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2023 Albums Thing #041 - Various Artists “Absolute Beginners”

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I know it’s really a Various Artists OST but the only reason I own it is for Bowie’s contributions so it sits here among my Bowie albums.

I have to admit that I’ve not seen the film since it was released in 1986 (I’d actually quite like to remedy that) but I don’t remember Bowie’s performance, as advertising executive Vendice Partners, convincing me that he was suddenly going to become a feted act-or anytime soon.

He contributed 3 songs to the soundtrack, “Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)” you’d know it if you heard it, it was Italy’s entry to the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest and Bowie delivers it in Italian, “That’s Motivation”, a set piece for Bowie’s character in the film based around the motivation to make money and including the intro motif from the title song, and of course, the title song itself.

“Absolute Beginners” might well be the greatest song David Bowie wrote and recorded post “Scary Monsters” and pre “Earthling”. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios after an invite to record with “Mr X” went out to a group of musicians including Thomas Dolby, Prefab Sprout guitarist Kevin Armstrong and former Soft Boy Matthew Seligman, it is an enormous, 50’s/60’s doo-woppy styled power-ballad, embellished by “Rachmaninov style” piano from Rick Wakeman, which Bowie performs absolutely brilliantly. Of course it’s the highlight of a very patchy soundtrack.

Absolute Beginners - https://youtu.be/iCJLOXqnT2I


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