Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Bowie Week - "John, I'm Only Dancing" (1972)

Not an album track but a non album single, "John, I'm Only Dancing," was released in September 1972, in the timeline of Bowie singles it is between "Starman" and "The Jean Genie" and it was recorded in June 1972 between the "Ziggy" and "Aladdin Sane" albums.



For most people of a certain age the two most iconic appearances of Top of The Pops during the early 1970's 'glam' period were Marc Bolan wearing glitter on his face whilst performing "Ride A White Swan" and Bowie putting his arm around Mick Ronson's shoulder whilst singing "Starman". The former caused eyebrows to be raised, the latter cause utter confusing and consternation among some parents up and down the land, Bowie had, in one brief appearance on the nations favourite Thursday night programme (sorry Tomorrow's World fans) legitimised bi-sexuality, boys (and girls) up and down the country who had spent hours confined and confused in their bedrooms suddenly had what we now would call a role model.

"John, I'm Only Dancing," wasn't backwards in coming forwards, it's a song about a homosexual relationship where the narrator is trying to placate his male lover by assuring him that he is only dancing with the girl at the disco.

The single was banned in the States for being too 'lewd'  and the Mick Rock directed video above was banned by the BBC.

If that wasn't enough to keep people talking the single was then remixed during the "Aladdin Sane" recordings and a saxophone, played by Ken Fordham, was added - this became known as "the saxophone version" - and re-released six months after the original single with the same catalogue number! To confuse matters even further when the greatest hits collection "Changesonebowie" was released it initially had the "saxophone version" on it but this was replaced after the initial pressings, the later greatest hits collection, "Best of 1969-1974" includes the "saxophone version", still awake at the back?

38 comments:

Span Ows said...

Keep it up! Could make a good short book if you decided to (with a bit more filler and images :-)

This is when he first moved across my radar...going up to 'big school' in 1972.

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Thanks for the compliment.

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