Woody Woodmansey Says David Bowie Was A Brilliant Thief

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David Bowie’s drummer Woody Woodmansey recently joined BBC Radio 6’s Cerys Matthews for an interview and admitted David Bowie was a brilliant thief.

Woody Woodmansey worked with David Bowie as a member of the singer’s core backing ensemble, The Spiders From Mars, in the early 1970s. He played his drums on Bowie’s 1970 album ‘The Man Who Sold The World,’ 1971’s ‘Hunky Dory,’ 1972’s ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars,’ and 1973 album ‘Aladdin Sane.’

After the release of ‘Hunky Dory,’ Bowie launched his Ziggy Stardust stage show on February 10, 1972, with his The Spiders From Mars. This show at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth was top-rated and a breakthrough for Bowie. The singer then released his ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars,’ with ‘Starman’ issued as a single.

‘Starman’ was released on April 28, 1982, and Bowie recorded the song on February 4, 1972, with his backing band, The Spiders From Mars. The chorus of ‘Starman’ was inspired by Judy Garland’s ‘Over The Rainbow,’ with other influences from T. Rex and the Supremes. Following its release, ‘Starman’ became a great commercial success.

Speaking to BBC Radio 6’s Cerys Matthews, Woody Woodmansey said that David Bowie was a fan of ‘Over The Rainbow,’ but he was also a brilliant thief. According to the drummer, Bowie would take any idea and reshape it into his own. The singer would write songs all the time since ‘Hunky Dory,’ and it was apparent ‘Starman’ would become a huge commercial hit.

During the interview, the host Cerys Matthews asked Woody Woodmansey the following:

“You were very close to Bowie. You were around with him while he was working out these songs. Do you think he was a fan of ‘Over The Rainbow,’ and he just took it as a great idea?”

Woodmansey then replied:

“Yeah, certainly. I mean, he was a brilliant thief. He didn’t care where an idea came from; he would own it and then do his own thing with it. Since ‘Hunky Dory,’ when he came back from America, he was writing continually in the bedroom on a piano or in the lounge on his 12 string. Mick Ronson and I would be making tea in the middle in the kitchen, and you’d hear Ziggy playing guitar and say, ‘Oh, okay.’ And then he would say, ‘Okay, I finished, go in and listen. That’s like that, that’s good.’

And every single one he was writing at that time seemed to be killer tracks. So, ‘Starman’ was another one. The fact that they’d said it needs to be a single, it was just so obvious listening to it that, ‘Yeah, that’s the most commercial one he’s written,’ because we’d have changes that come out from ‘Hunky Dory’ and that got a lot of radio play, but it didn’t do it.”

You can listen to the interview below.