Hang On to Yourself is most widely known as a track from David Bowie’s album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, recorded in late ’71, and released in June ‘72.
The audio of this live version from the ’78 tour is from the 2005 remaster of David Bowie’s 1978 album, “Stage”.
“Stage” was recorded live at the Philadelphia, Boston and Providence shows, in Spring ’78.
The video footage used here, is from three sources / shows, in ‘78:
– Earl’s Court, London June the 30th, and was shown at the conclusion of the LWT David Bowie Special TV show, that was broadcast a week later, on July the 8th.
– The final night of the 1978 tour, in Tokyo on the 12th of December.
– Dallas, 10th of April.
The original version of “Stage” album, tho’ it contained great music, was a mess. The running order was radically altered from the live shows, and between each track the crowd sounds were faded – apparently to make it easier for radio DJ’s to play tracks. Therefore when listening there was no believable concert experience. Happily both of these issues were rectified with the excellent 2005 remaster.
The Ghost of Ziggy Stardust
Hang On To Yourself was the opening track on the original version of the “Stage” album – perhaps as a nod to the fact that the song usually opened the Ziggy-era shows, in ’72 and ’73. Regardless, in actual fact at the ’78 shows, the “Ziggy…” section opened the second half of the show. Intended I suppose, as some nostalgic respite after the almost wholly new and experimental material of the first half. Also, the “Ziggy…” section actually started with Five Years, and a long drum intro where Bowie would introduce his fine band (video to follow, hopefully). Hang On To Yourself was actually played mid-way through the “Ziggy…” set.
Anyway, it’s a great live version of Hang On To Yourself, in my opinion. The Bolan-esque whispery vocals of the studio version are a distant memory, as Bowie works the song into a high adrenaline rocker! Check it out from around 2:50 (on this video): Adrian Belew pushes Mick Ronson’s original slide guitar up an octave (correct me if that’s incorrect musical terminology) and plays it over and over, Sean Mayes starts hammering out old time Rock n’ roll piano riffs, the strip lights start flashing manically, and Bowie bounces up and down belting out “Come on! Come on yeah! Come on!”
No wonder the Earls Court crowd are pogoing to it. I suppose back in London in the summer of ’78, Punk was still de rigueur. And let’s not forget, the Sex Pistols had reappropriated the riff from Hang On To Yourself for God Save The Queen.
The main reason for wanting to produce this video was to utilize the nice Earls Court footage, featuring Bowie’s joyful bounce throughout, some good shots of his awesome white baggies, and the gorgeous aquamarine light at the end, as he twirls in apparent delight at the performance.
As I’ve written before, the Earls Court shows have a particular nostalgia for me. David Bowie at Earls Court, 1978 is the show that I wish I had been able to attend. It goes without saying that Bowie was at the absolute peak of his powers during this period, and in the summer of 1978, I lived in London, and was already a Bowie fan. However, I was only 11 years old. I don’t remember if I was aware of the tour at the time, but regardless there would have been no way my parents would have allowed me to go.
I do remember seeing at least part of the LWT Bowie Special TV program. Tho I don’t know how I could have seen it when it was first broadcast because my parents were not high-brow types; they would not have been interested in watching an alternative arts show. And moreover I have a vague recall that my Dad was irritated by the presenter of the show, Janet Street-Porter.
Sincere apologies to Alan Yentob for the inference that he worked for Independent Television, whereas in fact he was a creative stalwart of the BBC since the 60’s, and someone I greatly admire.
Hope you dig it the vid!
Do me an’ yerself a favor – watch it in the Highest Def available with the sound UP LOUD!
If anyone has any other footage, or ideas for another video project, of material from Bowie’s classic period, do please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting this video together was another huge labour of love, made with love and with respect for the source.
I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.
Nacho, December 23rd, 2016.