What people said about leejohnson’s jam Panic in Detroit

20 Comments (since 29 Aug 2014)

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

This track from 1973's "Aladdin Sane" album was composed by Bowie while he was "drinking in" the north American cultural shift (a million miles away from the scene back in Britain at the time; quite how much a difference that actually was is easily forgotten in this "always-connected" age we enjoy today) during an elongated visit there in late 1972.

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

Peter Doggett, in his book "The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie and the 1970s" (ISBN 9781847921444), notes the influences which gave birth to this song, and which were also incorporated into the hedonistic mood pervading much of the rest of the LP's content. The leading figure inhabiting the underbelly of the tune was one John Sinclair, jazz poet and political activist, who had repeated run-ins with the US government agencies, judiciary and police forces in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

Jailed for ten years in 1969 (for marijuana possession, not insurrection!), he became a martyr, and, by 1972, had a song named after him by no less than John Lennon. Doggett puts it thus: "... perpetual dissident John Sinclair responded to the defiance of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California, by forming the White Panther Party, whose manifesto demanded 'rock 'n' roll, dope and f***ing in the streets!'.

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

"Police brutality in the city provoked extensive riots amongst the African-American community in 1967, and Sinclair aligned his Panthers with those seeking to banish racism from the streets and end the war in Vietnam ... meanwhile, the rock band that Sinclair had managed, the 'MC5', carried the Panthers' manifesto into thousands of homes via their debut album, 'Kick Out The Jams'." He goes on:

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

"Some of that history was available to Bowie as a gentle reader of the music press; the rest he learned from Iggy Pop when the pair met again in Detroit in October 1972. Not an instinctively political being, Bowie chose to satirise the cult of John Sinclair, by comparing him to rebel martyr Che Guevara, who even by 1972 was being admired more for his rock 'n' roll image (a mustachioed Jim Morrison) than for his example as a guerrilla fighter.

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

"The subsequent 'Panic' told us more about the narrator's sense of irrelevance than about any political realities ... Bowie's recording harked back to the swampy R&B records that came out of Chicago in the fifties, all maracas and tom-toms, creating a tension that pulsed and grew until a single cymbal crash signalled the way out of the chorus/chaos ...

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

"... All the sense of disturbance that Bowie's lyrics couldn't satisfy was provided by the turbulence of the final moments, as Ronson's guitar filled the right-hand speaker with wave after wave of dive-bombing sirens, and female voices wailed demonically." Powerful stuff. But in the end, just one man's perception of what David Bowie intended, after all that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_in_Detroit

4 years, 7 months ago

Bukowski

From one of my Top 5 Bowie albums (probably Top 3).

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

No. 3 it is for me too. 1) Rise and Fall of Ziggy - 2) Hunky Dory - 4) Man Who Sold the World 5) Pin Ups ... narrowly beating Space Oddity the album. Strange. They're all Ziggy era LPs. Of course! ;)

4 years, 7 months ago

ian38018

Ronson, Ronson, Ronson....etc etc.

4 years, 7 months ago

njparry

Excellent jam

4 years, 7 months ago

leejohnson

@ian38018 In the Ziggy era, it is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore Ronno's contribution, whether it be harmony vocals, guitar craftsmanship or string arrangements. Basically, he MADE the Bowie sound at that time.

4 years, 7 months ago

allymac

Wonderful jam

4 years, 7 months ago

BertrandRustles

One of the greatest recordings of all time imo.

4 years, 7 months ago

lindatee

Brilliant

4 years, 7 months ago

roseyrhymes

my absolute favorite bowie song....awesome.

4 years, 7 months ago

AlicejustMay

A riff like a Stuka...

4 years, 7 months ago

ErnieBilko

Awesome riff, great guitar, great song...

4 years, 7 months ago

Cranky

Love the riff, the lyric, the whole bloody thing.

4 years, 7 months ago

totty01843

he is like many an artist you either love or hate him like marmite.........i love him ;-)