Sunday, November 19, 2023

David Bowie: Queen Bitch

At the height of his fame, the Radio 1 disc jockey Stuart Henry had 11 million people listening to his Saturday morning show. I was one of them, and it was there - around 1971 - that I first became aware of David Bowie.

Henry, as I remember it, was always talking about the Bowie albums Hunky Dory and - later - Aladdin Sane.

It was also through Henry that I first heard Lou Reed, particularly Walk on the Wild Side and Satellite of Love.

So when choosing Queen Bitch, a song Bowie wrote under the influence of and as a tribute to Reed, it was natural that I should think of Henry.

Henry was dropped by Radio 1 in 1974 amid suggestions that overindulgence in alcohol or cannabis was causing him to slur his speech on air. In fact, he was suffering from multiple sclerosis, a  condition to which he succumbed in 1995 at the age of 53. There was a good obituary by Chris Welch in the Independent.

Reed followed him in 2013 and Bowie in 2016, so we may never know what a bibbity-bobbity hat was.

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