The next two years were Bowie-free for me. I had no awareness of what he was doing after “Space Oddity” became a late-in-the-game US hit in 1973 until two years later. I had grown up liking funk music from my early childhood in Los Angeles. KHJ-AM played lots of funky hits like “I Gotcha,” an R+B hit that I loved so much, I asked for a 45 of it for my 7th birthday! What really sent me into orbit as a 2nd grader was the track “Trogledyte” by the Jimmy Castor Bunch. It was funny and very seriously funky. I was a child. I did not respond to the bawdiness of the record; at least on a conscious level. Why I have no childhood memories of James Brown I can’t really account for. He would have been a fave. 1975 first exposed me to Parliament/George Clinton and “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker.” So I was primed for funk by the time of fourth grade! They didn’t play too much of it on the much more conservative airwaves of WLOF-AM in Orlando, Florida. I didn’t know it at the time, but the airwaves were much more segregated where I had move to in 1972. Unless that crossover into pop happened, I was missing out. In 1975, heard a dramatic new song exploding from my radio. No one missed out on this one.
It was heavy yet impossibly elegant at the same time as a very, very different David Bowie ruminated on the downsides of fame to a grinding, almost industrial beat. The production was immense. Foghorn synth…bass… to this day I really don’t know what I’m hearing exactly on the number, which still is as compulsive to me now as it was then. It was compulsive enough for a lot of people, since the song made it all the way to the coveted US number one spot on the Billboard charts. It was so compulsive and so funky that James Brown lifted Carlos Alomar’s insanely funky guitar riffs [as in Xeroxed®] for his own “Hot [I Need To Be Loved, Loved, Loved].” How many people can say that James Brown copped their riffs? I was primed for more Bowie, and I didn’t have to wait long.
Next: …A Gold Record