“Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
Fame, it’s not your brain, it’s just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane
Fame, what you like is in the limo
Fame, what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, what you need you have to borrow
Fame, “Nein! It’s mine!” is just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to, crime”
Fame was something ephemeral in the ’70s, you got it and then you lose it, a white shadow that follows your steps quietly.
You got it when you really touch the material tools it gave to you.
But it is impossible to touch something ephemeral, isn’t it?
Fame in the ’70s was a springboard for those misunderstood genius that could only be understood by that multicolored thing that takes you and never lets you go, that strums your vocal cords, your veins, your neurons, your senses until you reach that cataclysmic state in which you just want to get up to make it louder and lauder: music.
The relationship between music and fame has always been something destructive and harmonious at the same time, something that raises you up and lets you down.
This relationship pretty increased and decreased the life of two musicians who met in the top status of their careers, two men ready to rule everything could be played, strummed, sung.
In early January 1975, a guy called John got a phone call from another guy called David who explained he was at New York’s Electric Lady Studios working on a cover of Beatles’ “Across The Universe”.
John obliged David and came down to the studio to sing backing vocals and play acoustic guitar on “Across The Universe” with David and his band. David wrote lyrics that reflected the anger he was feeling towards his former management and John came up with more lyrics to fit David’s sentiments and elude to the downside of celebrity status. John also came up with the song’s title:
Since that meeting David started to realize that if you’re bright, you kind of know you’re worth, and if you’re creative, you know what you want to do and where you want to go in that way.
He got it. The Hero got it. The Rebel got it. That guy that day in New York managed to collaborate with his idol, his Hero, his Rebel. That day there wasn’t no John Lennon or David Bowie, no hero, no fame, just two mates making music.
Fame makes you feel alive, known, great, but in the right moment you think you have the world in your hand, it lets you down, it kicks you off, it kills you.
It happened to that guy, John, the 8th December 1980, killed by his fame, but never destroyed. That day David knew how to balance that hard insane relationship, that day Ziggy Stardust was just a man who would have picked John’s son, Sean, up from school and taken care of his wife, Yoko.
Different in their habits, but alike in their love for music, now those two friends can finally start playing again, together as in that late 1975, not like famous people, but just like Heroes.
RIP David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016).