British icons don’t come much more symbolic than David Bowie—except for maybe The Rolling Stones. Both represent the very best that this country has to offer musically and, with the Starman arriving on the scene a little after The Stones, he had a chance to witness the group as an audience member.
When Bowie first saw The Stones live when he was a teenager, it would be a life-affirming moment for the budding musician and it wouldn’t be too long before it would spark him into life creatively and see himself become their contemporary.
Once Bowie shot to fame, he became friendly with Mick Jagger and the two would often hang out together in London—causing mischief everywhere that they went. Jagger once told Rolling Stone: “There was always an exchange of information within our friendship. And I suppose there was always an element of competition between us, but it never felt overwhelming.”
Jagger added: “When he’d come over, we’d talk about our work—a new guitarist, a new way of writing, style and photographers. We had a lot in common in wanting to do big things onstage—using interesting designs, narratives, personalities.”
When Bowie appeared on Michael Parkinson’s much-loved talk show in the 2000s, he sat beside Tom Hanks and revealed that his wife Iman had recently bought him one of Little Richard’s stage jackets for their anniversary—it was a discussion that moved him on to the topic of speaking about his musical heroes. Bowie would then reveal all about the first time he saw Little Richard who was also accompanied by a very special support act: “I saw him first in 1963, I think it was and I think it might have been at the Brixton Odeon. Somebody will remember the tour, everybody remembers everything these days.”
Adding: “The Rolling Stones were opening up for them and it was the first time that I’d ever saw them and they weren’t very well known. There was about six kids who rushed to the front and that was their fanbase at the time. Everybody was there just for Little Richard. It was priceless, I’d never seen anything so rebellious in my life.”
He then went on to tell this hilarious anecdote and deliver an impeccable Jagger impression along the way which was met with a fit of laughter: “Someone shouted out ‘get your hair cut’ and Mick says, I’ll never forget these words ‘What and look like you?’ I thought oh my god, this is the future of music.”
Following Bowie’s tragic death in 2016, a moment which left the world in a state of mourning, Mick Jagger wrote this poignant piece about the great friendship the two of them shared that span decades and his regret about them drifting later in life: “I know David stopped touring around 2004 after having some health problems,” he said. “After that, he kind of vanished, both from my life and the stage, so to speak, until he came back with an album that was a very interesting piece.”
Adding: “It’s really sad when somebody leaves and you haven’t spoken to them for a long while. You wish you’d done this; you wish you’d done that. But that’s what happens. Strange things happen in life.”
Bowie was a true performer who thrived off having a crowd in the palm of his hands and here he looked just as much in his element telling this hysterical story as he did performing ‘Space Oddity’.
Watch the magnificent clip, below.