woensdag 28 januari 2015

* Life on Mars? *

"I need a Mars Bar, hey raid the Spar
To help me through the day
I need a Mars Bar, I've had ten so far
It helps me, makes me work, rest and play.

There’s glucose for energy,
caramel for strength,
the chocolate’s only there,
to keep it the right length”!

The Undertones-'Mars Bars' (1979 B-side) - with great home made video

“To (Patrick Moore and) David Bowie,
and all the other stars,
there’s evidence here to show you,
that there is life on Mars.”

David Bowie-'Life On Mars' (1971) - with vintage Bowie-clip

The next year Bowie would release the album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars'. Was he that Mars-obsessed? Actually, 'Life on Mars' wasn't about the red planet at all:
Bowie pictures a young girl going to the cinema, seeing her own boring life repeated on the screen.
The only reference to Mars pops up in the chorus:

"Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show 
Is there life on Mars?"

For 'Life On Mars' Bowie borrowed a little from 'My Way', "the notorious standard written for Sid Vicious by Paul Anka" (great quote from a 1981 Bowie-book by Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray). As a matter of fact, when Paul Anka wrote this song in 1968 for Frank Sinatra (Wiki-story here), he was borrowing in turn from the French song 'Comme d'habitude' by Claude Francois (1967). Bowie knew this, he had been working on an English adaptation (as 'Even a Fool Learns to Love') of the French original in 1968 also. Sinatra made 'My Way' a million seller in 1969. Two years later, Bowie would include 'Life On Mars' on his album Hunky Dory. On the LP-cover he modestly stated the song was "inspired by Frankie". And in case you wondered who's playing the piano: Rick Wakeman. Yes!

PS: In depth analysis of (London-born!) Bowie's 'Life On Mars' on AmericanSongwriter.com

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