Elvis and David Bowie

David Bowie and Elvis

David Bowie passed away yesterday at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Back in 2009, I read that Bowie and Elvis shared the same birthday – January 8.  So, I Googled both names together to see if there were any other connections.  What came up was a website called The Ziggy Stardust Companion.  They listed a number of things connecting Elvis and David Bowie, and I decided to do an ElvisBlog article commenting on their points.  That article is reprinted below.

 

Elvisblog strives to bring you articles you won’t find on any other Elvis websites or blogs.  Certainly, that is accomplished with this topic discussing a connection between Elvis and David Bowie.  That can’t be possible, you say.  Well, there is one website that thinks there is a case to be made.  According to The Ziggy Stardust Companion, “David Bowie and Elvis Presley have many similarities, and Presley also served as inspiration for some aspects of the Ziggy Stardust phenomenon.”

For those of you who don’t know, Ziggy Stardust was a stage persona David Bowie assumed during concerts in the 70s.  I linked to the Ziggy website from Google Images, where I found this picture:

         

               

This is both sides of a 45RPM record (inside the paper sleeve) that RCA released in Thailand in the mid-70s.  “Space Oddity” was Bowie’s first hit, reaching #15 in the US, and who knows why RCA didn’t just use the original “B” side for its Thailand release.  Instead, they picked “Fool,” which was already an obscure Elvis “B” side on “Steamroller Blues,” his #17 hit in 1973. 

Elvis recorded with RCA from 1956 to 1977, and David Bowie was with RCA from 1973 to 1980.  Besides recording for the same company, here are some of the other similarities between Bowie and Elvis as stated on “The Ziggy Stardust Companion.”

They share the same birthday.  Elvis was born on January 8, 1935, and David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947.  This is an easily verified connection between the two performers.

Elvis and Bowie experimented and got into trouble with their hair styles in high school.  Well, we know Elvis wore his hair differently than his classmates, and if Bowie’s later preference in hair styles is any indication, he was a rebel in high school, too.

         

              

Bowie says that he first discovered the power of music when he saw his cousin get up and dance to Elvis’ “Hound Dog.”  Excuse me, but this hardly seems like a major connection between Elvis and David Bowie.

Bowie had his clothes designer Freddi Burretti copy Elvis’ jumpsuits for Bowie’s own use at Ziggy Stardust concerts.  Well, “copy” would be a stretch.  Perhaps “inspire” might be a better word.  Bill Belew and Gene Doucett never designed anything for Elvis like these Bowie/Ziggy jumpsuits.

                              

Bowie’s manager – Tony DeFries – was a big fan of Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker and would quote from Parker’s book to anyone who would listen.  This is another pretty weak connection between Elvis and Bowie.  If it is true, I wonder if DeFries took a 50% cut of Bowie’s earnings, like the Colonel did with Elvis.

Tony DeFries used the announcement “David Bowie has left the building,” as was done for Elvis Presley concerts.  I have been unable to verify this, so I am skeptical.

The lightning bolt motif Bowie wore for the Aladdin Sane album cover was partly inspired by a ring that Elvis wore – which had a lightning bolt emblem along with the letters TCB.  Of course, Elvis was more famous for his TCB pendants than his ring, but that’s beside the point.  Do you really think Elvis’ lightning bolt inspired this?

         

                 

David Bowie was a big fan of Elvis.  At short notice, he crossed the Atlantic on a plane to attend an Elvis concert in New York in 1972, even though he had a strong fear of flying.  “The Ziggy Stardust Companion” printed this quote that Bowie made in 1996 concerning the Elvis concert he attended.

“[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I’d gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set.”

As he looked out from the stage and saw this freaky-looking character take his seat up front, I’m sure Elvis thought to himself, “Man, I’ve got a lot in common with this guy.”

 

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    

 

Elvis-David Bowie Morphed

Elvis and David Bowie Morphed

One news report on Bowie’s death mentioned that he kept changing his appearance and personna and had several distinct successful careers.  In that reguard, he and Elvis had a direct parallel.  There was Elvis the young brash rocker in the 50s, Elvis the movie star in the 60s, and Elvis the record-breaking concert performer in the 70s.  I wonder why The Ziggy Stardust Companion missed that connection.

 

David Bowie in Costume

David Bowie was a unique entertainer.  He will be missed.  Goodbye David.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc

 

15 responses to “Elvis and David Bowie

  1. Pingback: Elvis Presley and David Bowie Connection – NSF

  2. Hi!
    – i have a unique record ? Lp,Elvis, Something for everyone,Germany (press 1979), With David Bowie Label, (The rise an fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars)
    – Bout records elvis/david had must be on the same time on the factory line? Bowis Lp;s second press is from 1979 to?? What it you think?
    – Worth something someday
    – “Thanks For Listening”
    All the best;Jan

    • Hi Jan: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

      • Thanks,Phil !
        Jan

      • Tammy Donahue-McGing

        Hello:
        I have a 45 of Elvis songs(one song with the Jordanaires). There are 5 songs total. 3 on one side and 2 on the other. I was wondering if it was worth anything.
        Can you give me some information as to where I can see if it’s worth anything?
        Thank you for your time and help.
        Tammy Donahue-McGing

        • Hi Tammy: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

          Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

          Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. Phil – The BookDuffy Bowie 5 Sessions confirms the TCB lighting flash connection. pg 48 After talking about Elvis’s ring Chris – Duffy’s son says of the session when the lighnting bolt was applied “David always had this flash element idea [of elvis’s ring] from the beginning..”

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  7. Phil, wanted you to know that I read a post from Country Rebel. com yesterday, by singer Dwight Yoakum who revealed that David Bowie told him that Elvis called him (Bowie) about 6 months before he died. He told David that he absolutely loved his 1975 song called ‘Golden Years’ and then asked Bowie if he would ‘Produce his next record album’!! Sounds incredible, but I have a hunch it may be true. Bowie had no reason to make it up and Yoakum either for that matter. I have read that the man who designed Elvis jumpsuits was working on a suit with laser lights emanating from it! Sounds very ‘BOWIE’ with the ELVIS ‘BLING” to me! Thought you would enjoy this tid-bit! TCB!

  8. what did the TCB on elvis’ pendant stand for?

    your comment about Tony Defries taking 50% wasnt too far off. he was horribly abusive with Bowie’s money, as Bowie had a major coke problem at the time and tony used this to his advantage. Defries definitely helped himself to a good chunk of bowies money. he was the Tom Parker of that era: the cigar-chomping rip off artist.

    did you know that Bowie’s song “golden years” was actually given to elvis to record, but elvis decided not to?

    • Hi: Interesting tid-bits. TCB stood for Taking Care of Business, kind od Elvis’ motto. He used it on his plane and jewelry.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  9. Great blog in memory of David Bowie. I was so happy to see the quote from Bowie about attending The Madison Square Garden concert….a favorite story of mine; his love for Elvis obvious & direct from Bowie’s mouth. I believe he came directly from the airport to get to the concert in time! Would have loved to have seen his entrance dressed in his iconic ‘Ziggy’ period! RIP David! TYVM! Phil…. Clementine

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