DFW Music News

5 Times David Bowie and Dallas Crossed Paths

With shocking suddenness, we're left to live in a post-David Bowie world. The man who brought us Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and Jareth the Goblin King had secretly battled cancer for the past 18 months. On Sunday, just two days after celebrating his 69th birthday with the release of his album Blackstar, Bowie passed away in his home in New York City. Bowie — who rarely made concert appearances in his later years — hadn't performed in Dallas since the 1990s, but he has a long history here in North Texas. As we remember the legend this morning, here are five times that he crossed paths with the city.

1. He played With Stevie Ray Vaughan on Let's Dance.

Bowie's most famous connection to Dallas is easily his work with hometown blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vaughan joined Bowie for the recording sessions of his 1983 album Let's Dance. Proving that the Dallas connection was more than a fluke, Bowie later returned to town for rehearsals for the Serious Moonlight Tour in support of Let's Dance, although by that point Vaughan was no longer a part of his band.

2. He learned to box in Texas.

Most of the action happened in Austin, technically, but it's an interesting offshoot of Bowie's connection with Vaughan. Long story short: Bowie learned to box in Austin after Vaughan introduced him to Golden Gloves boxer Richard Lord in Dallas. A piece in Vice quotes former Dallas Observer contributor Adam Pitluk describing the relationship between Bowie and Lord:  

"When Ziggy Stardust called Lord, the trainer nonchalantly agreed to take the rocker under his wing, and the two trained together for a couple of months. Bowie ran the steps and then worked the heavy bags at an old gym on 12th and Jefferson streets in downtown Austin,” Adam Pitluk writes in the book Standing Eight: The Inspiring Story of Jesus 'El Matador' Chavez. “Bowie developed such an affinity for boxing that he even tried his hand at sparring. ‘I’m one of the few people that punched David Bowie in the face and didn’t get the shit beat out of me for it,’ Lord said. Bowie was photographed for the cover of his Let’s Dance album wearing boxing gloves and striking a pose that was quite similar to the stance Lord used when fighting on the pro circuit.”

3. He beat a sexual assault case here (and proved he didn't have AIDS).

Not all of Bowie's connections to Dallas were pleasant ones. In 1987, he was charged with sexual assault. As this UPI archival story explains, he beat the case, saying that the sex was consensual. (In a civil case filed later, Bowie provided blood samples to prove he didn't have AIDS.)

British singer-actor David Bowie was cleared Wednesday by a grand jury on a sexual assault complaint filed by a woman who spent the night with him following a Dallas concert in October.

A spokeswoman in the office of Assistant District Attorney Hugh Lucas said the Dallas County grand jury no-billed Bowie after hearing two hours of testimony on Nov. 11. The results of the grand jury hearing were released Wednesday.

'The grand jury did not find enough evidence to warrant an indictment,' the spokeswoman said.

4. He toured with the Polyphonic Spree.

Bowie may not have donned a robe and joined in on Tim DeLaughter's choir, but for a couple-year stretch in the early 2000s, the Polyphonic Spree were not-infrequent guests of the Thin White Duke. They first popped up over in the U.K. when Bowie invited them to play his Meltdown festival in London, then went on tour with him in 2004 as the opening act of his Reality Tour (which were also Bowie's final tour appearances in Texas).
5. He recorded a TV special in Dallas.

Bowie will probably be remembered best for the role of Ziggy Stardust, but one of his most inspired reinventions came later in the '70s when he produced his "Berlin Trilogy" with Eno, including Low, "Heroes" and Lodger. In the middle of that series of records he played a show at the Dallas Convention Center, which later saw release as a half-hour special titled David Bowie on Stage. This is Bowie at his best.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage