David Bowie remembered: Streamed shows, unheard songs and TikTok debut

David Bowie had hits with songs like Space Oddity, Let's Dance and Under Pressure


A series of streamed music events, shows and new releases are marking David Bowie’s birthday and the fifth anniversary of his death.

The musician Bowie would have turned 74 on Friday, while Sunday is five years since he died of cancer.

A star-studded tribute concert and his 2015 stage musical Lazarus will both be streamed over the weekend.

Two previously unreleased Bowie tracks have also been released, while his music has now arrived on TikTok.

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The tribute gig, titled A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day, will feature Bowie’s former bandmates alongside stars including Boy George, Duran Duran, Trent Reznor, Adam Lambert, Gary Barlow and actor Gary Oldman.

Starting at 18:00 PT on Friday (02:00 GMT Saturday), the show will be led by Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson and will be available for 24 hours.

Duran Duran released a timely cover of Bowie’s track Five Years ahead of the show. “My life as a teenager was all about David Bowie,” singer Simon Le Bon said.

“He is the reason why I started writing songs. Part of me still can’t believe in his death five years ago, but maybe that’s because there’s a part of me where he’s still alive and always will be.”

On Friday, Bowie’s previously unreleased covers of Bob Dylan’s Tryin’ to Get to Heaven and John Lennon’s Mother were also put out into the world.

BBC Four is hosting a Bowie Night on Friday, while there will be special programmes on BBC Radio 4 and 6 Music. They include Bowie: Dancing Out in Space, which will air simultaneously on the two stations on Sunday.

In it, producer Tony Visconti describes how Bowie and Lennon first met awkwardly in a New York hotel room ahead of their collaborations on the former’s cover of The Beatles’ Across the Universe and his own 1975 song Fame.

“He was terrified of meeting John Lennon,” says Visconti. “About one in the morning I knocked on the door and for about the next two hours, John Lennon and David weren’t speaking to each other.

“Instead, David was sitting on the floor with an art pad and a charcoal and he was sketching things and he was completely ignoring Lennon.

“So, after about two hours of that, he [John] finally said to David, ‘Rip that pad in half and give me a few sheets. I want to draw you.’ So David said, ‘Oh, that’s a good idea’, and he finally opened up. So John started making caricatures of David, and David started doing the same of John and they kept swapping them and then they started laughing and that broke the ice.”

Meanwhile, next weekend will see the release of Stardust, a film biopic about Bowie’s journey to becoming Ziggy Stardust, starring singer and actor Johnny Flynn.

However, Bowie’s family have not given it their blessing, meaning the film-makers were not allowed to use any of his music. Instead Flynn, as Bowie, is seen performing songs by Jacques Brel, The Yardbirds and one of Flynn’s own compositions.

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