It was 1975. March 1975 to be precise. I was on Dave’s mum’s sofa, *one hand on Annie’s round ripe heart the other down her panties. Dave was on his mum’s bed with Claire. Claire’s bra was on the chair by the standard lamp. Her panties by the living room door. Annie was saving herself for David Bowie. Claire was saving herself time! It was a good time. A very good time.
I know it was March as – in between the gropes, groans and grunts we were listening to David Bowie’s new album Young Americans. I loved David Bowie, Annie lusted after him. Dave and Claire liked Deep Purple. I hated Deep Purple but if all the girls that liked them were like Claire then maybe I should start giving them a listen. Then again this new Bowie album’s great and well Annie’s breasts are lovely and her panties are nice and pretty and what lies beneath is nice and warm and wet and she says she loves me. Not as much as she loves Bowie but I’m sure she’ll tire of him and when she does I’ll be her – if not Bowie then – Lou Reed or Iggy Pop. And if she doesn’t then… ‘Smoke on the Water, fire in the sky’.
And of course this new Bowie album’s more than great… all Bowie’s albums are great but this is great and different. This is soul music. It surprises many but the Bowie freaks – like Annie – saw it coming. Bowie’s always had soul. He’s always had his Lady Grinning Soul.
But now this was real soul. Philadelphia Soul. Bowie brought in Philly soul royalty to help him record the album. Luther Vandross, Carlos Alomar, David Sanborn et al. The album was produced by Tony Visconti. Recorded quickly and mainly live in the studio. It shows. You can tell. It is a beautiful piece of work. Bowie is singing like the wind. The album is bookended by the funky opening title track to the even funkier – to be hit single – Fame. In between it is solid gold soul. The beautiful so fucking beautiful Win, the epic Somebody Up There Likes Me – and they certainly do David – to the plaintive Can You Hear Me. It is a stunning piece of work. Even now forty years on.
But back then when it was Annie and me it was special. It was our album. That spring when it was great to be sixteen and in love or so we thought. The truth is Annie and I never got off the sofa. We never made it upstairs. I sometimes wonder where she ended up. While I’m still looking for my Twig the Wonder Kid I hope she found her own David Bowie. If she didn’t she can console herself with the fact that (that) spring we were the Young Americans.
*Yes I know I nicked that line from Nick Cave but it’s a great, great couplet*