Tag: David Bowie

David Bowie heads Mercury shortlist with his final album, Blackstar

The singer, who died in January, appears on a list that also recognises the resurgence of UK grime by including Skepta and Kano

David Bowie heads Mercury shortlist with his final album, Blackstar
David Bowie … Recognised for his ‘parting gift’

David Bowie has been honoured with a posthumous place on the Hyundai Mercury prize shortlist for his final album, Blackstar, which was described as a “parting gift” for fans.

The nomination, Bowie’s third – after Heathen in 2002 and The Next Day in 2013 – comes almost seven months after the singer’s death from cancer. He had released Blackstar to the surprise of fans worldwide just two days earlier, to coincide with his 69th birthday.

Blackstar received wide critical acclaim on its release and was described by the Guardian as “ambiguous and spellbinding … a rich, deep and strange album that feels like Bowie moving restlessly forward”. Initially, the album’s mysterious lyrics confounded critics but after news of Bowie’s cancer diagnosis 18 months earlier emerged, songs such as Lazarus – which saw Bowie sing “Look up here / I’m in heaven” – were widely interpreted as the singer saying goodbye.

This year’s shortlist sees the return of several Mercury favourites, as well as first-time nominations for artists such as the 1975, Skepta, Kano and Jamie Woon. Radiohead have picked up their fifth Mercury nomination for A Moon Shaped Pool, making them the most nominated artist in the history of the prize, though they have yet to win.

The inclusion of both Skepta’s Konnichiwa and Kano’s Made in the Manor in the nominations is testimony to the resurgence of grime over the past few years and its move into the mainstream. Dizzee Rascal was the first grime artist to win the Mercury, in 2003 for Boy in da Corner, but the Mercuries have been criticised in recent years for failing to recognise grime artists.

Anohni – formerly known as Antony Hegarty – is also up for a nomination for Hopelessness, her heavily political album, dealing with subjects such as Obama’s drone wars, climate change and Guantanamo Bay. This is her second time among Mercury award nominees, having won the prize back in 2005 before her transition, when she was performing as Antony and the Johnsons.

This is also the third nomination for singer Natasha Khan, known as Bat for Lashes, for her concept album The Bride, which follows the tragic story of a bride on her wedding night whose fiancé then dies in a car crash. Khan, who produced much of the album herself, said The Bride had been “the most emotionally enjoyable and joyful to execute” out of all her albums.

“I feel emotional and overwhelmed and just really flattered to be nominated again,” she said. “This album was a body of work that really took a long time and has been such an event for me that it’s really lovely that it’s been recognised.”

Khan recorded much of the album in upstate New York, down the road from where David Bowie owns a house, and said she had listened to Blackstar while recording The Bride. Speaking about being nominated alongside the singer, Khan said it was “very surreal”.

“I started listening to Bowie songs when I was really small and the fact that his career has spanned for so long that it overlaps with mine is an amazing testament to him and his relevance.” She added: “I absolutely loved that album so I wouldn’t mind at all if I don’t win and he does.”

In a Mercury nominee list noticeably absent of the usual contingent of indie bands, holding up the baton for guitar music is the 1975 for their much lauded, and lengthily titled, second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. The follow up to their platinum-selling debut was described by the Guardian as “a collection of fantastic pop songs full of interesting, smart lyrics, but also peppered with self-conscious lunges for gravitas.”

Ladbrokes have named Bowie as favourite to win this year’s prize. Bookies make him 2/1, with Radiohead and Anohni at 5/1.

“Bowie is bound to be the emotional choice for the award, but after last year’s 25/1 surprise in Benjamin Clementine, we’re not ruling out another shock,” Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said.

The full shortlist

Anohni – Hopelessness

Bat For Lashes – The Bride

David Bowie – Blackstar

Jamie Woon – Making Time

Kano – Made in the Manor

Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room

Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Savages – Adore Life

Skepta – Konnichiwa

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

The Comet Is Coming – Channel the Spirits

David Bowie's son announces arrival of first child

Duncan Jones tweeted that his wife gave birth earlier in July, having previously revealed late singer knew about the pregnancy

David Bowie's son announces arrival of first child
Duncan Jones announced the pregnancy in February, one month after his father’s death. Photograph: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones has announced the birth of his child six months after the musician’s death.

In a tweet Jones said that his wife, photographer Rodene Ronquillo, had given birth to their son Stenton David Jones earlier in July. The child would have been Bowie’s first grandchild.

The tweet featured a cartoon showing three generations of the Jones men. In a later tweet he also paid tribute to his wife whom his described as “warrior woman and every day my hero”.

Their son is named in honour of Bowie’s family – David in tribute to his grandfather and Stenton after David Bowie’s own father, Haywood Stenton Jones.

The couple announced the pregnancy in February, one month after Bowie died of cancer, with a drawing of the foetus and the words “I’m waiting” in the speech balloon. The tweet also revealed that the late musician knew about the child before his death in January. “One month since dad died today. Made this card for him at Christmas. Due in June. Circle of life. Love you, granddad,” he captioned the photo.

Film director Jones, 45, is Bowie’s eldest child, and the only child from his marriage to his first wife, Angie. Jones directed the Warcraft film released in May as well as the sci-fi thriller Source Code and the Bafta-winning Moon.

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Unreleased David Bowie album to come out in new box set

The Gouster, which evolved into Young Americans, will be form part of the box set Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976)

Unreleased David Bowie album to come out in new box set
Young, not American … David Bowie in 1974. Photograph: Terry O’Neill/Getty Images

A previously unreleased David Bowie album is set to be released. The Gouster, recorded in 1974, was Bowie’s experiment in soul and funk, which later morphed into Young Americans, released in 1975. It will appear later this year in a box set, Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976).

The release was announced via Bowie’s official Facebook page, which also printed an excerpt from the sleeve notes, written by Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti.

Visconti wrote:

Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African American teens in the 60s, in Chicago. But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut, we were enamoured of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude.

David had a long infatuation with soul, as did I. We were fans of the TV show Soul Train. We weren’t ‘young, gifted and black’ but we sure as hell wanted to make a killer soul album, which was quite insane, but pioneers like the Righteous Brothers were there before us.

So The Gouster began with the outrageous, brand new, funkified version of David’s classic John, I’m Only Dancing, a single he wrote and recorded in 1972, only this time our version sounded like it was played live in a loft party in Harlem and he added (Again) to the title. It wasn’t the two-and-a-half-minute length of the original either.

We maxed out at virtually seven minutes! With the time limitations of vinyl (there was a big volume drop with more than 18 minutes a side), we could only fit two other long songs on side one, Somebody Up There Likes Me and It’s Gonna Be Me, both about six and a half minute songs. We had hit the 20-minute mark. Technically that worked because It’s Gonna Be Me had lots of quiet sections where the record groove could be safely made narrower and that would preserve the apparent loudness of side one.

Side two also hit the 20-minute mark, with Can You Hear Me saving the day with its quiet passages. Forty minutes of glorious funk, that’s what it was and that’s how I thought it would be.


Unreleased David Bowie album to come out in new box set
The sleeve for The Gouster. Photograph: David Bowie/Facebook

The Gouster was recorded in Philadelphia in August 1974, and Visconti was ready to take the tapes back to London to mix, when Bowie met John Lennon in December 1974. Back home, Visconti forged ahead with the mix until he received a phone call.

He later recalled: “A week or so later I was in London mixing the album and I got a call from David. ‘Er, Tony. I don’t know how to tell you this but John and I wrote a song together and we recorded and mixed it. It’s called Fame … David apologised for not including me. There wasn’t time left to send for me, because of the release date constraints. For me, it would’ve been the most wonderful experience of my recording career. Oh well.”

The full tracklisting for the new album is:

Side 1

  1. John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)
  2. Somebody Up There Likes Me
  3. It’s Gonna Be Me

Side 2

  1. Who Can I Be Now?
  2. Can You Hear Me
  3. Young Americans
  4. Right
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Categories: Show Biz


David Bowie's private art collection to be unveiled for the first time

Works the late singer quietly collected over the years to go on display before being auctioned at Sotheby’s


David Bowie's private art collection to be unveiled for the first time
David Bowie was an avid art collector. Photograph: Sotheby’s

The spectacular art collection quietly assembled by David Bowie – including works by Damien Hirst and Henry Moore – is to go on display for the first time before being auctioned.

The whole collection, including more than 100 pieces of furniture reflecting his interest in all aspects of design, is expected to raise more than £10m at the sale in November, but given the obsessive devotion of many Bowie fans, could well go higher.

The singer, who died in January, studied art and design at technical college and once confessed to buying art “obsessively and addictively”, but the scale of the addiction had not been realised. His family say they are selling because they have not got the space to keep the collection.

Bowie bought the works quietly and privately, often through direct contact with the artists – including seven large monochrome paintings he bought from John Virtue, who was surprised to get a phone call asking if Bowie could come for a look at his studio – for pleasure and not for investment.

Oliver Barker, the chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, called Bowie a creator as great as any of the names in his collection. “Eclectic, unscripted, understated: David Bowie’s collection offers a unique insight into the personal world of one of the 20th century’s greatest creative spirits.”

The collection is particularly rich in 20th-century British art, including two brilliantly coloured “spin” paintings by Hirst, and works by Frank Auerbach, Stanley Spencer, Patrick Caulfield, Peter Lanyon, and Graham Sutherland. He once said of Auerbach’s densely worked, almost sculptural paintings: “My God, yeah. I want to sound like that looks.” He lent – anonymously – a key work, a portrait of Auerbach’s cousin Gerda, to the major retrospective on the artist in 2001.

David Bowie's private art collection to be unveiled for the first time
Peter Lanyon, Witness (1961). Photograph: Sotheby’s

The collection will be seen by the public for the first time when it is exhibited for 10 days by Sotheby’s, after highlights are sent on tour to Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong, before the three-day sale in November.

Bowie’s interest in art went well beyond collecting the fashionable artists of his day. He painted and was fascinated by art and design throughout his career, taking a close interest in the visual presentation of his work, from his stage costumes and album covers to videos, including those made for his last singles and album months before his death.

He was invited to join the editorial board of the journal Modern Painters in 1998, and turned interviewer for them, recording meetings with artists including Jeff Koons, Hirst and Tracey Emin. He met Andy Warhol many times and played the artist in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic of Basquiat.

Bowie was also part of a famous art-world hoax, the celebration of the fabulous talent and tragic fate of the artist Nat Tate. He hosted a spectacular party at Koons’s Manhattan studio for the launch of a book on Tate – where many of the guests were too embarrassed to admit they had never heard of the artist, which was not surprising since he was a wholly fictional character, invented by Bowie’s friend the novelist William Boyd.

David Bowie's private art collection to be unveiled for the first time
Harold Gilman, Interior (Mrs Mounter). Photograph: Sotheby’s

The collection includes paintings from the St Ives school, and by early and mid-20th-century British artists, including the quiet, sad suburban paintings of Harold Gilman, as well as Leon Kossoff and David Bomberg, artists whose work was out of fashion when Bowie was buying.

Simon Hucker, the senior specialist in modern & postwar British art at Sotheby’s, said Bowie bought the work of artists with whom he felt a personal connection, and which moved and inspired him: “This is what led him to British art of the early and mid-20th century in particular, which, of course, also led him home.”

The three-day sale will feature paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculpture, including contemporary African pieces and Outsider art – works by those from outside the conventional arts world such as the “Gugging Group”, patients at the Gugging psychiatric clinic in Vienna which became renowned for the creativity of many treated there, and its therapeutic work with art.

David Bowie's private art collection to be unveiled for the first time
Air Power by Basquiat. Photograph: Sotheby’s

It will also include Air Power, a major graffiti painting by the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, which alone is estimated by Sotheby’s to be worth up to £3.5m.

The furniture includes pieces by the influential design collective Memphis Milano.

A spokesman for Bowie’s estate said: “David’s art collection was fuelled by personal interest and compiled out of passion. He always sought and encouraged loans from the collection and enjoyed sharing the works in his custody.

“Though his family are keeping certain pieces of particular personal significance, it is now time to give others the opportunity to appreciate – and acquire – the art and objects he so admired.”


Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B

Museum planned to celebrate the Eelpiland dance club, the 1960s venue in the middle of the Thames

Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B
The Rolling Stones at Eel Pie Island. Photograph: Mike Peters

Back when rock music was deemed antisocial, and even traditional jazz bands were frowned upon, it cost just fourpence to gain entry to a place where the young were free to dance, drink and kiss. The Rolling Stones, a teenage David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, the Who and Pink Floyd all first found regular audiences in this hidden haven.

The venue was Eel Pie Island: a tiny enclave in the middle of the river Thames at Twickenham, which is now claiming its place in Britain’s cultural history. A museum dedicated to the island’s past glory as the centre of a British R&B boom is set to have a permanent home. Curator Michele Whitby has been promised £8,000 from the London mayor’s office and now has until next month to raise another £4,000 on a crowdfunding site to see her scheme come to life.

“I want to run a museum just a stone’s throw from the island itself, in Twickenham’s main street,” she said. “People describe Eel Pie Island as like nowhere else and so seven years ago I wrote a book about it. Now I have a fantastic wealth of material to share.”

Whitby, 49, now lives on a boat moored to the island, but first arrived on its shores aged 21, when she rented space for a photographic studio. “The Stones had 15 dates here early in their career and were paid around £45 for a gig; good money then, although you could not get tickets to see them for that now,” said Whitby. “I made a montage of photographs of the band from 1963 and sent it to them. It came back signed by them all ‘to Eel Pie Island’.”

Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B
The Jazz Club at Eel Pie Island in January 1967. Photograph: ANL/Rex/Shutterstock

Once known as Twickenham Ait, the island takes its current name from the snacks once sold to passing traders from its banks. It was a leisure destination as early as the beginning of the 17th century and a map of 1635 marks a plot of land with “hath bin A Boulding Alley”.

Henry VIII is said to have used it for discreet courting. With the construction of the grand, three-storey Eel Pie Island hotel in 1830 it became a popular holiday destination for the rest of London.

But its modern influence dates from the launch of the Eelpiland dance club in 1956. When an arched footbridge to the mainland was built a year later, clubbers paid fourpence admission and were wrist-stamped as they queued to join dancers in the ballroom adjoining the neglected hotel. They were given a passport instead of a ticket, underlining the notion that different social rules prevailed.

Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B
A beatnik jazz party on Eel Pie Island in August 1960. Photograph: Peter Hall/Getty Images

The passport read: “We request and require, in the name of His Excellency Prince Pan, all those whom it may concern to give the bearer of this passport any assistance he/she may require in his/her lawful business of jiving and generally cutting a rug. Given under our hand this first day of November 1963 PAN Prince of Trads.”

For Whitby, and for older fans who saw the Stones or Eric Clapton play, Eelpiland is the birthplace of a youth movement, comparable to the Cavern Club in Liverpool, the Wigan Casino, the pubs of Canvey Island or the Hacienda in Manchester. “Fans used to have to get there by ferry before they built the bridge and even then there was very little residential accommodation here,” said Whitby. “It was all boatyards. They thought the police would find it more difficult to come over and so they were free to make more noise.”

Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B
The stage at Eel Pie Island. Photograph: Mike Peters

Last year Whitby put together artefacts and memorabilia for a pop-up museum, housed in two rooms in Twickenham library. It also told the story of the remarkable Arthur Chisnall, the antiques dealer and philanthropist who set up the club. He started by booking trad jazz stars, such as Acker Bilk and George Melly, at the weekends, but the bar and large, sprung dance floor also made it suitable for rock’n’roll gigs. Chisnall, a pipe-smoking guru in tweed, booked visiting American blues stars such as Buddy Guy and Howlin’ Wolf.

“Arthur really was the centre of it,” said Whitby. “He was not a massive music fan, but was fascinated by young people and their problems in a genuine way. A lot of people have told me that he changed their lives for the better.”

The pop-up museum contained a recreation of Arthur’s living room in nearby Strawberry Hill, with his original desk. In June 1961, on the club’s fifth birthday, he was interviewed by the News of the World. “This place started as a jazz club. Now it is one of the biggest political discussion centres in this part of greater London. There are 8,386 members. The bands only play at weekends. During the week the members jam the bar … while discussing all sorts of serious topics. We are not tied down to any one line of political thought,” he said.

Island that rocked to Bowie and the Stones stakes claim as true home of British R&B
Watching the Stones at Eel Pie Island. Photograph: Mike Peters

By the end of Chisnall’s reign the club had also welcomed the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Tridents with Jeff Beck, and Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men, featuring Rod Stewart. In his 1998 autobiography, All the Rage, Ian McLagan, keyboard-player with the Small Faces and the Faces, recalled supporting the Stones at Eelpiland and first meeting Rod “The Mod” Stewart, dressed up and “on the pull”. “It was one of the best places to hear blues bands at the weekends,” McLagan wrote.

Chisnall lived on until 2006, but lack of funds closed down his club in the late 1960s. Threatened with demolition, it briefly reopened as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden, when Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd performed. But eventually squatters and anarchists took over and the hotel was home to 100 hippies.

“One particularly cold winter, squatters started cannibalising the building for firewood and in 1970 it was pretty much destroyed by fire,” said Whitby. The coveted homes of the 1970s residential block Aquarius now stand on the site, surrounded by a small community of artists living and working in former boathouses. The maverick inventor of the wind-up radio, Trevor Bayliss, is a proud local and would surely approve of Chisnall’s vision for the island: “You must realise that what goes on here is the expression of the latent desire among the young to get away from mass media and regimentation,” he said during Eelpiland’s heyday.

Glastonbury tributes to Bowie, Prince and Lemmy revealed

A 50-piece orchestral performance, a DJ set and giant sculptures in honour of each of them among the plans

Glastonbury tributes to Bowie, Prince and Lemmy revealed
The Glastonbury crowd is reflected in Lemmy’s sunglasses as he plays the festival six months before his death. Photograph: Samir Hussein/Redferns/Getty

Full details of Glastonbury’s plans to commemorate David Bowie, Prince and Lemmy have been revealed, including sculptures in honour of each of them, a 50-piece orchestral performance and a DJ set.

The festival’s co-organiser, Emily Eavis, had previously hinted that the event would honour the three stars, who died in the last six months, giving the 177,000 crowd a chance to both mourn and celebrate.

Eavis has commissioned the counter-culture sculptor Joe Rush, who has created artworks for the Glastonbury site for years, to build a giant Ziggy Stardust lightening bolt across the top of the Pyramid stage, where bands including Coldplay and Adele will perform. It will be flanked by a giant set of silver wings and emblazoned, in the middle, with an open grey eye.

“It felt important to capture Bowie’s very particular eye, which was such a part of his look”, said Rush. “But I also really liked the idea of Bowie looking out and watching over the whole festival. And if we are going to have an eye in the pyramid, it should be Bowie’s eye.”

To commemorate Motörhead’s frontman Lemmy, who finally performed at Glastonbury last year before his death in December, Rush has built a vast structure for the Other stage. The sculpture will be a peace sign formed of spanners, adorned with an aluminium ace of spades, a v-twin engine and a vast set of shiny black ram’s horns.

In a fitting nod to Prince’s flamboyance, Rush has built a statue almost four metres tall for the Park area of the festival. It will take the form of a giant glittery hand carrying a purple crown with a white dove flying from the top.

He said: “People do need to have these places to come to, especially for an artist who has really affected or shaped their life, and pay tribute. Particularly at Glastonbury, where you have so many music fans gathered in one place, it feels important to give these artists the recognition of the fact that they are our heroes.”

There will also be musical tributes to Bowie and Prince over the weekend, the most ambitious of which will take place at midnight on Saturday, when a 50-piece orchestra dressed entirely in white will perform Philip Glass’s fourth symphony, which is based on Bowie’s album Heroes.

It is the first time a classical act has headlined a stage and the performance will be accompanied by a laser light show created by Chris Levine.

Charles Hazelwood, who will conduct the orchestra, said he had wanted to create a tribute to Bowie that was not mawkish but instead in the “spirit of the man himself”, while not simply putting on a tribute band playing old Bowie covers.

“Bowie was a massive fan of Glass’s and said on many occasions that he was one of his most important influences, so this seemed perfect,” he said. “If you look back to that amazing set that Bowie did in 2000, the standalone moment was when he sang Heroes. So there’s something so beautifully pertinent about bringing back not just the song, but the album re-imagined through Glass.”

He said Glass was very excited about the performance. “This is after all the other stages have fallen silent, so there will be a sense of a vigil, of a happening of a pilgrimage, of people flocking here to just absorb this moment, and I think it will be a really magical midnight experience,” Hazelgrove said.

The Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor, will pay tribute to Prince by playing a DJ set dedicated to the singer at the Block 9 stage on Friday night.

“I like the idea of it being somewhere that amongst everything that goes on at Glastonbury, this can be a moment where people come together to celebrate that legacy of music,” Taylor said.

“I found it quite hard initially when he died to listen to Prince because when you feel sad in that way, you expect to listen to sad sorrowful music, but there isn’t so much of that in Prince. But I think this set is a decent enough time after the event to be in a more party frame of mind.”

Taylor, a lifelong Prince fan, said his set would include some of his biggest tracks, such as Controversy, Raspberry Beret, Sign of the Times and Little Red Corvette, as well as obscurities such as an early demo of Irresistible Bitch and a track called Cloreen Bacon Skin.

“With Prince’s catalogue being so full of life and spark and energy, it feel like a nice way to celebrate him. It’s very joyous music, very passionate music,” he said.

Tony Visconti apologises to Adele after suggesting her voice is manipulated

Bowie’s longtime producer says his comments about the singer’s voice were ‘taken the wrong way’

Tony Visconti apologises to Adele after suggesting her voice is manipulated
Offended … Adele. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s longtime producer, has apologised for negative comments he made about Adele’s voice.

Last week, the producer suggested that the singer’s vocals might have been digitally enhanced.

“You turn the radio on and it’s fluff, you are listening to 90% computerised voices,” Visconti told The Daily Star on 8 June. “We know Adele has a great voice but it’s even questionable if that is actually her voice or how much has been manipulated. We don’t know.”

Visconti – who is currently promoting the new TV talent show Guitar Star, in which he hopes to find “virtuosos like Hendrix, Cobain and Bowie” – has since told Billboard that his comments were not meant to be spiteful.

“I’m sorry that what I said in regards to what’s being played on radio was misconstrued yet I cannot apologise for something taken the wrong way,” he said. “If Adele has taken my comments as offensive that was certainly not my intent.”

He added: “Adele has a great voice and it brings pleasure to millions.”

Since his original comment, the story had already reached Adele herself. During a gig at Paris’s Accor Hotels Arena, the singer is captured stating: “Some dickhead tried to say that my voice was not me on record … Dude, suck my dick.”

Glastonbury plans final encore for David Bowie, Prince and Lemmy

Organisers of this year’s festival say hundreds of tributes to the three stars will be staged throughout the event

Glastonbury plans final encore for David Bowie, Prince and Lemmy
David Bowie headlining Glastonbury Festival in 2000. Photograph: Dan Chung for the Guardian

Hundreds of tributes celebrating the music of David Bowie, Prince and Motörhead’s Lemmy will be staged during this month’s Glastonbury festival as the Somerset event morphs into a rolling commemoration of three rock stars who passed away since Christmas.

Organisers have revealed that they are finalising “participatory aspects” for the 177,000 sellout crowd to honour Bowie, who first played at an embryonic Glastonbury in 1971 as a relatively unknown performer and went on to become one of Britain’s most feted musicians before his death in January, aged 69.

Glastonbury plans final encore for David Bowie, Prince and Lemmy
Prince performs onstage during the NCLR ALMA Awards on 2007 Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty

It is thought that festivalgoers will be encouraged to perform a “flash mob” set to the Bowie classic Starman, following similar events staged to the music of Dolly Parton in 2014 and Lionel Richie last year. One confirmed tribute is a set by the electronic pop four-piece Hot Chip in honour of Prince, the innovative American songwriter who came close to playing at the Somerset festival on several occasions and whose death in April was last week officially attributed to an opioid overdose.

Lemmy, whose band performed at last summer’s festival and who died in December, aged 70, will be honoured in a set involving a giant sculpture, although full details are yet to be divulged.

Last week Glastonbury announced 3,062 acts for this year’s festival, on at least 75 stages, with sources conceding that such has been the outpouring of emotion towards the three musicians that hundreds of tributes will unfold over the festival, including a generous number certain to incorporate Bowie and Prince cover versions in their sets.

“Some of the stuff we don’t even know about because there’s so much happening, particularly Bowie, because he was such a key character,” said a festival spokesman. “He wasn’t that well known when he first came down to play, and he actually stayed in the farmhouse.”

Among an increasingly long list of confirmed tributes to Bowie is the decorating of the Pyramid stage with a giant metal lightning bolt, a homage to the sleeve of his Aladdin Sane album, which will effectively double as a centrepiece for the festival, suspended above headline acts such as Coldplay, Muse and Adele.

On the Saturday night, American composer Philip Glass’s “Heroes” symphony, based on Bowie’s 1977 album, will be performed by conductor Charles Hazelwood, the British Paraorchestra and the Army of Generals, along with a “spectacular laser show” created by artist Chris Levine.

Glastonbury plans final encore for David Bowie, Prince and Lemmy
Lemmy of Motorhead performs at Glastonbury Festival in June 2015 Photograph: Samir Hussein/Redferns

Other Bowie tributes will take the form of several high-profile DJ sets, including one by the English producer Danny Howells.

Despite Glastonbury’s enduring popularity, the festival, which began in 1970 at Worthy Farm, could move to an alternative site. Its founder, Michael Eavis, revealed last week that he is discussing a possible move to Longleat in 2019 during Glastonbury’s “fallow year”.

However, some observers believe the deaths of stars like Bowie could signal the demise of the big British summer music festival.

According to the leading rock promoter and manager Harvey Goldsmith, who has worked with most of the western world’s biggest music stars – from the Who to the Rolling Stones and Madonna – the biggest problem is a lack of new bands to succeed the old ones.

Another sobering development is a warning from counter-terrorism officials who say fans at UK music festivals could be the target of the next major terrorist attack in Britain.


David Bowie: Never-before-seen images

AN ARRAY of previously unseen photographs of the late David Bowie have gone on display in Los Angeles following the music legend’s death from cancer.

The images are being shown at an exhibition from celebrity photographer Markus Klinko, who created the cover for Bowie’s 2002 album Heathen and directed the music video for his 2013 song Valentine’s Day.

Bowie Unseen includes rare pictures of the singer taken during the photo shoot for Heathen in 2001, as well as images of Bowie with wolves, which Klinko created for a 2002 GQ magazine cover.

Klinko explained: “Working with David was one of the best experiences because he knows exactly what he wants. If he gives you the job it’s because he wants your input.

“It’s a collaboration in the best sense of the world because he’s someone who is going to railroad you into a corner where you just have to execute his commands.”