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The story behind “We’re Listening to David Bowie”

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It’s not often that I can pinpoint the exact moment that inspired a song that I wrote, but with this song I can.

The ever magnificent Dublin Bowie Festival was taking place earlier this year in the second week of January. It’s always an inspiring week. Anyway, on Saturday 11 January, the band Holy Holy played in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre.

Holy Holy is a band whose members include Tony Visconti (longtime Bowie producer) and Woody Woodmansey (Bowie’s drummer for many of his classic albums). They play Bowie tunes and, as it was the fiftieth anniversary of The Man Who Sold The World, they started the gig by playing that album in its entirety.

The album begins with a song called, “The Width of a Circle”. The band played a frankly astonishing version of the song and, when the song ended, the audience let out a deafening roar of adoration that was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at a gig – especially for one in which the artist wasn’t even present. The outpouring of unbridled love for Bowie’s music was profoundly moving.

It was at that exact moment that the idea that would become “We’re Listening to David Bowie” was born.

The song is, in my own insignificant way, a way of expressing how I (and I try to imagine other fans) feel about loss. It’s a song about death, grief, and remembering someone after they’re gone. The outpouring of love from fellow Bowie fans who’ve now heard the song has been really wonderful. It was made for them.

Huge thanks go to Holy Holy, John Brereton, and all at the Dublin Bowie Festival.

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