Andy Warhol

David Bowie

Song Review by Dave Thompson

David Bowie's fascination with American pop artist Warhol was a matter of public record long before he portrayed his hero in 1996's Basquiat movie -- indeed, Bowie unearths an excellent impersonation of Warhol on the 1972 Santa Monica live album, during the introduction to this song, of course.

An irrepressibly chirpy number, underpinned by some deceptively intriguing twin guitar lines, "Andy Warhol" was originally written for singer Dana Gillespie, whose own 1971 recording of the song eventually appeared on her 1974 album Weren't Born a Man -- a far more electric/electrifying interpretation than Bowie's own, it should be sought out by all students of the late Mick Ronson's guitar work. He has seldom sounded better.

Gillespie also gave the song its first live airing, when she guested alongside Bowie on a 1971 BBC concert broadcast. Bowie's own version was recorded some months later for inclusion on the Hunky Dory album famously; it is preceded by an entertaining snatch of studio banter, as Bowie and producer Ken Scott wrestle with the correct pronunciation of the artist's name. The song was also lifted as the B-side to Bowie's first RCA single, "Changes," and was included on two of his BBC session appearances -- an excellent version surfaces on the At the BBC CD compilation.

Live, the song was a stage regular during 1972, but was not revisited until 1995, when Bowie unleashed an extraordinary rearrangement during the Outside tour.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Hunky Dory 1971 Atlantic / Elektra / Parlophone / Rhino / Warner Music 3:54
Pop Art: Underground Sounds from the Warhol Era 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 3:54
The Collection [EMI] 2005 EMI Music Distribution 3:47
Five Years (1969-1973) 2015 Parlophone / Warner Music 3:54
The Lost Sessions 2018 Left Field Media 3:49