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bowie and ‘pet’

Breaking news isn’t a phrase you usually associate with pop music.

Releases are scheduled way ahead and tunes are often played to death in advance of their release.

So it was apt that David Bowie, a master of the art of surprise, produced his first single in a decade as if from a magician’s hat.

And the media had to play catch up.

Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme featured a chat with ‘Front Row’ presenter John Wilson, who said he’d got wind of the news the previous afternoon.

A few minutes later, listeners were treated to an already scheduled item about the latest album from Petula ‘Pet’ Clark, ‘Lost In You’ (Sony), due out next month.

What struck me about this unexpected juxtaposition is Bowie, 66, and Clark, a life-affirming 80, are both stars in their very different ways.

Clark’s career began as a child performer during the second world war, and her star was never brighter than in the mid-60s when Bowie was just starting out as David Jones.

I once interviewed Clark for a series of programmes about another great British star – and a man she worked with in Las Vegas and clearly adored –  Anthony Newley.

And then I remembered how Bowie modelled his early vocal style on that of Mr.Newley.

So perhaps the juxtaposition on the ‘Today’ programme wasn’t that surreal.

The video for Bowie’s new single, ahead of a Tony Visconti-produced album in March, is spell-binding.

And wannbe singers would do well to study what Clark does with a song using just her voice and body.

David Bowie – Where Are We Now?

Petula Clark – Lost In You

Petula Clark – Downtown

 

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