Following David Bowie’s death, his massive pool of fans all seemed to take separate routes of mourning and remembering: between posting favorite performances on YouTube, buying Blackstar and selectively going through his discography on Spotify (streams of his music jumped 2,700 percent in the days following his death), everyone was revisiting his immense catalog in their own individualized way.
But for those who weren’t already mega-fans of Bowie’s work and want a sort of spiritual guide, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker’s 2 hour BBC Radio homage to Bowie — which was broadcast this Sunday — is an excellent point of entry into veneration. And, of course, even for those who did have their own particular structured way of looking back at his work, it’s moving to hear another icon’s curated glimpse into Bowie’s artistry.
“I think people feel it very personally maybe more than with a lot of people who have passed away, because he was very important in how people grew up,” said Cocker on BBC 6 the day following the announcement of Bowie’s death (on a separate radio show). “The fact that he managed to stay in control of [his] image and to make another artistic statement when he was obviously ill and knew he was dying — that’s incredible…He maintained control until the end of it, stayed creative right to the very end of his life, and I think that can only be inspirational for people.”
And so Cocker retreated to a spare room in Paris to broadcast the above-mentioned two-hour tribute — he’d intended on taking a week off from his Sunday Service show, but after Bowie’s death on January 10, decided to record an episode devoted solely to Bowie. In the episode, Cocker features clips from various interviews throughout Bowie’s career, rare demo tracks, alongside some of the crucial hits (and a couple of non-Bowie songs).
Cocker introduces the show, saying:
We’ll be hearing from the man himself, both in speech form and in music form, and hoping to answer this question, ‘Where are we now?’ In January 2013, that’s when he released his first material in a very long time — ‘Where Are we Now.’ And perhaps that’s why there’s been such an outpouring of emotion at his passing — he was quiet for so long and then suddenly surprised everyone by coming back in the manner that he did.
- “Sound And Vision”
- “Where Are We Now?”
- “Lady Stardust” (Original Demo)
- “Aladdin Sane”
- “Art Decade”
- “The Jean Genie” (Original Single Mix)
- “John I’m Only Dancing” (Sax Version)
- “Space Oddity”
- “Starman” (Live at The Rainbow)
- “Sense of Doubt”
- Nina Simone – “Four Women”
- “Sweet Thing”
- “Sweet Thing (Reprise)”
- The Flares – “Foot Stomping (Part 1)”
- Biff Rose – Fill Your Heart
- “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday”
- “I Can’t Give Everything Away”
- “Quicksand” (Demo)