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From David Bowie to John Prine: The Far Out Weekly Playlist

The weekly playlist wraps up the previous seven days across the Far Out website and brings them all together into one handy place. Whether this is a thirst for new tunes or an old favourite with a landmark celebration, here is the one-stop shop for all your music needs.

The last seven days have been momentous and steeped in musical history, with two iconic albums that would take pride of place in any authentic musos record collection celebrating anniversaries. The first notable mention is Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, released on April 9th in 1969, and many would say it is his most exemplary record. While there’s a distinct charm to everything Dylan has put out throughout his career, there’s no doubting that Nashville Skyline is a bona fide masterpiece.

Another classic that has had another birthday is David Bowie’s work of art, Aladdin Sane, which he released in April 1973. To commemorate the album turning 48, Far Out have explored the story behind the record and how it confirmed Bowie’s status as an otherwordly talent.

Aladdin Sane was the first album that Bowie had written from a position of stardom and, in tandem, the majority of the tracks were written on the road, most of which came during the US leg of ‘The Ziggy Stardust Tour’ in late ’72. This transitional theme is reflected in how each song is ascribed a place name on the album label, indicating where they were written: New York – ‘Watch That Man’, ‘The Jean Genie’, Seattle–Phoenix – ‘Drive-In Saturday’, Detroit, ‘Panic in Detroit’, Los Angeles – ‘Cracked Actor’ and New Orleans – ‘Time’. The album would go on to be Bowie’s most commercially successful record at the time. Noting the myriad of factors influencing the LP adds to the listening experience. Aladdin Sane embodies a metamorphosis — the end of Ziggy Stardust and the dawn of something else, a “formless mutant” that would shock and inspire many. 

In more solemn news, the past week also marked a year since we lost John Prine. The legendary singer-songwriter was sadly one of the early victims of the coronavirus pandemic last April. Following his death, Bob Dylan perfectly summarised his talents when he commented, “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism.” First and foremost, he was a songwriter who had a way with words on a level that only comes around once in a generation that music lovers will sorely miss until the end of time.

Elsewhere on Far Out, we welcomed Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May on the site for an interview about her upcoming record, 11 Past The Hour. Her latest single, ‘Just One Kiss’, has seen May join forces with The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and Noel Gallagher, who bring everything they’ve got to the track.

Commenting on the collaboration, May said: “[Noel] ‘s brilliant. He’s a great guy. I find him a very interesting man and a very interested man…. He knows his stuff. He seems to be always creating something, anytime I meet him. Yeah, he’s fun to be around. He’s very witty. So, I was delighted that he wanted to be on the album. I love his writing, but I love his voice as well. I love his vibe, and he definitely brought a most amazing vibe to [Just One Kiss].”

Meanwhile, on Ronnie Wood, May superlatively stated: “Everybody knows that Ronnie’s great. You hear him, and you know he’s a great guy, and a great character, and if you’re not mad about Ronnie, then I don’t know if we can be friends. He’s one of those: he’s just brilliant. I don’t know anyone who’s not mad about him. But when we’re in the studio, and he starts playing that solo, a lot of studios see amazing people come in and out all the time. It’s not unusual. I can tell you that the whole place stopped when he starts playing.”

On Far Out’s ‘New Noise’ section was London based quartet Friedberg. Every week, we host a different emerging artist each week that you should be adding to your playlist, and Friedberg’s story is quite extraordinary. What’s rare in Friedberg’s case is that in a previous incarnation, singer Anna Friedberg had a successful solo career in her native Austria – including two top-five albums – before leaving it all behind and re-emerging surrounded by friends.

Friedberg’s brand of music is infectious indie-pop music set in a dystopian universe, grabbing you by your lapels and drops you off in hypnotic locations across the five expansive tracks. The decision to change everything up by starting on the journey with Friedberg has paid dividends on the debut EP, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah. 

Check out the playlist, below.

The Far Out Weekly Playlist

  • Billie Holiday – ‘Blue Moon’
  • John Prine – ‘Clay Pigeons’
  • The Police – ‘Roxanne’
  • Vampire Weekend – ‘Walcott’
  • Imelda May – ‘Just One Kiss’
  • Rolling Stones – ‘Route 66’
  • Nick Cave – ‘The Good Son’
  • Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen In Love’
  • John Lennon – ‘Stand By Me’
  • Johnny Cash – ‘Ring Of Fire’
  • David Bowie – ‘The Jean Genie’
  • Friedberg – ‘Midi 8’
  • Kraftwerk – ‘Tour De France’
  • Bob Dylan – ‘Girl From The North Country’
  • The Strokes – ‘Reptilia’

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