David Bowie: The Ultimate Music Guide

An intro to our upgraded Bowie special, plus news of another mag from the Uncut stable...

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Allan Jones, founding editor of Uncut, tells a great story about his first meeting with David Bowie, the subject of our latest updated Ultimate Music Guide: Deluxe Remastered Edition. It is September 1977, and Jones is in the penthouse suite at the Dorchester Hotel on London’s Park Lane; sat in an anteroom, awaiting his summons.

After a while, Jones is led into the main suite, which appears empty. “I look around and notice the windows to the balcony are open,” he recalls. “Lace curtains are billowing into the room, sunlight streaming through them. Then, surrounded by a glowing halo of light that can only be described as celestial, David Bowie steps into the room from the balcony and stands there. I’m dazzled, rooted to the spot, slack-jawed.”

“Allan,” says Bowie, “so very pleased to meet you at last. Brian’s told me so much about you.” That’s Brian Eno, who Jones has interviewed several times. Now, though, the young journalist has moved into a different world entirely – bowled over, he notes, by “The D-Day of charm offensives”.


Extraordinary charisma. Disconcerting attention to detail. Perfect timing. An endless capacity to surprise. In a single dramatic entrance, David Bowie managed to encapsulate a good few reasons why his journey through the past five decades of popular music has been so fantastical and compelling. From the era-defining dislocation of “Space Oddity”, to the startling return presaged by “Where Are We Now?”, our plush, upgraded Ultimate Music Guide to Bowie (in UK shops on Thursday June 11, but available to buy now at our online store reveals many things – not least that, while Bowie’s career may regularly be read as a sequence of changes, there is an odd consistency that underpins all of those radical, now-mythic reinventions.

Here, then, are a selection of bewitching interviews from the archives of NME and Melody Maker, and in-depth reviews of every single Bowie album right up to “The Next Day”. Stitched together, they tell the complete story of a singular, multi-faceted artist – one whose enduring potency remains undimmed. Soon, Bowie’s Broadway musical will open: The Man Who Fell To Earth has become Lazarus, the man who came back from the dead. In the meantime, this is the story of what happened in between…

While I have you, can I give an early plug to another rather opulent magazine we have in the pipeline? In July, we’re launching a new monthly out of the Uncut stable called The History Of Rock. Like our Ultimate Music Guides, it draws extensively on the riches of the NME and Melody Maker archives. This time, though, we’re aiming to tell a big story – nothing less than the saga of the music that changed our world, unravelling year by year, as it happened.

Each issue we’ll focus on a specific year, and our story begins 50 years ago. The History Of Rock: 1965 finds the Beatles on location, filming Help. Dylan tussling with Donovan. The Kinks, The Who and the Stones causing chaos. The Byrds and The Walker Brothers taking the UK by storm. There’s an extraordinary cast that includes John Coltrane and Dusty Springfield; Bert Jansch and PJ Proby; Marianne Faithfull, The Hollies, Paul Simon and Ken Dodd. Plus, a wealth of generous advice from young Jimmy Page…

The History Of Rock goes on sale in the UK on July 9, the heavy-duty and highly collectable first part of what we believe is going to be a comprehensive new series. While we’re finishing off the first issue, we’ve set up a History Of Rock page to keep you informed. More soon…


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