Bowie’s Last Supper

Following the “Retirement Gig” on 3 July 1973, Bowie and a handful of friends held a small post-concert party at the Inn On the Park.

The next evening (4th July 1973) Bowie’s retirement party (now known as “The Last Supper”) was held at one of London’s most expensive restaurants – the Café Royal in Regent Street, following frantic last minute calls from MainMan inviting guests to the impromptu party. Word soon spread and large crowds gathered in the streets to watch the celebrities (usually arriving in Rolls Royce’s and Bentley’s) enter the restaurant.

The guest list of those who attended was a virtual Who’s Who of top music and film celebrities in London at the time and included: Paul McCartney and his wife Linda, Keith Moon, Lulu, Tony Curtis, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, The Goodies, Cat Stevens, Ringo and Maureen Starr, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Jeff Beck, Lou Reed, Barbra Streisand (she was in London to film a TV special), Ryan O’Neil, Sonny Bono, Elliot Gould, Britt Ekland, Spike Milligan, Hywel Bennet, D.A. Pennebaker and Dr John who supplied the live music for the evening.

The gathering was also a great opportunity for Bowie to celebrate his fame and new friendships with fellow musical heavyweights such as Mick Jagger. But according to biographer Jerry Hopkins (1985) Bowie had reason to be anxious about Mick Jagger’s attendance. Reportedly Jagger had threatened Bowie because he believed that Bowie had put the “make” on his wife Bianca earlier that week. Hopkins even reports that Bowie had wanted to cancel the show because of Jagger’s threats. However, all was made up at the party and Bowie danced with Jagger and briefly kissed both Jagger and Lou Reed when asked to by Mick Rock who was photographing the event.

 
 

Photos by Mick Rock

 
 

“This was at the Cafe Royal in London after the final Ziggy gig at Hammersmith. Lou Reed and Mick Jagger, who’s behind us, came down. I’m not actually kissing him. If you study it, I’m talking into his ear and he’s talking into mine. I’m quite a way over. But it was near enough to a kiss for the press and they all printed it. We were supposed to have been kissing at that time anyway so there was the evidence. No, I think Lou Reed is the last person in the world I’d want to kiss.” – David Bowie (1993)

Not to be outdone Angie Bowie and Bianca Jagger were also seen dancing and embracing that night.

“The Cafe Royal party the next night was a great success, with David at the very top of his form; he was pure charm and gentle friendliness, open and happy and gay. And I must say, I had a wonderful time too. The mood was light, the glitter dazzling, the night bright and beautiful with stars and success and serendipity”. – Angie Bowie (1993)

 
 

Bowie’s Last Supper as illustrated by Mike Allred (Red Rocket 7 issue 4, November 1997)

Advertisements

Chain SmoKing

David Bowie, Damien Hirst and Julian Schnabel. Photo by Roxanne Lowit, New York, 1994

 
 

Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney and  David Goodman. Photo: Dennis Hopper

They Call Them the Diamond Dogs

Diamond Dogs Session (contact sheet), Terry O’Neill, 1974

 
 

Taken as a publicity shoot for the LP Diamond Dogs. As Terry started to shoot with the dog sitting quietly besides Bowie, it suddenly got over excited and reared six feet into the air barking madly. This terrified the life out of everyone in the studio, except Bowie who didn’t even flinch.

 
 

This portrait of David Bowie was part of a studio session in Los Angeles to promote the Diamond Dogs album. Bowie picked up the scissors absent-mindedly and O’Neill decided to keep them in the shoot to symbolize the cutting edge nature of Bowie’s music.

 
 

Diamond Dogs is a concept album by David Bowie, originally released in 1974 on RCA Records, his eighth album. Thematically, it was a marriage of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Bowie’s own glam-tinged vision of a post-apocalyptic world. Bowie had wanted to make a theatrical production of Orwell’s book and began writing material after completing sessions for his 1973 album Pin Ups, but the author’s estate denied the rights. The songs wound up on the second half of Diamond Dogs instead where, as the titles indicated, the Nineteen Eighty-Four theme was prominent.

 
 

The cover art features Bowie as a striking half-man, half-dog grotesque painted by Belgian artist Guy Peellaert. It was controversial as the full painting clearly showed the hybrid’s genitalia. Very few copies of this original cover made their way into circulation at the time of the album’s release. According to the record-collector publication Goldmine price guides, these albums have been among the most expensive record collectibles of all time, as high as thousands of US dollars for a single copy. The genitalia were quickly airbrushed out for the 1974 LP’s gatefold sleeve, although the original artwork (and another rejected cover featuring Bowie in a sombrero cordobés holding onto a ravenous dog, an image captured by Terry O’Neill) was included in subsequent Rykodisc/EMI re-issues.

 
 

Though the album was recorded and released after the ‘retirement’ of Ziggy Stardust in mid-1973, and featured its own lead character in Halloween Jack (“a real cool cat” who lives in the decaying “Hunger City”), Ziggy was seen to be still very much alive in Diamond Dogs, as evident from Bowie’s haircut on the cover and the glam-trash style of the first single Rebel Rebel. As was the case with some songs on Aladdin Sane, the influence of The Rolling Stones was also evident, particularly in the chugging title track. Elsewhere, however, Bowie had moved on from his earlier work with the epic song suite, Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise), whilst Rock ‘n’ Roll With Me and the Shaft-inspired wah-wah guitar style of 1984 provided a foretaste of Bowie’s next, ‘plastic soul’, phase. The original vinyl album ended with the juddering refrain (actually, a tape loop) Bruh/bruh/bruh/bruh/bruh, the first syllable of “(Big) Brother”, repeated incessantly. The track Sweet Thing was Bowie’s first try at William S. Burroughs‘ cut-up style of writing, which Bowie would continue to use for the next 25 years. Although Diamond Dogs was the first Bowie album since 1969 to not feature any of the Spiders from Mars, the backing band made famous by Ziggy Stardust, many of the arrangements were already worked out and played on tour with Mick Ronson prior to the studio recordings, including 1984 and Rebel Rebel.

The Face of Legends

 “There are very few people that have escaped my eye. It was only when I finished my career did I realize what I’d done. I’ve done the best people ever. And there will never be people to match them. Ever.”

Terry O’Neill

 
 

Self-portrait

 
 

Terry O’Neill began his career working in a photographic unit for an airline at London’s Heathrow Airport. During this time, he photographed a sleeping figure in a waiting area whom, by happenstance, was revealed to be Britain’s Home Secretary. O’Neill thereafter found further employment on Fleet Street with The Daily Sketch in 1959. His first professional job was photographing Laurence Olivier.

 
 

Laurence Olivier, Back Stage, London, 1962

 
 

His reputation grew during the 1960s. In addition to photographing the decade’s show-business elite such as Judy Garland, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, he also photographed members of the British Royal Family and prominent politicians, showing a more natural and human side to these subjects than had usually been portrayed before. O’Neill had a longtime relationship with Faye Dunaway. They were married from 1983 until 1986.

 
 

Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli, 1963

 
 

beatles_abbey_rdTerry O’Neill rose to fame in the 1960’s in London, where he snapped this photo of the Beatles at Abbey Road, during the year they released their three classic albums, Please, Please… Me, Introducing the Beatles and With the Beatles. This image hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London

 
 

The Rolling Stones outside St. George’s Church in Hanover Square, London, 17th January 1964

 
 

“Because I used to be a jazz musician, people at the paper asked me, ‘You know about music, who’s going to be the next pop group?’ I said, ‘I’ve been watching a group called The Rolling Stones. They’re a blues group but they’re good’. I went to photograph them and they [the newspaper editors] were horrified. They thought they looked like five prehistoric monsters. They said, ‘There’s got to be some good-looking ones!’”

 
 

This stunning portrait of Marianne Faithful was taken the year she was discovered at a Rolling Stones record release party by manager Andrew Loog Oldham

 
 

a_hepburn_poolActress Audrey Hepburn, swimming in the South of France during the filming of Two For The Road (Stanley Donen, 1967)

 
 

Frank Sinatra arrives at Miami beach with his entourage (including his stand-in, dressed in an identical suit and less well-dressed beefy minders) while filming Lady In Cement  (Gordon Douglas, 1968)

 
 

American actor Steve McQueen looking thoughtful in his Hollywood office, 1968

 
 

Scottish actor Sean Connery and French actress Brigitte Bardot meet for the first time in Deauville, before the filming of Shalako (Edward Dmytryk, 1968)

 
 

French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot on the set of The Ballad Of Frenchie King (Christian-Jaque, 1971), a comedy western, filmed in Almeria, Spain

 
 

Rod Stewart, Windsor, 1971

 
 

Actor Paul Newman resting his head on an actress Ava Gardner during a break from filming John Huston’s 1972 comedy western The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean

 
 

Director John Huston and Ava Gardner, 1972

 
 

elton_dodger_stadium_batting_stanceelton_john_backbendEnglish pop star and pianist Elton John performs at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, October 1975

 
 

Singer David Bowie sharing a cigarette with actress Elizabeth Taylor in Beverly Hills, 1975. It was the first occasion that the pair had met

 
 

Singer Bruce Springsteen walking down Sunset Strip with his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, 1975

 
 

German actress Marlene Dietrich walking on stage for a curtain call, 1975

 
 

Actress Faye Dunaway resting by the Beverly Hills Hotel swimming pool the morning after she recieved the 1976 Best Actress Academy Award. There are newspapers on the floor and her Oscar is on the table, 29th March 1977

 
 

Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin outside the famous Paris cafe, Aux Deux Magots. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums over a 40 year partnership, 1980

 
 

Anjelica Huston, promotional picture for Witches (Nicholas Roeg, 1990), a fantasy film based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl

 
 

British actor and musician Sting, lead singer and bassist with pop group The Police, 1985

 
 

Amy Winehouse

 
 

“I was working on a present for Nelson Mandela, when he came here for his 90th birthday and there was a concert for him in Hyde Park. Amy was due to sing but she was in hospital. She actually got out of bed to come and perform. I only took two frames but I’m so glad I did because she was a really talented lady.”

 
 

More Terry O’Neill photographs:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.624920007596776.1073741833.597542157001228&type=1&l=e1d463f6c7

Not Quite Single

A Single Man is the twelfth studio album by Elton John, released in 1978. This is the first album where John would collaborate with Gary Osborne, who wrote the lyrics. The photographs for the cover art were taken by Terry O’Neill in the Long Walk, which is part of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire.

 
 

It is the first of Elton John‘s albums to not feature longtime collaborators Bernie Taupin (lyricist) and Gus Dudgeon (producer). As Gary Osborne was an unknown at the time, many people misinterpreted the album’s title to imply that John wrote the entire album himself. The only returning members of his band are percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone; the latter only played on one song on the album. Paul Buckmaster would not appear on another Elton John album until Made in England.

The Brown Dirt Cowboy and Captain Fantastic

 
 

In 1967 Bernard John “BernieTaupin answered an advertisement for talent placed in the New Musical Express by Liberty records A&R man Ray Williams who was searching for new talent. Elton John answered the same advert and although neither Bernie or Elton passed the audition for Liberty Records, Ray Williams recognized their talents and put them in touch with each other. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. The team took some time off from each other for a while between 1977 and 1979, while Taupin worked with other songwriters, including Alice Cooper, and John worked with other lyricists, including Gary Osborne and Tom Robinson. (The 1978 single-only A side Ego was their only collaboration of note during the period, although John/Taupin B-sides such as Lovesick and I Cry at Night were issued with the respective singles Song for Guy and Part-time Love from the album A Single Man.)

In 1971, journalist Penny Valentine wrote that “Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were to become as important as Elton [John] himself, proved to have a mercurial brilliance. Not just in their atmospheric qualities and descriptive powers, but in the way he handled words to form them into straightforward poems that were easy to relate to.

Much of Taupin’s childhood is reflected in his lyrics and poetry. Bernie attended school at Market Rasen Secondary Modern. Unlike his older brother Tony who attended a grammar school (secondary school), Taupin was not a diligent student, although he showed an early flair for writing. At age 15, he left school and started work as a trainee in the print room of the local newspaper The Lincolnshire Standard with aspirations to be a journalist. He soon left and spent the rest of his teenage years hanging out with friends, hitchhiking the country roads to attend youth club dances in the surrounding villages, playing snooker in the Aston Arms Pub in Market Rasen and drinking. He had worked at several part-time, dead-end jobs when, at age 17, he answered the advertisement that eventually led to his collaboration with Elton John.

Taupin’s mother had studied French Literature and his maternal grandfather “Poppy” was a classics teacher and graduate of the University of Cambridge. They taught him an appreciation for nature and for literature and narrative poetry, both of which influenced his early lyrics. Taupin’s upbringing also influenced his lyrics – in songs such as Lady, What’s Tomorrow?, Your Song and Country Comfort. Taupin’s unique blend of influences gave his early lyrics a nostalgic romanticism that fit perfectly with the hippie sensibilities of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Taupin’s most important influence was his interest in America’s Old West, imbuing Tumbleweed Connection and recent songs such as This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore. When Taupin and Elton decided to write an autobiographical album in 1975, Taupin dubbed himself The Brown Dirt Cowboy, in contrast to” Elton’s Captain Fantastic.

John and Taupin resumed writing together on (at first) an occasional basis in 1980, with Taupin contributing lyrics to only three or four songs each on albums such as The Fox, 21 at 33 and Jump Up! However, by 1983’s Too Low for Zero, the two renewed their partnership on a full-time basis and from that point forward Taupin was again John’s primary lyricist. (John often works with other lyricists on specific theatrical or film projects such as 1994’s The Lion King, which featured lyrics by Tim Rice.)

The One (Who Had Broken Down the Barriers)

 
 

The One music video was directed by Australian film director Russell Mulcahy (Melbourne, 23 June 1953).  Mulcahy’s work is recognizable by the use of fast cuts, tracking shots and use of glowing lights as well as being one of the most prominent music video directors of the 1980s. He has also worked in television since the early 1990s, and is currently working as a director on episodes of MTV’s Teen Wolf. In 1986, Mulcahy became well known after directing the cult classic film Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and featuring music from Queen. Mulcahy is gay and lives with his partner in Sydney.

 
 

 
 

Russell Mulcahy’s career began as a film editor for Australia’s Seven Network. After relocating to the UK around 1976, Mulcahy made successful music videos for several noted British pop acts—his early UK credits included XTC’s Making Plans for Nigel (1979), The Vapors’ hit Turning Japanese and his landmark video for The BugglesVideo Killed the Radio Star (1979) which became the first music video played on MTV in 1981.

By the mid-1980s Mulcahy was directing videos for some of the most successful pop-rock acts of the period including The Human League, The Tubes, Elton John, Ultravox, most of the major hits of Duran Duran (Rio, Hungry Like a Wolf), Spandau Ballet (True), Kim Carnes (BetteDavis Eyes, Voyeur), Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of the Heart), Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, The Motels, Supertramp and The Rolling Stones (One Hit (To the Body), Going to a Go Go).

Breaking Down the Barriers was the first video he directed for Elton John. Later came I’m Still Standing, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Sad Songs (Say So Much, Simply Life, etc. 

The set production and costumes for The One music video were designed by Gianni Versace.

The Good Fortune of Frienship

 
 

January 1989: Gianni Versace shows first couture collection in Paris. The Good Fortune of Friendship, a film by Sergio Salerni about Versace’s relationship with the choreographer Maurice Béjart, debuts. The Versus line bows. Dresses for Thought, an exhibit of Gianni’s designs, opens in Milan.

On October 21, 1990, the San Francisco opera season opened with Richard StraussCapriccio, with costumes designed by Versace. The following year the fragrance “Versus” was debuted and “Signature,” Versace’s classic line, was launched. Elton John, an ardent admirer of Versace, began his world tour for which Versace designed the costumes. In New York, for the Italian Trade Commission, Versace inaugurated the charity Gala “Rock’N Rule,” with profits given to the Amfar anti-AIDS Association. A retrospective show at the Fashion Institute of Technology featured Versace’s work.

Around 1989, Elton was deeply affected by the plight of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager with AIDS. Along with Michael Jackson, John befriended and supported the boy and his family until White’s death in 1990. Confronted by his then-lover, John checked into a Chicago hospital in 1990 to combat his drug abuse, alcoholism, and bulimia. In recovery, he lost weight and underwent hair replacement, and subsequently took up residence in Atlanta, Georgia.The One was John’s first album project since his rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addictions and bulimia in 1990.

In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, intending to direct 90 percent of the funds it raised to direct care, 10 percent to AIDS prevention education. He also announced his intention to donate all future royalties from sales of his singles (beginning with The One) in the U.S. and U.K. to AIDS research. That year, he released the Number Eight album The One, his highest-charting release since 1976’s Blue Moves. Also in 1992, Gianni designed costumes and album cover for Elton John’s world tour.

 
 

The One (1992), the 23rd studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John. It was dedicated to Vance Buck, and its cover artwork was designed by Gianni Versace. Photography by Patrick Demarchelier

 
 

Julian Schnabel’s Plate painting portraying Elton John. Front cover of The Big Picture

 
 

The Big Picture is the 26th studio album by Elton John, released in 1997. It was dedicated to John’s friend, popular fashion designer Gianni Versace, who was murdered a few months before the album’s release. This was the last album to date to be produced by Chris Thomas, who had worked with John almost nonstop since 1981’s The Fox. This is the only album in which neither Davey Johnstone nor bassist Bob Birch provide backing vocals. Drummer Charlie Morgan was let go from the band shortly after the album’s release and soon replaced by Curt Bisquera and John’s old drummer Nigel Olsson, who remains in the lineup to this day.

 
 

 
 

The video for the song (which is dedicated to the memory of Gianni and Diana, Princess of Wales, who also died that year) featured actors and actresses from the UK television programme This Life, as well as supermodels Kate Moss and Sophie Dahl. It’s regarded as one of Elton John’s best videos. John has publicly revealed (through his “warts and all” documentary Tantrums and Tiaras) that he finds videos “fucking loathsome” and after the album The Big Picture refrained from appearing in his own videos unless they were cameo appearances. It was directed by Tim Royes.

The Whole Picture

“This Album is dedicated to Matthew Shepard and Oliver Johnstone.

You will be never forgotten”

Elton John

 
 

Cover art photographed by Sam Taylor-Wood

 
 

The booklet contains a photograph taken with a wide-angle lens allowing more of the scene that’s happening inside a western cafe. The whole picture alludes to the song lyrics of this album. And the outfit Elton John is wearing (a sequined black jacket by Atelier Versace) might be a reference whether to The Emperor’s New Clothes, Black Diamond or Look Ma, No Hands. While the doves refers to the sixth track,  Birds:

 
 

 
 

“How come birds

Always look for a quiet place to hide

These words

Can’t explain what I feel inside?

Like birds I need a quiet place to hide…”

 
 

 
 

“Gonna miss the sunlight

When I lose my eyesight

Give me my red shoes

I want to dance…”

(Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes)

 
 

“I can’t eat, can’t sleep…”

(Original Sin)

 
 

 
 

“It’s a case of paradise lost

Ten years back on the hands of the clock…”
 

“….Sometimes the magic of the past is all we’ve got…”

(Mansfield)

 
 

 
 

“You may not believe it

But I don’t believe in miracles anymore

When I think about it

I don’t believe I ever did for sure…”

(This Train don’t Stop There Anymore)

 
 

 
 

“Western skies don’t make it right

Home of the brave don’t make no sense…”
 

“…Three lives drift on different winds

Two lives ruined one life spent…”

(American Triangle)

 
 

“Some days I think it’s all a dream

The things I’ve done, the places that I’ve been

This life of mine seemed surreal at times

Wasted days and nights in someone else’s mind…”

(The Wasteland)

From Room to Room

 
 

The video features actor Robert Downey Jr. lip-synching the song in one long shot as he walks from room to room of a large empty house (Greystone Mansion, a estate designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann, which is popular as a filming location due to its beauty, manicured grounds and Beverly Hills location). Director Sam Taylor-Wood came up with the idea and Elton felt Downey was a perfect choice. At the time, Downey was in drug rehab and the lyrics were pertinent to what he was going through. It seems a reminiscence of Lisa Loeb‘s Stay music video.

 
 

 
 

In 1990 Loeb formed a full band called Nine Stories. The band, which was named after the book by J.D. Salinger, included Tim Bright on guitar, Jonathan Feinberg on drums, and Joe Quigley on bass. Loeb began working with producer Juan Patiño to make the cassette Purple Tape in 1992.

Her big break came through her friendship with actor Ethan Hawke, who lived in an apartment across the street from her in New York City. They met through mutual friends in the NYC theater community. Loeb gave Hawke the Juan Patiño-produced version of Stay (I Missed You), who in turn gave it to director Ben Stiller during the making of the 1994 film Reality Bites, with Stacy Sher. Stiller subsequently decided to use the song in the film’s ending credits, and it was included by Ron Fair on the soundtrack on RCA records. Hawke also directed a rare one-take video on film, a continuous Steadicam shot operated by Robin Buerki.

 
 

A Reversal of Gender Roles

Annie Leibovitz’s original 1980 photo

 
 

26 October 1993

 
 

26 October 1993 is the title of an artwork created in 1993 as a collaboration between English artists Henry Bond and Sam Taylor-Wood both of whom were involved in the Young British Artists or YBA scene of contemporary art. It consists of a pastiche or remaking of a well-known photographic portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono that was made by Annie Leibovitz a few hours before Lennon’s murder.

In his 2001 book High Art Lite, art historian Julian Stallabrass states that the Bond/Taylor-Wood version offers a “reversal of gender roles” (however, the original also has Lennon and Ono in the same position). Stallabrass also states that:

The work refers to naïve 1960s idealism, though not entirely mockingly, rather asking the viewer to contrast the situation in the 1990s with the 1960s … for such artists, it is clear we are living in a time of the twilight of ideals.

Commenting on the photo-work in 2010, Taylor-Wood said:

The bizarre thing is that I’d completely forgotten about that piece until it was brought up in an interview … I don’t remember what drove us to make it. Must have been high concept in there somewhere, but God knows what it was. I guess there’s a running interest in male vulnerability in my work, so maybe it’s just that.

The authorship of this artwork has been contested with both artists, at different times, assuming control of the image and asserting origination/intellectual property; indeed, it has been suggested that the photographer that the pair hired to shoot the photograph also later claimed authorship of it.

Sam Taylor-Wood befriended Yoko Ono in 2009, during the making of Nowhere Boy, her acclaimed film about John Lennon’s early years. They are survivors. Somehow, Yoko has lived through Lennon’s assassination (on 8 December 1980). Sam has coped with cancer (colonic and breast). Each woman has experienced painful separation. Forty-five-year-old Sam’s father then mother left her when she was a child. Yoko’s daughter Kyoko was abducted by her second husband, American art promoter Tony Cox, when she was eight and Yoko did not see her again until Kyoko was 31. Yoko also had to weather the disapproval of conservative, aristocratic parents when she first got together with Lennon. They put out a press release saying: “We are not proud of Yoko Ono.” On a more trivial level, there is the older woman tag they have had to live with – Yoko was seven years older than John; Sam Taylor-Wood is more than twice the age of 22-year-old Aaron Johnson, who played John Lennon in her film and is father to two of Sam’s four daughters. There is going to be so much to talk about.