Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 35

“Ziggy Stardust”
Swing the Heartache: The BBC Sessions

Track 35 was the final track of the original Bowling Green two-disc mix CD set. And it ended where it began: with Bauhaus. Never more popular, mainstream, or obvious than they were with their cover of Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”, this is where the boys wear their allegiances on their sleeve.

It seems obvious to the point of awkward just how much Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy wishes he were Bowie when you listen to this track. At the time of this version’s release in 1989, Rykodisc was gearing up to churn out well-produced and thoughtful reissues of Bowie’s own catalog on compact disc for the first time. (I devoured those discs as voraciously as anything else. Chock full of rarities and outtakes, Rykodisc did a great job giving the pioneer’s early work its due.) But this BBC session version by the Goth godfathers is as career defining as “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. There is a rawness to this version that belies its faithfulness to the original.

Bauhaus were as much a part of that first year of college for me as Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Love and Rockets, and all the others. And an absolutely appropriate way to close out that original playlist and conclude the first half of this particular exercise. It’s a natural stopping point, and I’m going to take a break from these for a while.

End, Part 1