ON REFLECTION…A RATHER UNUSUAL RELEASE
(Originally posted on 23 February 2013)
Bauhaus had been kicking around for a few years without ever troubling the chart-compilers. The record label then hit on the wheeze of releasing, as their eighth single, a cover version of one of the most famous songs written and recorded by David Bowie. This was at a time when Bowie was being accused on selling out, what with hitting the charts with duets with firstly Queen and then Bing Crosby (!!) and rumours flying around the music industry that his next LP was going to be a real crossover pop/dance effort.
So in a sense, this very faithful interpretation of Ziggy Stardust was a reminder to us kids that Bowie had made some great music a decade or so earlier and why he was regarded as such a huge influence to many:-
mp3 : Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardust
All the label on the 12″ single says is ‘released by arrangement with BBC Records’. It was years later, thanks to a CD compilation of all their BBC sessions, that it could be revealed it dated from a July 1982 session recorded for the David ‘Kid’ Jensen Show on Radio 1.
The track got to #15 in the UK charts and proved to be the band’s only Top 20 hit.
I came across it while cleaning out the record cupboard the other week having long forgotten that I owned a copy. Gave the b-sides a spin for the first time in decades – found them to be a a right strange bag:-
The first of these was turns out to be from a John Peel Session in March 1982. This must have bemused long-time fans of the band. It’s a sort of lounge-jazz piece of music with sampled dialogue from what sounds like some sort of horror movie. Turns out that the band are really having a laugh at their own alleged demonic/goth roots as the sample is from The Devil and Daniel Mouse – a 1978 cartoon with this plot line:-
Finding their audience drying up in favour of rock music, two young mouse folk singers find themselves with a bleak future. Desperate for a better career and life, the female vows that she would do anything to become a rock star. Instantly, the Devil arises to take advantage of that and offers to make her a star in exchange for her soul. She agrees and she quickly becomes the star she’s dreamed of while her boyfriend, Daniel Mouse, is left behind. On the night of her greatest triumph, the devil comes to collect on her soul. In desperation, she turns to Daniel who must attempt the impossible task of trying to find an escape loophole for his girl’s release.
I’m guessing being a family cartoon young Daniel finds a way…..but I’m still quite tickled at the band showing such a cracking sense of humour.
Over on the flip-side the track Third Uncle is also taken from the same Jensen session as Ziggy. It’s a cover of a Brian Eno composition, originally released in 1974. I’ve never heard the original, but I’m happy to make a blind bet that the Bauhaus version is wildly different. Oh and I’m happy that having just played it for the first time in nearly 30 years, it has been added to the i-pod list cos I like it….
The final track was much anticipated. Recorded live at Fagins in Manchester and featuring Nico from The Velvet Underground on co-vocals, this very disappointingly sounds like two drunk patrons being backed by a wedding band. Total letdown.