David Bowie

Love You Till Tuesday

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The things that are done for fame. In 1969, his first LP already consigned to the dumper of oblivion and the successes of the '70s still a dream waiting to happen, David Bowie and manager Ken Pitt conceived a 30-minute multimedia production that would, hopefully, alert the British music industry to just what an inventive, creative, and all-round deserving talent the little chap was. Even by the standards of the time, Love You Till Tuesday is an adventurous project, eight songs and a mime routine that certainly show off Bowie's dexterity, even if his fervent wish to be acclaimed as a family entertainer ensures that there is little here that any fan of his future incarnations will instinctively recognize beyond, perhaps, a deafening cry for attention. Running through a clutch of numbers recorded either for or around his Decca debut album, Bowie is generally portrayed alone against a pure white background, props confined either to his dandy clothing or a modicum of furniture, with a few moments of location footage (swinging London boutiques for "Sell Me a Coat," a pastoral park scene for "When I Live My Dream") to set the scene for the song. It's an effective technique that Bowie himself would return to for 1973's "Life on Mars?" video, although repetition certainly dulls its impact over the full 30-minute film.

Further future echoes can be drawn from the rock god performance of the decidedly un-rockish "Let Me Sleep Beside You," while an early version of "Space Oddity" goes the whole proto-spaceman hog, with a tinfoil spacecraft and a pair of floating interstellar dolly birds. Equally adventurous is "When I'm Five," a song Bowie premiered on his first-ever BBC radio session in 1967, and which now sees him transform himself into, indeed, a five-year-old, to scamper around a giant birthday cake. Frequently cited as an example of just how avidly Bowie sought fame on any level whatsoever, it's a deceptive song, sickeningly cute on the surface but packed with some disturbing emotional imagery all the same. The highlight of the set, however, has to be "Ching-A-Ling," performed by the Feathers trio formed by Bowie and fellow singer/guitarists Hermione Farthingale and John Hutchinson. An undistinguishably contagious singalong, one of "Ching-A-Ling"'s central melodies would later resurface as the refrain of "Saviour Machine" from 1970's Man Who Sold the World album -- and what a very different beast that would be. Although the "Space Oddity" clip did surface occasionally during the 1970s, Love You Till Tuesday itself remained little more than a legend until 1983 brought both a video release and an accompanying soundtrack LP. Since that time, it has become accepted more as a curio than an intrinsic part of the Bowie oeuvre, a rating that the man himself probably prefers. For anybody fascinated by the curious learning curve that changed David Jones into Ziggy Stardust, however, there are enough clues and suggestions littered within to make Love You Till Tuesday vital viewing. And, if that's not enough, you can laugh at it as well.

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