Lincoln. Check it out:
I like how it sounds, but I can’t say I’m happy about Cat Power (real name: Chan Marhsall) recording songs exclusively to sell products. Especially luxury products. That destroy the planet. Kinda lame.