BBC on David Bowie in 1965: "Singer not particularly exciting. Routines dull"

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I wonder how they felt about the Laughing Gnome in '67.


About a minute in, and shazammmm, melt yo face jamming!

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I like how Bowie’s first “proper” album generally sounds like some weird thing a star would have released as a contractual obligation kissoff.


It’s nearly impossible to make objective evaluations of music. Rolling Stone for example has been getting it wrong for over 50 years now.

There are no doubt many thousands of bands who could have been #1 with just a tiny twist of fate.


Well he’s particularly dull now.


Luckily, the Grammys were always there to set them straight at the end of the year.


Funny how that works. I doubt anybody would have thought the Beach Boys would have come out with something like Pet Sounds based on their original singles - they could barely play their instruments and mostly scraped by on Brian Wilson’s innate ability to arrange amazing music and harmonies. (Much like the Stones the Beach Boys’ continued existence is largely unnecessary - and I say this as a huge fan of their music.) The Beatles’ early performances were nothing particularly special and they only got good when they started writing their own stuff and taking risks creatively. Radiohead could have easily been written off as a one hit wonder after Creep but somehow they endured and created some of the best alt rock albums of our time. There’s countless stories like this in music.

One of the great things about music is how the most improbable groups and artists can go on to great success and acclaim.

But of course talent is no guarantee of success.


I think the judges were particularly harsh but that didn’t mean they were wrong. It just wasn’t Bowie’s time, it took another 4 years of working on his craft that he got to where he needed to be.


I’m a long-time Bowie fan, AND I think this piece is musically and lyrically dull and that Bowie sings off pitch. The judges were not tone-deaf, just lousy prophets.


Wondering if Leonard Nimoy’s Bilbo Baggins was inspired by this. I think these two songs may comprise a genre that has two songs in it.

I believe these two songs are candidates for inclusion in that genre:


Impressed. Someone should do a tribute album of contemporary artists doing cover of contrived musically weak songs about small mythical or mystical beings. (CMWSASMOMB’s) Or maybe they shouldn’t.

Well, the report by the studio’s talent scout of Fred Astaire’s first screen test read:
Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.

(Source: Halliwell’s Filmgoer’s and Video Viewer’s Companion, Ninth edition, 1989)

I don’t disagree with the BBC’s evaluation. He got better.


go tell john lennon

I’m just so glad I got to see David Bowie Is at the BK Museum TWICE. Decent amount of the archival show was dedicated to his very early years, which was awesome. His evolution was literally on display. And yes, between 15 and 20 years old, oh my goodness. These days I feel like I blink and five years goes by, but five years in the life of a young brilliant artist, holy cow!

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Yeah which is why Brian got The Wrecking Crew to do their studio recording for a lot of stuff. Also where they picked up Glenn Campbell to tour with them.


Indeed - not that there’s any shame in that since basically everybody used the Wrecking Crew back then (of course Brian wanted them specifically since that’s who Phil Spector used). At least they eventually learned to play their own instruments.


Well of course. It’s 1965, I mean, just look at him. :slightly_smiling_face: