Monday, April 16, 2007

We all need Heroes

Here's some classic David Bowie singing his signature anthem (post Ziggy Stardust) "Heroes" in concert in 2002. Heroes would make my Desert Island Disc collection for sure. There's something viral about the song, infectious. The sound of the song is unique, almost otherwordly with its "wall of sound" guitar whine. Bowie starts out low, singing trademark nonsense lyrics that somehow come across as compelling (I wish I could swim, like the dolphins, like dolphins swim). From verse to verse the song builds in intensity as his voice becomes a wail, then a shout. Something about guns firing and lovers kissing, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but you get the idea that he's singing about the little guy overcoming the odds. The refrain "We can be heroes, just for one day" says it all.

I've had a New Year's ritual for many years now. After I awake, I put "Heroes" in the CD player, crank it up loud and sing along. It inspires.

I saw David Bowie in concert back in 1978 or 79 when his Heroes tour made it to the Providence Civic Center. There are many vresions of Bowie singing this song on youtube, from different decades going back to the 1970s. He looks almost as young today as he did back then. He's added to the song since the first minimalist performance in 77. There's a little routine he does at the beginning that seems out of place, and then during the later refrains he's added "what you say" here and there for emphasis. You can tell how much he loves to sing this song the way he comes alive at the end. It's good to see an artist that doesn't sing the old standards by rote at every stop, but puts himself fully into it.


Blogger Brit said...

Agreed. Bowie is a rare genius - very uneven (some real rubbish amongst the many gems) - and Heroes is his finest moment.

April 17, 2007 10:53 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

By the way, it's about two lovers living on either side of the Berlin Wall.

April 17, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

That explains a lot. Except the dolphins.

April 17, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I think it explains the dolphins, too, because their freedom is the direct antithesis of what the Berlin Wall represented.

April 18, 2007 10:16 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

You guys know I'm poetically challenged, don't you?

April 18, 2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Julia Buckley said...

You know, I'd rather forgotten this song. I'll add to my iPod ready for my next run. Always looking for things to help me up the hill!

April 19, 2007 7:53 AM  

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