Monday, 20 June 2011

David Bowie 'Absolute Beginners'

Chart Peak: 2

Bowie not only had a No. 2 hit in March 1986 with 'Absolute Beginners' but also played the part of Vendice Partners in the film.
It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. OK, I admit I've never actually seen the film of Absolute Beginners, but nobody seems to have a good word for it; not even Paul Weller who was such a big fan of the book he named one of his own songs after it and crops up on the film soundtrack as a member of the Style Council. Nonetheless the title song gig went to Bowie, who makes his last Now! appearance towards the end of his eighties commercial revival. As it turns out he only had one more Top 10 single to come (1993's 'Jump They Say') but this followed his chart-topping charity duet with Mick Jagger - indeed both tracks come from the same session, but this had to be held back to match the film release date.

A big hit then, and given the response to the film presumably on its own merits, but I have to admit I've never been a huge fans of this track. It's full of good ideas and romantic intent but somehow between producers Langer & Winstanley (a few years on from their best work with Madness et al) and the group of session musicians assembled, all the life seems to have been sucked out and it's a ponderous thing; even the 7" edit featured here clocks in at 5:37 and the full-length version will take up more than eight minutes of your time. It's all well done and not as bad as I believe the film is, but far from his best work of even the decade.

Also appearing on: Now 2, 5 (with Pat Metheney Group)
Available on: The Best Of 1980/1987

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