David Bowie: Heroes vs The Elephant Man

A video tribute to celebrate David Bowie’s 64th birthday and a question that has bugged me for many, many years.


There were any number of songs I could’ve picked for this birthday tribute because David Bowie is the kind of artist I truly admire. He’s never afraid to take chances. Never let’s his music come second. Never panders to his audience. Rather his audience comes to him.

Proof of that is in how he has managed to embrace flashy, slick pop songs at one moment, only to shed that mask the next. No matter how popular any one sound may be, he is soon off alienating stereotypes and breaking new ground once again.

Today is Bowie’s 64th birthday and I was going to feature a track from my favorite albums ‘Outside’ (1995, Virgin). However, for some odd reason, the video for ‘Heroes’ and a funny mental image that I’ve always had came to mind. When I was a kid first seeing this video in 1981 or so (at the dawn of music television), I couldn’t help but notice how he was standing. He was oddly contorted and misshapen.

Even though the song was recorded in 1977, the video was airing in America not long after Bowie had starred in the stage version of ‘The Elephant Man‘. As much as I loved the song (and still do), I couldn’t help but laugh every time I saw the video.

The scenario in my teenage head portrayed this as Bowie’s way of auditioning for the part of the hideously deformed John Merrick. After all, since none of the heavy prosthetics and makeup that John Hurt had worn in the movie could have been used on the stage, all of the deformities had to come from an oddly contorted and misshapen stance.

Anyway … just look at it.


Heroes vs. Elephant Man

Was I crazy? Was it purely coincidence? Ah, who cares? The stark and haunting ‘Heroes’ is still one of his greatest songs and the stark and haunting ‘Elephant Man’ one of Broadway’s greatest moments … hey wait … another coincidence? I smell conspiracy!

Happy Birthday David Robert Jones!

See Also:
David Bowie (website)
David Bowie (youtube)
David Bowie (facebook)
David Bowie (myspace)


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