This year, there is due to be a 40th anniversary release of Aladdin Sane. At the time of this video, a 1998 performance of Jean Genie, the record was already due for its silver anniversary — 25 years. 1998 was already late-era Bowie music. The records that followed were only three: Hours… (’99), Heathen (’02) and Reality (’03).
Somehow, this makes the gap between ’03 and now all the more significant. From the time he started performing in the late 60s, until 2003, David Bowie released new music every two or three years. It’s not surprising that the extended silence from camp Bowie has been widely interpreted as retirement, at least from the music industry, and perhaps as a focus on fatherhood.
(In this 2007 interview with Iman, shot when her and Bowie’s daughter was seven, she tells the story of her young child, raised with the last name Jones, seeing the name “Bowie” on a billboard and wondering what it was about. It’s not my business — and really, on some level I don’t really care, but — imagine if you were David Bowie and had to explain the 70s to your kid. For me, that would be reason enough to retire. But I digress.)
It does make you wonder what the “return” means: if this really is the last one, if The Next Day will close out the catalogue. That seems impossible — after all, Bowie is a mere 66 years old. And as a rock God, he’s immortal — right?
This clip begins with a cute little — is that, um, an Elvis-era swoop?