Delving back into the Far Out archives, we’re revisiting the unique combination of two iconic pop culture artists as David Bowie lays down a live tribute to The King, Elvis Presley.
By some sort of bizarre sonic coincidence, the two behemoths of the music industry share a birthday – albeit separated by a few years. However, while this fortuity bounds them in the history books, their connections run far deeper than just their shared day of celebration.
They say everybody remembers where they were when Elvis died. For David Bowie, it was wiping the taste of cow’s blood from his mouth after an afternoon spent with tribesmen in Nairobi. It is David Bowie, after all.
Bowie happened to be bringing his Area 2 Tour to an end with a momentous headline show at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Seattle on the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death. It was at this moment that an opportunity arose.
Given the fact that the tour was ending, Bowie was in particularly high spirits and regularly paused between songs to tell jokes, share stories and engage with the crowd. At one point, recalling the time he found out about the death of Elvis, Bowie said: “Thank you very much. Thank you, thank you very much,” in his best Elvis impression.
He continued: “Well, I was looking through the newspaper this morning and I realised [it’s] 24 years and Elvis is still dead.” Continuing with his anecdote, Bowie added: “You have to believe this, this is absolutely true,” amid spits of laughter. “I was in a Maasai encampment in West Kenya in 1977 on this day and I was drinking milk and blood taken from a cow by one of the tribesmen. I went back to my hotel in the evening—I tried to stay in one of the huts there but they wouldn’t let me—so I went back and the paper said: ‘Elvis Dead’. I still have it, the Nairobi Times. Isn’t that bizarre?’
“So what can an anniversary be without doing something by the man. We just learned this real quick,” he added before he and his band launched into a rendition of ‘I Feel So Bad’ taken from Elvis’ 1961 album Something for Everybody.
Clearly enjoying himself as a modest Elvis impersonator, Bowie’s encore decided to include another hit from The King and the band rolled straight back into another number, ‘One Night’, which first appeared on his iconic album Burbank ’68.
Enjoy both tracks, below.