On the album "Let's Dance"

In the early 80's Bowie embarked on what was for many his most startling switch of tact. A massively successful attack on main stream pop.

Someday in 1983...

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Mr. David Bowie.

There is applause as David Bowie enters the room and goes to a microphone filled table. "Can I sit here then?" He asks. When the reply is yes he tries to sit down at the chair at the table but it is far too short for the microphones. "No, I can't." He looks at the table for a moment. "I'll sit here then." And sits on the table. There is a scattering of laughter. "Um...About two days ago EMI Records phoned me up in Australia and said would I like to take a 25 hour flight back and sit in a room with about 75 journalists."

Back to the modern day interview

Bowie: Up until 83 I'd been considered what I guess people would think of as a major cult artist. I had my own very tight, loyal following, and it had been at one continual level for quite a few years...since the early 70's. And I was happy enough in that particular area. The album I did--"Let's Dance" had this single on it--"Let's Dance"--which just did phenomenal business. And put me in an entirely different orbit. And I was suddenly working with an audience that consisted, not only of my older fans, but people who I kind of quickly realized over those couple of years 83--84, probably had more Phil Collins albums in their collection than say "Velvet Underground".
At a commercial level I sold, for instance, an awful lot of albums with work that I now feel was probably very inferior. I drew more people to concerts than I'd ever drawn before. So at that level it was considered a commercial success. Right through to the point where I really wanted to just stop writing and singing and recording. It was still incredibley popular, but artistically and aesthetically it was probably my lowest point.
For me what the problem was...I really liked the money I was making from the touring. And it seemed obvious that the way to make money was give people what they want. So I started giving people what they wanted. And the downside of that is that I think it dryed me up as an artist completely. Because I wasn't used to doing that. What I'm used to doing is being very stubborn, obscure, confrontational in my own indulgent way, and enjoying every second of it, and all that had suddenly disappeared.


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