Song of the Day: David Bowie – “Andy Warhol”

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Today marks the birthday of the late Andy Warhol, who was born on this day in 1928. Warhol obviously made an impact on the history of rock, given his involvement with the Velvet Underground and his design of album covers such as The Velvet Undergound and Nico and Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones. This song, to be Captain Obvious, was influenced by Warhol. It has an unforgettable opening, which features Bowie telling his producer how to correctly pronounce Warhol’s name, then when realizing they were recording, Bowie laughs, then the song tears into its killer opening riff. Bowie went on to play Warhol in the 1996 movie Basquiat; you can see his performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfND08QDG9w

Around the time filming the movie, Bowie described his experience with Warhol with HUMO magazine:

“I met him a couple of times, but we seldom shared more than platitudes. The first time we saw each other an awkward silence fell till he remarked my bright yellow shoes and started talking enthusiastically. He wanted to be very superficial. And seemingly emotionless, indifferent, just like a dead fish. Lou Reed described him most profoundly when he once told me they should bring a doll of Andy on the market: a doll that you wind up and doesn’t do anything. But I managed to observe him well, and that was a helping hand for the film [Basquiat]. … We borrowed his clothes from the museum in Pittsburgh, and they were intact, unwashed. Even the pockets weren’t emptied: they contained pancake, white, deadly pale fond de teint which Andy always smeared on his face, a check torn in pieces, someone’s address, lots of homeopathic pills and a wig. Andy always wore those silver wigs, but he never admitted it were wigs. One of his hairdressers has told me lately that he had his wigs regularly cut, like it were real hair. When the wig was trimmed, he put on another next month as if his hair had grown.”

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