One of David Bowie’s most famous classic rock songs is “Blue Jean.” During an interview, Bowie said that other rock stars inspired the song. He also explained what it said about him as an artist.
David Bowie said ‘Blue Jean’ was ‘pretty eclectic’
Eddie Cochran was a 1950s rock star best known for his hits “Summertime Blues”, “Somethin’ Else”, “Twenty Flight Rock”, and “C’Mon Everybody”. He died in a car accident in 1960. He is remembered as an icon of the era and he was one of the first artists to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The book Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie says Bowie discussed Cochran during a 1984 interview. “‘Blue Jean’ reminds me of Eddie Cochran,” he said. Bowie followed this by singing part of Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else”. “He was inspired by that Eddie Cochran feeling, but of course it’s also very Troggs.” For context, The Troggs were a band best known for their garage rock hits “With a Girl Like You”, “Wild Thing”, and “Love Is All Around”.
Bowie opined that “Blue Jean” exemplified something in his writing. “I don’t know…it’s pretty eclectic, I guess,” he said. “What is mine not?”
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David Bowie compared himself to a quote from a movie star
Bowie used another celebrity’s quote to discuss inspiration from other artists. “Someone once said – who was it?” he said. “It’s terribly important – that Harry Langdon, the silent comedian, cannot be taken alone; you have to put it next to what was going on around it, like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and [Charlie] Chaplin.
Bowie compared himself to Langdon. “It can only be seen by reference, and someone said that about me, which is probably very true,” Bowie explained. “I quite like it, actually, that you can’t take me on your own.” You may only use me as a form of reference!
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The way the world reacted to ‘Blue Jean’
“Blue Jean” became a huge hit. The song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 18 weeks. Besides “Let’s Dance”, “Blue Jean” was Bowie’s most popular song of the 1980s in the United States. “Blue Jean” appeared on Bowie’s album Tonight. Tonight reached 11th place Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 24 weeks.
“Blue Jean” also became popular in the UK. The Official Map Company reports that the song peaked at No. 6 in the UK and stayed on the charts for nine weeks. During this time, Tonight hit #1 there for a week. It remained on the chart for a total of 19 weeks. “Blue Jean” is a classic hit – and it wouldn’t be the same without Cochran or The Troggs.
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