David Bowie and Mick Jagger, "Dancing In The Street"

>> Thursday, January 14, 2016

This is terrible.  This is utterly, utterly terrible.

I think--I don't know this for a fact, but I think they were both clean at the time.  So this isn't one of those where you can use the drugs as an excuse.  Could have been drunk.  I don't know if Bowie's cleaning up included total sobriety or if he sometimes went all the way into the bottle.

But, here's the thing: as terrible, as unforgivably terrible as it is, look at it.  No, seriously.  If you just scrolled down because you couldn't believe this showed up in a feed, watch the damn silly thing again.

Here are these two guys who are so... I dunno, what's the word?  Phenomenal?  Epic?  Unstoppable?  Huge?  Whatever, these two guys are basically in a position to say, "Fuck it, let's make a record and video and the studio has to release it and MTV will have to put it in circulation because the universe is our bitch," and basically, you know, you might have a problem with that as a matter of hubris or ego or something, but basically they're right.  The damn thing, a studio lark or whatever it was, a total, "Hey, what the hell, you wanna cover 'Dancing In The Street'?  Yeah?  See you after lunch.  Toodles," was on the MTV and the radio and everybody had to listen to it because it was goddamn David Bowie and Mick Jagger so there.

And maybe you remember that when I put "Five Years" up here this week, I said something about David Bowie, when he was silly, was sly and there was something that communicated he was in on the joke, that was how in control he was.  Well, look at him here.  He's obviously having a good time.  I have no idea whether Mick knows how awful the whole thing is, because nobody has ever been able to tell if Mick Jagger has a scintilla of self-awareness anywhere in his body.1  But Bowie, on the other hand?  Bowie is just having a swell old time, seems to know how stupid and godawful the whole thing is and gives absolutely zero fucks, thanks.

It probably rates as one of the worst moments of his career, but gods bless David Bowie.2

1No, that's not true: Jagger looks painfully self-aware in the Stones' performance in the T.A.M.I. Show, one of the Stones' earliest U.S. performances but, worse yet, they had to go on after James Brown, who had pointedly floored it off a motherfucking cliff as a tax on the Stones for having the temerity to be slotted, against their will, as the show's closer ahead of The Hardest Working Man In Show Business.  Supposedly, Brown said, when he found out that he wasn't the closer, that he'd make the Rolling Stones regret coming to America.  To their credit, the Stones (when they found out they were being forced to go on after James Brown) begged not to close, please, put us anywhere on the bill, just not after James Fucking Brown, but that didn't work and Brown blew them off the stage and for the first couple of minutes of the Stones' performance, Mick Jagger looks like he's forgotten how to piss his own pants.  To Brown's credit, he later told them they were alright, gave the Stones front row tickets to his next show, and they apparently became pretty good friends over the subsequent years.  But it's the only time I've ever seen Mick Jagger looking self-conscious.

2Okay, yeah.  Right.  There's an elephant in the room.  Which is that Angela Bowie, David's ex-wife, claimed that she walked in on Mick and David in bed together.  Asleep.  But naked.  So implying they had the sex.  Which may or may not be true, but don't you think it ought to be?  Isn't it a shame they couldn't actually produce offspring?  Their kid would be like Jesus, except a much better dancer.  But if that story gives the "Dancing In The Street" video some kind of, you know, subtext, because maybe there's something more to the way Mick and David are looking at each other and making eye contact... well.  What can you say?


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