1977, The Sex Pistols released a song to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (God bless her, guv – Some Americans seem to think we all talk like Dick Van Dyke, for some reason). Apparently, the establishment did not get the reference within the song. “God save the queen, She ain’t no human being, And there’s no future, In England’s dreaming” Is quite obviously a good natured, typically British ironic comment.
150,000 of us got it and bought the single within a week.
On this day in 1976 Bowie gave an interview in which he said that Britain would benefit from having a dictator and that he would be good at it. He also said that Hitler was the first rock star and that Hitler drew more fans than Jagger. Then there were the stories about his Nazi salute, the detention of Bowie’s train (yes he had a train) as it crossed between Russia and Poland. Lots of Nazi memorabilia, books, etc. were confiscated.
So what was it with Bowie at the time?
Bowie had been interested in Buddhism for some time (yes, this is relevant, honest). From there he moved (descended?) into an interest in the Occult, accompanied by an ever growing consumption of cocaine.
From a general interest in the occult came painting mystic symbols on the walls of his house, burning candles, and reciting rites to protect him from the evil ones who were trying to get to him. He also began to retain his hair and nail clippings and urine in bottles in the fridge so that they could not be used in magic rituals against him. In other words serious chemical induced paranoia.
From there he became aware that the Nazis were heavily involved in the occult. (The idea that they hunted the Ark of the Covenant is not just an invention of the Indiana Jones film’s writer). It is this interest in the occult that drew him towards the Nazi symbolism. It is even possible that he got to Nazi symbols via an interest in the Kabala.
The quotes ? Not quite as they were reported at the time, it would seem, Yes he said that Britain would benefit from a dictator, a socialist none not a fascist one, he also said that he thought that he would be quite good at the job………. Hitler the first rock star? If you think of Hitler in the terms of the public rallies and adoration of the crowds, then yes, you could make some sort of comparison. However, you really have to be off your head on something to think that comparing Hitler with anything other than the spawn of the devil is a good idea.
So there you have it, paranoia, caused by ingesting the whole of Columbia’s export trade on his own, and spiralling interest in the occult, combined to encourage Bowie to make some outrageous comments and act as a cretin.
Mind you there were some upsides for Bowie. It would seem that the comments broke just before the Bowie tour reached England. Ticket sales were poor before the comments, sold out afterwards. Remember, he had previous for playing the media. There was the Hunky Dory tour, poor sales up until the “I’m Gay” interview in the music press and, hey presto!, tickets sales soar.
So, what is the truth? Probably, drugs and a descent into paranoia. If you do not inhabit your brain for a length of time you are likely to do some strange stuff.
As for the Nazi salute. I saw the clip some time ago and went to look at it again but it has been taken down on YouTube. However, there is an equally shocking clip featuring a Nazi salute by Ringo! (Or he may just be waving to his fan).
On this day in 1960 The Nerk Twins played a couple of gigs at the Fox and Hounds in Caversham. As these were the only bookings fulfilled by the Nerk Twins that in itself would merit an ‘On This Day’ mention, the more so that the location was the world famous Fox and Hounds.
However, the reason why there is some interest in the Nerk Twins was that they later became part of a local pub band called the Beatles. After the artistic peak of playing to 3 people in Paul’s cousin’s pub Paul and John took the almost precedented step of turning their back on fame for the obscurity of rock band mediocracy.
On this day in 1976 the Rolling Stones played 2 concerts in the Palace of Culture and Science building in Warsaw, Poland as part of their European tour. It was the first time the Stones had played behind the Iron Curtain. It was also the last tour that included Brian Jones.
The tickets were handed out to Communist Party members – apparently much to the surprise of the band. I think that the only surprising thing was that the band was surprised. Anyway, the audience was instructed on how to behave. It is true to say that visiting Soviet officials were not impressed with the show. They thought that the Stones were decadent and awful.
On their part, the Stones, fake surprise or not, drove round the streets to give away copies of their records to fans after the show. Whether this was a real gesture of protest or a rather good publicity stunt is not known.
It would be a long time before the Stones visited communist bloc countries again.