I smiled sadly for a love I could not obey… Lady Stardust sang his songs of darkness and dismay…

Today Bowie’s official Facebook page promoted a large spread in French Rolling Stone, dedicated to the rock star. The images, judging by the Facebook montage, show Bowie at different stages of his career. Notably, the most “recent” image appears to be an artist’s rendering. It’s not a studio shot or paparazzi snap; it’s a painter’s idea of what Bowie probably looks like now. Rather extraordinary — Bowie has not been a complete hermit the past few years, and his face is plainly visible in the final frames of the video for Where Are We Now?. But considering how over-exposed Bowie has been most of his career, the fact that a mainstream magazine would go to such lengths to get a current image seems extraordinary.

This is the demo version of Lady Stardust, which was included in the 1990 and 2002 re-releases of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. In this version, Bowie doesn’t sound like Elton John. He also hits a few bad notes. But he also seems to really care about the song; here, his voice feels like that of a kid who is trying to do his best. It’s as if the vocalist — Bowie — is thinking, in the back of his mind “I really want people to like this.” Well, people did. And do.

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