Inspiration, have I none.
Stories in song are one of the oldest ways that humans share emotions, information and communication and after listening to his early recordings and reading his lyrics I realized that David was extraordinarily gifted at creating very compelling story songs but needed help to engage listeners and audiences by more structured musically dramatic recordings and theatrical performances.
We spoke of many things including poetry and science fiction sources that might have influenced that material or could be reflected in future songs. Here are some extracts from examples of those sources that connect to specific themes and songs explored in his entire body of work.
Ample make this Bed
Make this Bed with Awe
In it wait till Judgment break
Excellent and Fair
Be its Mattress straight
Be its Pillow round
Let no Sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this Ground
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
– Emily Dickinson
In a dim corner of my room for longer than my fancy thinks
A beautiful and silent Sphinx has watched me through the shifting gloom.
Inviolate and immobile she does not rise she does not stir
For silver moons are naught to her and naught to her the suns that reel.
Red follows grey across the air, the waves of moonlight ebb and flow
But with the Dawn she does not go and in the night-time she is there.
Dawn follows Dawn and Nights grow old and all the while this curious cat
Lies crouching on the Chinese mat with eyes of satin rimmed with gold.
– Oscar Wilde
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?
– William Blake
Gully Foyle is my name
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
– Alfred Bester
Stranger in a Strange Land
– Robert Heinlein
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made
– A.E. Housman
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!”
– Hughes Mearns
It was in large part that aspect of his writing that persuaded me to help David get all the best musical and other elements he needed to become Bowie. This process continued for the next four years with diverse sources such as Jean Genet, Lindsay Kemp, Natasha Korniloff, Bertolt Brecht, Jacques Brel, Fritz Lang, Gershwin, Dylan, The Beatles, Arthur C. Clarke, George Orwell, William Burroughs, Brian Duffy, Kansai, Dali, Guy Peellaert, Amanda Lear, Andy Warhol, Anthony Ingrassia, Lou Reed, John Cale, Jackie Curtis………
We would love to hear from all the Bowie fans reading this blog to connect those or other sources you think are reflected in David’s songs. Post your responses (with or without video) to our Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Facebook.