It seems strange now to think that it was not until this day in 1975 that Bowie made it to national US TV. He appeared on The Cher Show singing ‘Fame’.
Looking back it is easy for us to think that Bowie’s rise to fame was easy and virtually instant but that is far from the truth. He started his first band in 1962, the Konrads. He then played in various bands and as a solo artist (using his real name of Davie Jones) until 1966 when he changed his stage name. Incredibly now, he was worried that sharing his name with one of the Monkees would harm his career. There were also at least 7 singles released under his name or with bands like The Lower Third that all sank like a stone until he released ‘The laughing Gnome’. Some kind people call this a novelty song, the rest of us call it crap.
In spite of this single, or because of it – it did reach number 6 in the UK, Bowie was signed by Deram and released a self titled album in 1967. It did not chart. Two years later he released the album ‘Space Oddity’ which reached number 16 in the US. This was to be a higher rating album in the US than The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane, and Pinups. It was not until 1974’s Diamond Dogs that Bowie broke the US market.
So an instant and trouble free rise to mega-stardom? Nah, but cream always rises to the top in the end.
The first performance on US national TV.
This is from national UK TV 2 years earlier;
And this is supposed to be his first TV appearance (it isn’t) but I just love the flares – not even Bowie could make pink flares cool.