Fall in Love With Me

Fall in Love With Me.

During a lull in the Lust for Life sessions, the players swapped roles for a laugh. Ricky Gardiner sat behind the drum kit, Hunt Sales took his brother’s bass and Tony Sales played guitar. They jammed for a while, fell into a shambling groove. Carlos Alomar came in on lead guitar, while Bowie, on organ, played yet another variation of his “Laughing Gnome”/”Speed of Life” descending riff. Iggy Pop went into the booth and free-associated a lyric. Edited down to six minutes and change, the jam became the album closer.

Sure, “Fall in Love With Me” falls in the minor rock & roll tradition of padding out an LP with an extended studio jam or mashing a few half-written songs into a closer medley. It’s a throwaway performance, but the record would be weaker without its welcoming groove, its sense of earned ease. Pop’s lyric is alternately goofy (“a table made of wood,” sung blankly as if it’s an odd thing to find), cutting (“you’re younger than you look”) and touching (“when you’re tumbling down, you just look finer”). It’s addressed to the same girl as in “China Girl” or “Baby” or “Sixteen” or “Tiny Girls,” it’s always the same girl, for Iggy—young, pure, yet somehow broken. What’s missing here is the obsessiveness; “Fall in Love” is an open-ended seduction.*

And for an album filler “Fall in Love” was influential enough. Bowie, noting how Pop could improv a vocal on the mike, how the musicians could shake out a song seemingly on a whim, rethought how to make a record. He would go beyond the experiments of Low: no more demos, no more neatly written-out lyrics, no more arrangements. During the summer of 1977, in Hansa Studios, Bowie went out on the wire.

Some unions end in recrimination and slander, others just wither. The great creative partnership of Pop and Bowie ends here, as well as it could have, with a vamp cooked up over a long afternoon in West Berlin. It’s loose talk over beers, tall tales, gibes, idle confessions, shot glass epiphanies. Then someone looks at the clock, a few excuses and goodbyes are exchanged, and the party breaks up.

Recorded 4-20 June 1977, Hansa, Berlin.

* Julian Casablancas owes his career to this and a few other Pop vocals on Lust.

Top: Ulrich Joho, “Rummelmädchen, Berlin, 1977.”

18 Responses to Fall in Love With Me

  1. Tom says:

    The Guy Chadwick version is pretty lovely too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnC6HhgehU

  2. Bill S. says:

    Probably my favorite song off of Lust for Life, the particular details just make the song for me. That sort of pleading (but not really) for someone to fall in love with him is an emotion I’m well familiar with.

  3. David L says:

    Nice write-up. I love this song. A great example of Pop’s lyrical style: paint a picture with simple, declarative,(dare I say Hemingway-esque?) sentences. Aside from Lou Reed, I can’t think of anyone else who did it better. I don’t know if he’s been recognized as such, but for me, Pop is one of the great rock poets.

    With just the first eight lines, he puts you right there in that bar, sitting across from the beautiful girl that your intoxicated brain is falling in love with …

    • col1234 says:

      There was a long, convoluted and ultimately weak paragraph I wrote for this entry, comparing Pop to Jim Morrison: that Pop was the real rock & roll poet, etc, though he seems to be channeling Morrison at times on LforL. Didn’t come together and it wound up cut. But yes, I agree with you.

      • ian says:

        Well the difference between Pop and Morrison (Jim and Jim, ha!) is that Iggy’s ventures into “rock and roll poetry” never had the air of self-seriousness. Morrison always comes off as too needy, or too self-centered. “I am the lizard king, I can do… anything”? No, thank you. There is nothing in that line. Morrison vied for “Poet” status (which, honestly, I think is the stupidest thing to vie for— it’s similar to Michael Jackson declaring himself the King of Pop. Just be the Poet, don’t shove it in our face), whilst Iggy didn’t try for it, he felt it out, it was much more animal instinct. Morrison had no instinct, he only had vague ideas cribbed from books he read while too stoned to know what they meant.

        In conclusion, can any one tell how much I don’t like The Doors?

        In post-script, I understand that one could try to use examples of say, the spoken-word interludes on Iggy’s “Avenue B” album (example: it was in the winter of my 50th year that I realized… I was truly alone), but for some reason, Iggy just sells it. He’s committed to whatever he’s selling— even if he’s selling the fact that he doesn’t care.

        Phew. A table made of wood.

  4. diamond dog says:

    I like it the keyboards are great and its a good tune. They parted company till Blah Blah Blah in the later part of the next decade and they made an lp arguably better than Bowies !! The experience must have been a fairly happy one as the 2 remained close did they not?

  5. Jeremy Earl says:

    Rambling yes filler – possibly, but I love this song and it’s a great way to end the album. Never knew about the guys swapping instruments – very cool. Lovely organ – I really love that sound.

  6. ian says:

    Yep, it’s my fave on Lust, too. Funny how it’s a little thing like this that can ‘connect’ with a lot of us. Glad to see the love for it.

    It’s true, too— that “Table made of wood” line is such a deal-sealer. It’s definitely a reason why Iggy’s got that magic, that grip on you. It’s a simple line that sets basically the whole song’s mood, scene, image, everything. Masterful work.

    See ya, Ig!

  7. ian says:

    also, those are some overalls in that picture up there!

  8. MrBelm says:

    “Julian Casablancas owes his career to this and a few other Pop vocals on Lust.”

    Truer words never spoken.

  9. Deacon Lowdown says:

    Lovely song – not the best on the album, but it’s a good ending track.

    Do you mean for now, when you say Bowie and Pop’s partnership ends here? Or do you (perhaps rightly) not consider Blah Blah Blah a “collaboration”?

    • col1234 says:

      No, BBB definitely is a collaboration and will be covered as such (there’s also a song on Pop’s “Soldier” that will get an entry in a bit). But it’s much different from the ’76-’77 period, when DB and Iggy were basically living in the same house and their lives/work greatly interlapped…

  10. diamond dog says:

    I recently dug out Blah on vinyl , I had not played it 15 years !! Its agreat body of work with some great material on it. Its far better by a long mile than Bowie’s own album at the time, much the same way I prefer The idiot to Heroes.

  11. swanstep says:

    Great track that’s awesome at doing not very much in a way that I associate most with the first Modern Lovers album. Love the photo.

  12. Carl H says:

    Anybody noticed that some of the instrumental parts of “Criminal world” on the Let’s Dance-album is essentially a reworking of Fall In Love With Me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Carlos Alomars guitar riff on this is a very big deal ! i sent this s0ng to a girl once or twice. I confess.
    One of my personal favorites from the Bowie Pop sessions

  14. KenHR says:

    So I’ve taken advantage of your vacation before the last push to re-read PAotD from front to back. I discovered this blog last year and skipped about quite a bit in my reading. Not being all that familiar with Iggy Pop, I’d skipped most of the entries, and gave none of the audio a listen.

    How stupid was I? You’ve made me a fan of Pop now (at least these two albums).

    Thanks!

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