In 1971, DAVID BOWIE was all about ch-changes. Impressed by the America of
Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and After The Gold Rush, he delivered a daring, career-reviving triumph along with his first actually nice album. As a brand new boxset, Divine Symmetry, digs deep into the 12 months that led as much as the discharge of Hunky Dory, collaborators and confidants reveal the secrets and techniques of this main turning level in Bowie’s evolution. “With David, it was onward and upward on a regular basis,” learns Peter Watts. Look out, you rock’n’rollers, within the newest difficulty of Uncut journal – in UK retailers from Thursday, November 10 and that can be purchased from our on-line retailer.
Stroll 10 minutes uphill from Beckenham Junction station, previous the squat new developments and stylish townhouses, and also you’ll ultimately arrive on the nook of Southend Street and Shannon Means. In the present day, it’s a block of sq. brick flats, just like many buildings on this nook of south-east London. However earlier than it was demolished within the early ’80s, this was the positioning of Haddon Corridor, the place David Bowie lived along with his spouse Angie and an assortment of musicians from 1969 till 1972. A sprawling Victorian villa, Haddon Corridor was successfully the cradle for Bowie’s fast-moving transition from folkie to futuristic famous person.
When 80-year-old south Londoner Terry moved into his flat three years in the past, he had no notion of the constructing’s musical heritage. He’s since achieved his analysis, prompted by the gaggles of vacationers who make pilgrimages right here and pose for images on the street exterior his house. “Oh sure, it was all a little bit of a to-do,” says Terry. “All these events. They reckon The Beatles and the Stones came over. Think about that.”
We agree that it’s unimaginable to think about The Beatles, the Stones and even David Bowie ever coming to this unglamorous suburban spot. But Terry – who admits he’s not likely a Bowie fan (he prefers the Stones) – mentions a video his daughter despatched him. “It exhibits Boy George taking the 54 from Eltham to Beckenham and staring up at my flat,” smiles Terry. “Now Boy George, he undoubtedly would have been a fan of Bowie.”
Boy George was certainly a customer to Haddon Corridor in 1971, one in every of a number of south London music followers who’d come to stare on the native freak – and received informed to “fuck off” by his new spouse, Angie.
“Haddon Home was inspiring,” says Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, Bowie’s drummer, who shared the home with a roving forged of characters that included the Bowies, Tony Visconti and Mick Ronson. “It was half commune, half flatshare. We didn’t get the Beatles and Stones, it was extra like Marc Bolan or Roy Harper. They’d say, ‘Roy’s doing a live performance tonight in Tony’s bed room,’ and in you’d go. There was a wine cellar beneath that we used as a spot to rehearse, so you may write and play everytime you wished. David had a piano and the 12-string was normally within the lounge. He’d say, ‘Woody, I’ve completed one,’ and also you’d go and have a pay attention.”
Bowie was coming into a interval of extraordinary productiveness that noticed him document Hunky Dory, his first nice album, and write a lot of its life-changing successor, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars at Haddon Corridor. However it was additionally a time of uncertainty and anxiousness. As Bowie struggled to flee the orbit of his sole 1969 hit, “House Oddity”, he pursued another profession as a producer/songwriter for rent, writing songs for buddies and different singers. This journey is charted in Divine Symmetry, a brand new boxset that examines intimately how Hunky Dory got here collectively and why it was such a turning level in his profession. There are house recordings from Haddon Corridor and American lodge rooms, BBC periods, beforehand unheard originals, demos and a pivotal stay efficiency that heralded the course Bowie would take.
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