It's hard to believe, but rock chameleon David Bowie turns sixty-five today. In honor of the occasion, here's a clip of his September 5, 1980 live performances of "Life on Mars?" and "Ashes to Ashes" on the final ninety-minute episode of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Between songs, the James Dean-channeling artist says, "Richard, it's great to have you back, man." He was addressing his fellow guest Richard Pryor, who was making one of his first public appearances after recovering from severe burns sustained in a horrific freebasing tragedy on June 9 of that year. Happy Birthday to the Thin White Duke!
It was a year ago yesterday that musician Mick Karn (1958-2011) lost his battle with cancer. In memory of this remarkable artist, here's a live rendition of his old band Japan's classic instrumental "Canton." This performance, documenting part of a superb November 1982 concert at London's Hammersmith Odeon (now the Apollo), is drawn from the group's posthumous 1983 live album and video release Oil on Canvas. Karn's acrobatic fretless basswork made this composition a highlight of the band's 1981 studio album Tin Drum, and the live version is even better. (When I was a college deejay, I always began my show with a twelve-inch single of this concert classic.) Also featured are Japan's David Sylvian, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri, and adjunct member Masami Tsuchiya. Oil on Canvas was directed by Tony Lawson. Enjoy!