In 1978 I entered High school and changes had occurred over the summer. As a result of cultural disco saturation, I chanced to discover FM Rock and stopped listening to top 40 radio hits. By the time I was entering high school, it was now album rock for me. This blew open my previously ultra-limited perspectives on many artists I had barely heard growing up. I discovered that Yes and Pink Floyd had more than one song [“Roundabout,” “Money”] and there were also several more to be heard from that interesting Bowie character. I chanced to hear other deep cuts like “Sufragette City” and “TVC15,” and at least once, I heard the proto funk on “1984” on a station that would not otherwise have funky rhythm guitar straight out of Isaac Hayes “Theme From Shaft” on their airwaves. All of this sounded mighty good to my teenaged ears, but I was still not buying records yet. I still had no stereo to play them on! By this time Bowie’s status as a gay icon who’d admitted that he was gay in a time when no one else did had became known to me. It seemed like a showy thing to do, but then, he was a rock star. I guess it came with the territory.
In 1979 I got my first stereo§ in the summer between 10th and 11th grade. My larger consumption of music began in earnest. I soon got my first large dose of Bowie courtesy of a friend who was gone to visit his older brother in New Orleans during the summer. Clete’s brother was older and rife with rock LPs. I gave Clete some blank tapes to bring back some recordings of his choice from his brother’s collection to hear in detail. It may have been his idea; I can’t quite remember. There was a tape with two Bowie albums on it: “The Rise + Fall Of Ziggy Stardust” on one side and “Changeonebowie” on the second. To say the tape was a hit was an understatement! This was like a feast of creative rock [and soul] music after what seemed like a drip feed for almost a decade. By then I had been at least aware of the status that “Ziggy Stardust” had attained in its first years out there in the wilderness, and I had to say, it more than measured up to the hype. This was a versatile, intriguing rock album with songs that suggested a story in the most vivid terms imaginable.
If “Ziggy” had been a legend that the facts more than lived up to, then “Changesonebowie” showed that the artist had been covering a lot of ground in seven of the ten years of his mainstream career as of then. All of the sounds here were great and were every bit as expansive as the single “Ziggy Stardust” album on the tape’s other side suggested they would be. I was getting ready to dive into the Bowie canon, but was not quite ready to take the plunge. For one thing, I had no money to buy records. But the next year I hit upon a cunning plan…
Next: …Bowie Finally Enters the Nascent Record Cell
§ – …not that I’ve ever owned more than four so far…