An Announcement


Longtime blog readers may recall that from roughly the dawn of time I’ve been mentioning that the blog was being turned into a book. Well, that day has finally come. Rebel Rebel (essentially Bowiesongs Book One) will be published on 27 March 2015.

I’m likely to create a separate website for the book soon, and I’ll let you know about it when it’s done. But, you might ask, what’s so exciting about this book then?

* At last count, it was 574 pages! That’s a brick of Bowie for you, perfect for long train trips or island exiles. It’s longer than my copy of Tristram Shandy. And we only get up to the 1976 tour!

* Every entry on this blog from “Liza Jane” to “Station to Station” was revised, updated, corrected, scrubbed up, and made leaner or thicker, more funny or more ambitious (“Alternative Candidate” comes to mind for the latter). There are also a few new entries for songs that weren’t circulating when the blog started in ’09 (e.g., “April’s Tooth of Gold”).

* There’s “The Unheard Music” section, in which I try to catalog, in chronological order, all of the “lost” Bowie songs, from the numbers that he sang in a skiffle band in 1958 to the legendary Man Who Fell to Earth soundtrack. Also, a brief summary of the “Bowipochrypha”—songs that fans have thought or hoped were by Bowie but sadly aren’t.

* A lengthy Bowie discography, 1964-1976.

* A huge bibliography of Bowie-related and other material, for fans of bibliographies.

* A rather elephantine notes section, featuring everything from Trevor Bolder’s preferred basses in 1972 to various fine points on chord progressions of Bowie songs to some long, occasionally bizarre digressions (Thomas Paine shows up in one).

And more! I hope you enjoy it. Back to Reality in a few days.


92 Responses to An Announcement

  1. steg says:

    Love it! I think I am approaching the “last book I will ever buy on Bowie (and beyond)” but I will be glad to buy it.

  2. Trevor Mill says:

    Would have loved to have designed the cover / book!
    You should make it a competition. I’ll still buy it, whatever the cover. Very excited. I agree with Steg. Should be the last word. The essential books (other than yours): DavidBowieBlackBook, Pegg’s opus and The Concert Tapes.

  3. Somebody says:

    Great news! I’d like to buy it, hope it will be possible to do it from Russia.

  4. rufus oculus says:

    I think it is a good idea to put the chord progessions etc in a separate section. As a non musician I admit I skip over those bits in your blog but people who can read music must find them fascinating and I cannot think of any other book on Bowie that goes into such detail on the songs’ structures. Looks like you have sold four copies of your book already Chris.

  5. Christopher Williams says:

    Looking forward to reading about “Hey Ma Get Papa”.

    Or have I missed that one in the blog?

  6. Patrick says:

    I don’t know if you already have provision planned, but most useful obviously here are the links to the actual tracks on Youtube etc, But links in print can get outdated or deleted. Will you have an up to date link list of tracks on the book’s website? That would be useful for those unfamiliar with the blog or newish to DB though might be a task to keep updated.

    • col1234 says:

      as you mention, links are mayfly things (I usually have to update them every 6 months) and so aren’t in the book at all. but if that would be a help, perhaps I could do a list of links on the book promo site

      • Vinnie says:

        This is the only thing I’m nervous about for the book. Listening to your curated versions (Demos/live/early/alt/etc) while reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I’ll probably have open the featured article on my laptop, with headphones in to listen to every version. (It feels right that way)

      • Ididtheziggy says:

        I would say just to direct people to the books webpage and have all the links there. Still a pain in the ass to keep up to date, but will surely enhance the experience.

  7. Sykirobme says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to get my dirty mitts on a copy!

  8. Steven says:

    Great news! Well done!

    I take it the title was imposed upon you!

    Are further volumes a case of when or if? Is there likely to be one enormous volume spanning 1977-2014 (and beyond) will there be further divisions?

    • col1234 says:

      that’s the question: how big will a Volume 2 have to be? much depends on how this one sells, to be honest.

  9. SoooTrypticon says:

    I’ll buy three at least! One for myself, and two for good friends I’ve been telling to read your blog. Congratulations!

  10. Deanna says:

    This is so exciting. I wasn’t ambitious enough to read this blog in order (opting instead to read one or two random entries at a time) so this book will fix that problem for me! I’ll definitely be buying this when it comes out!

    • col1234 says:

      thanks! I’ve (hopefully) structured the book so that you can jump around to whichever entry you’d like without much fuss or explanation needed, though I think it’s a good read “in order” too.

  11. hawkmoths says:

    Congrats! Looking forward to this, and hopefully future volumes.

  12. Mike says:

    Gotta wait ’til March?! Nooooo….!

  13. Iain says:

    Great news. Can’t wait.

    Sent from my iPhone


  14. Rob Vkastuin says:

    Wonderful! I’m looking forward to it!

  15. type40ttc says:

    Fantastic! As a long-time reader (though a seldom-ever commenter), I can’t wait to get a copy. Congratulations!

  16. Vinnie says:

    Excited! Congrats.

  17. mark shark says:

    Awesome- sitting on pins and needles. Perhaps you’ll get a call from the Mainman himself!?!?

  18. henry_8 says:

    Chris-I think I’ve read nearly all your posts,and will still buy the book,which will sit proudly next to my other Bowie bible(Nicholas Pegg’s of course).

    Hope it does well!
    Well done,from a Bowie fan since ’72.

  19. sirsha says:

    Sweet. When and where can I preorder it?

  20. Brandon says:

    Congratulations. I’ll (happily) pay full price!

  21. Ididtheziggy says:

    Big congrats. Can’t wait to actually see it on the shelf (or Amazon or whatever). I’ll buy six copies

  22. sidthecat says:

    Well done, you.
    Sounds like you could kill a bloke with it.

  23. Waffitti says:

    Should have called it “SongsOneBowie” (or “QueenBitchOneBowie”, but that doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it).

    How fast do you think it will take for this tome to get pirated after release date, and do you think the pirated downloads will outnumber the legit ones? (I just noticed that this post doesn’t specify if it will be print or e-book or both…)

    • col1234 says:

      it will be an e-book as well as a print (paperback); details not quite worked out yet.

      is it flattering if it gets pirated quickly? i suppose so.

      • Vinnie says:

        Pirating rarely affects the actual bottom line. I’m sure someone will download it illegally, and say to themselves, “Huh! What a great read, I’ll buy two!”

  24. richardjoly says:

    Deserves a nicer cover, equal to your writing in value

    This one looks like it’s for a book MADE FROM WIKIPEDIA articles.

  25. Momus says:











    Lift off!

  26. Noggin says:

    Count me in! 🙂

  27. Galdo says:

    Very exciting news!!! You don’t have to get in details (I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone), but what entries were affected the most on the format changing (blog to book)? Could you talk a little about that? What are the biggest differences?

    • col1234 says:

      off the top of my head: “Sweet Thing,” “Liza Jane,”which now incorporates some of that song’s 150+-year history (& indeed most of the early singles), “Alt. Candidate” (thanks in part to Momus), “Rubber Band,” “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” “Station to Station” is pretty different, though still has same structure.

      oh and a lot of the Young Americans tracks benefited from me hearing some of the Sigma Sound tapes in Philly.

  28. Brendan O'Lear says:

    Hope the big man shows up for the launch party and asks you to sign his paid-for copy.

    What an incredible achievement! Congratulations.

  29. Martin Kitcher says:


    Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 15:47:35 +0000 To:

  30. Great news. This will be the Bowie encyclopaedia to end them all.

  31. amylovesgd says:

    Cool, Will there be other books from the other years too?
    Anyway, can’t wait.

  32. neighsayer says:

    let us know as soon as we can pre-order it. My daughter is Bowie obsessed.

  33. Bruised Passivity says:

    Rebel Rebel is now number 1 on my most anticipated book list for 2015! All the congratulations you’re receiving are well deserved and, in my opinion, you’ve earned a place in Bowie history with this mighty achievement. 😁

  34. Eddie Vaughan says:


  35. I discovered this blog almost a year ago, after reading David Buckley’s Bowie bio and looking for something else for my Bowie facts fix. I read through the whole thing in a few months and I’m always hungry for more! O think it’s become the definitive source for Bowoe info. Congratulations for this great achievement, I’ll definitely be getting a copy!

  36. spanghew says:

    Excellent! I’ve been waiting for this day…I will pre-order (and probably gift a couple of Bowie fans) on – well, I might not order it on the first day, but certainly The Next Day (groan).

  37. s.t. says:

    Nice! Come March 27th, I’ll be in the queue line with a handful of ‘ludes. I want to be there to read “All the Young Dudes.”

    Cheers Chris!

  38. StevenE says:

    Congrats, am stoked.

    I saw Kero Kero Bonito last night (amazing), used a similar colour scheme. x

  39. audiophd says:

    Pre-order imminent…congrats Chris!

  40. jayfaiz says:

    Wow. Finally. I hope I can get this in Indonesia.

  41. Waffitti says:

    So, how many books do you think you’re going to release? I’d say you have material for around 3-4 volumes, max. That is, assuming that vol. 2 goes from Low to NLTD, vol.3 the Reeves Gabrels years and the 4th all the new millennium stuff (tho with only 3 albums worth of material it’d either be thinner than the others or you’d strech stuff out).

    • Anonymous says:

      is NLTD the Yorkshire version?

      • Ramzi says:


        on the subject: ending the second volume with NLMD (or perhaps Tin Machine) to frame the cultural rebirth seems like the obvious move, but the following period seems too large to fit into one volume yet too short to make into two. Maybe a book per decade, as that’s what the first one more or less will do? Complicated stuff.

        I started reading this blog almost 2 years ago so the book has always been mentioned in the background from time to time. Very exciting that it’s finally coming out. Can’t wait to read it!

  42. Stolen Guitar says:

    Congratulations…it’ll always be ‘Pushing Ahead of The Dame’ for me, though! Good luck with it and enjoy the success that will surely follow.

  43. stinkyj says:

    looks incredible – preorders available soon?
    If it’s half as good as Sid Smith’s King Crimson tome it’ll still be twice as good as most books on popular music that i’ve read….

  44. col1234 says:

    replies to recent questions:

    * not sure when preorders will start but will let you know.
    * no idea about sequel volume(s) yet. would love to finish this project sooner than later, though
    * anyone who’s in a country/region in which they fear they won’t be able to get the book–i’ll set up a contact email & i’ll do what i can.

  45. spanghew says:

    Also, re the cover design: A look at the publisher’s website shows that it has a house design style – this font, on solid color BG (dif. colors)

  46. mark shark says:

    So Chris, will you be selling copies signed by yourself to those of us blog fans! That’d be sweet!

  47. ledbenz says:

    Congrats, this is great news!

  48. Steven says:

    Another question I thought of… One of the many delights of this blog is the images that go with each entry. Is this aspect represented in the book in any way? Obviously it would be impossible to clear rights to hundred and hundreds of photos, but it would be nice to have limited visual elements.

    • col1234 says:

      Unfortunately, no pictures. It can’t be stressed enough how difficult and costly it is to secure rights to photographs for a publication, and, another big thing: the book was already very very long and including photos would have made it longer.

      But all the photos remain on the blog. All I can say is to consider the book and blog as two different entities, like an elder and younger sister. The blog will remain as is, and always will; all of the original entries, the photos, the links. The book is another version: with different writing, different perspectives, a more coherent “worldview” for lack of a better word.

      • Shame the pics are a cost too far – not surprising I guess as they are sourced from far and wide – real shame though – still being a book will encourage people to satrt at the beginning and read though all the earlier entries. I remember back in the days of Ziggy when there were only 6 comments and sometimes more than one of those was the same person under another pseudonymn. Yes I mean you Gnomemansland or is Gnomansland

      • I came to this blog fairly recently and so am glad to know that you’ll be keeping it online. (I plan to buy the book too!) This blog has been a great companion to my recently rekindled interest in David Bowie’s music, I had about 30 years to catch up on and am by no means “done” yet. Thank you for your work and especially for the discussion of chord changes and other details of the music and the production, as so much of what has been written about Bowie’s recordings emphasizes the lyrics.

      • col1234 says:

        thanks! do hope you enjoy the book.

  49. I love you. I’m actually freaking out right now.

  50. Jack Womack says:

    OK, been waiting for this one.

  51. Jack Womack says:

    As per your notes section, the more elephantine the better.

  52. princeasbo says:

    So excited…I’m a huge fan of bibliographies!

  53. Mr Tagomi says:

    Really looking forward to getting a copy.

  54. postpunkmonk says:

    I usually read library books, but this looks worth a purchase due to the mind-numbingly good writing and research that you have put into it. Sometimes I read this blog and think that one day, if I am allowed to retire, it might be nice to go back and actually take my blog posts from hasty-first-draft-during-lunch-hour status to begin to reach the lofty heights you do as a matter of course.

    • StevenE says:

      I was mulling over whether to buy a book that I couldn’t find for under a tenner plus postage to the UK today (R. M. Bell’s Holy Anorexia, which looks amazing) and was feeling so gutted that I couldn’t really afford it and then I was like oh hang on libraries are a thing.

      • postpunkmonk says:

        StevenE – Books are fine, but music is my best entertainment value. I stopped buying books years ago. I’ve probably only gotten 18 in the last 13 years. I’ve gotten very picky. I’ve only a relative handful of DVDs. Less than a 80. I’ve still got twice as many laserdiscs! Can’t say that about music.

  55. StevenE says:

    Am guessing Volume II will be called Look Back In Anger, which is a) an amazing song, b) pretty appropriate considering it’ll cover the 80s…

  56. roobin101 says:

    Hmm, waiting so long, I’ve been waiting, just waiting… Nah, it’s great. You should be very proud.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news. I look forward to reading it.

  58. Christopher Williams says:

    Looking forward to the book. I visit this blog daily and it has re-kindled interest in many discarded songs – Amazing, Shining Star!! etc. I still love Pin-Ups more than you – but then I’m and old git.

  59. Jubany says:

    Would you please explain the title, Chris? Thanks! For everything!

    • col1234 says:

      Jubany—the title of the blog or book?

      the blog’s is a silly pun on a line from “Queen Bitch” (“she’s known in the darkest clubs/for pushing ahead of the dames”) with a nickname the British music press gave Bowie in the ’80s (“the Dame”).

      the book is just named after the song, which is but one of the songs it covers (a good entry though!)

      • Jubany says:

        The title of the blog I think I understand, in fact I always believed it was great, although I remember you dismissing it in a comment, some time ago, and knowing since that you weren’t going to use it for the book. Having said that, it’s not that I dislike RR as a title for the book, it’s just that I wondered why you chose it and was surprised that no one else asked. So is it just that? Doesn’t it have to do with something that goes through the book, as a whole? Not that it has to, of course. Oh well… sorry. I’m being curious!

  60. col1234 says:

    a head’s up: book is starting to surface, though it’s early days (no art, no ebook details yet & oddly in some cases, as here, I’m called “Christa”—very lovely name) but this is the best price i’ve found so far:

    also: Indigo in Canada (who get my name right):

  61. rob thomas says:

    delighted to hear about more notes on ‘Alt. Candidate’: a gloriously dark little groover…

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