Thursday, May 7, 2009

Talk Talk

Our pal Jim Bartlett over at The Hits Just Keep On Comin' recently posted a video of a David Bowie song called "Stay," off of Station to Station. The most noteworthy thing about this is its source: It was on Dinah Shore's daytime talk show from 1975. Imagine that: A bunch of housewives turned on the TV thinking they were going to see Hope Lange or George Gobel, and they got the Thin White Friggin' Duke.

These talk shows used to be a lot hipper than they are now. Everyone's heard about that infamous week in 1972 when John and Yoko cohosted on the Mike Douglas show: The guest list was tailored to John and Yoko's style, with people like Ralph Nader and Bobby Seale and George Carlin. Chuck Berry came on, too, and performed with John; it was supposedly horrible. Then there was time Lennon and McCartney went on the Tonight Show to announce the formation of Apple. Unfortunately, Johnny was off that night, and in his stead was Joe Garagiola, who didn't know the Beatles from Earl Battey.

But we were talking about Bowie and Dinah Shore. If you watch her interviewing him, like here and here, you can tell she's really interested in his work and has paid attention to his artistry. Dinah points out that Bowie's wardrobe and dance moves seem steeped in the 1930s and gets him to talk about influences like Puerto Rican clothes and Bryan Ferry; this is miles ahead of anything Jay Leno asks his guests. Plus, Nancy Walker and Henry Winkler were also guests on the show, and you get to hear Bowie say, "I'm a great fan of Fonzie."

Anyway, here's the song:


Innocent Bystander said...

Excellent commentary. Yes, this was the era before pop culture and entertainment became so compartmentalized. Pop music used to be a wonderfully eclectic aural potpourri: on your radio station, you could hear Led Zep followed by Sinatra! So when did this fragmentation occur? Naturally, like most cultural phenomena, it was a gradual process, so that one cannot easily pinpoint a quantum of time, but my vote is the late 70's / early 80's... But Bowie sure has the dance moves -- wonderful to watch!

Denver Doug said...

I do not possess the definitive body of knowledge on Earl Slick, but that is the only time I've seen him looking so "70s".

jb said...

Thanks for the link. Somebody could probably get a PhD by examining the link between the fragmenting of our popular culture and the fragmenting of our "one-ness" as a people. We share so much less today than we once did, it's no wonder that it's become easier for us to think of our fellow citizens as different from us.

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