i was browing the iTwat store recently when a 4 track ep caught my eye. it was a four track ep by David "Derek" Bowie, simply entitled Heroes, or to give the correct title "heroes".
of the four tracks, three are the brilliant English/German mix done for the Christiane F. film, the truly amazing, if you will uber amazing German version called "helden" and the live take on it from the 1978 live album Stage.
on the subject of Stage, i should stress two things. first, more than once i have seen this particular live album referred to as the "celebrated" live album. hereby consider this album celebrated by your humble narrator. secondly, this live album reflects one of the few times that Bowie did the full blow album version of the song live, rather than the (still very good) single edit. the only other time i am aware of him doing the full version of the song was on his magnificent Bridge School benefit performance. he might have done it on the Glass Spider tour too, but let us just pretend that there was no such tour.
the fourth version? that would be "héros", the French language version. as in the one version that i had not ever heard before, and to my knowledge a version that has never appeared on CD. so yes i bought it.
i had often wondered why exactly it was never released on a CD, either as part of one of the variants of the Sound&Vision box set or as an extra track on one of the "heroes" album reissues. i had just written it off as being probably due to French things, like being obnoxious, reluctant to help, berets, unimaginative flag, general French disdain for the superior English and onions.
it had, not once, occurred to me that it has never (as far as i know) made it to CD because it is really, really, really awful.
here's a sample i filmed off of my iTwat with my blueberry. rather just accept these few seconds as evidence, do not punish yourself (if you have not heard it) by seeking the full version.
wow, that's bad. yes, the quality of my recording and the song itself.
that a song so beautiful, so universal and so unifying can be ruthlessly shredded like it was a document that WikiLeaks wanted probably tells you all that you need to know of the French language. i shall, however, make a few more observations.
if this is what the French language does to a song like "heroes" then it is little wonder that the French Government frequently feels a requirement to pass laws that protect and enforce the use of this language. people in places like Calais or similar must look around the world, see how other languages work, and lament the cursed luck they apparently have for what they ended up with. i am still struggling to understand exactly why France feels it needs a special language anyway, to be honest. for the most part, as pointed out to me by a learned friend, the predominat method of communication in France is a simplistic, somewhat basic sequence of shrugs to show their feelings on matter. beyond that, the only time the French language seems to get any relevant use is either when they are saying how great France is, or composing statements of defeat, surrender or other similar sentiments of resignation.
i do appreciate and respect that using the terms "French" and "Government" in the way i have is something of a slap in the face to the established ideas of what a Government should and should not do as has evolved over the centuries. oh sure, it's all "je suis un homme des harde" now, isn't it, saying how they will back the US in a war with Syria (or somewhere), quite confident that any such war is unikely but if it did happen they could always quickly make some new rules in Belgium that prevents them from doing anything. except composing statements of a nature previously outlined.
if this is what happens when a great artist like David Bowie agrees to allow one of his songs to be performed in French then it is no surprise that the only songs from France to have been of any consequence to the rest of the world are them ones that had all the sex noises on them, and of course little or no singing in French.
the only decent French musician i can think of is JJ Burnel out of The Stranglers. and he was born in London (innit). for heaven's sake, even Austria had a halfway decent go at a proper pop star with Falco. i can only imagine the kids of France, when they heard that Bowie was going to do "heroes" in French, started off what they consider to be one of their riots, begging him not to as they like the song and do not wish to see it tarnished by inferior language.
when asked if he would ever write an autobiography, Bowie's response was "look, just go and look at all the different biographies of me out there, find one you like or consider amusing and just take that as it". he's really not interested in the subject. which means we shall never know why on Earth he did this version of the song. i'd like to think it was as a consequence of a bet or a dare from Iggy Pop or Brian Eno, to be honest. or perhaps he just agrees with the sentiments expressed here and was prepared to sacrifice his fine work to prove the point.
i am unlikely to play "héros" too often in the future, then. but the other three versions are ace.
être excellent à l'autre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!