#1063: 1971, David Bowie, The Bewlay Brothers

by Charlie_East_West on January 17, 2016

One of the saddest, most profoundly moving songs of all time.
The Bewlay Brothers is a track from the stupendous Hunky Dory album by David Bowie released in 1971.

The song is reputedly a fictionalised account of Bowie’s relationship with his schizophrenic brother, Terry – who killed himself in 1965. It was Terry who introduced David to jazz and led to his mother buying him his first saxophone. David Bowie has gone on record saying that a Bewlay was the only type of pipe he ever smoked, and used the word “Bewlay” as a congnomen for his own surname.

It is a tragic, beautiful song with a wonderful pace, and an incredibly bizarre twist into grotesque music hall vaudeville towards the end of the song.
It is early Bowie at his absolute finest.

“And so the story goes
they wore the clothes
They said the things
to make it seem improbable
The whale of a lie
like they hope it was
And the Goodmen of Tomorrow
Had their feet in the wallow
And their heads of Brawn
were nicer shorn
And how they bought their positions with saccharin and trust
And the world was asleep
to our latent fuss
Sighing, the swirl through the streets
Like the crust of the sun
The Bewlay Brothers
In our Wings that Bark
Flashing teeth of Brass
Standing tall in the dark
Oh, And we were Gone
Hanging out with your Dwarf Men
We were so turned on
By your lack of conclusions

I was Stone and he was Wax
So he could scream,
and still relax, unbelievable
And we frightened the small children away
And our talk was old
and dust would flow
Thru our veins and Lo!
it was midnight
Back o’ the kitchen door
Like the grim face
on the Cathedral floor
And the solid book we wrote
Cannot be found today

And it was Stalking time
for the Moonboys
The Bewlay Brothers
With our backs on the arch
In the Devil-may-be-here
But He can’t sing about that
Oh, And we were Gone
Real Cool Traders
We were so Turned On
You thought we were Fakers

Now the dress is hung,
the ticket pawned
The Factor Max that proved the fact
Is melted down
And woven on the edging of my pillow
Now my Brother lays upon the Rocks
He could be dead, He could be not
He could be You
He’s Camelian, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature
“Shooting-up Pie-in-the-Sky”
The Bewlay Brothers
In the feeble and the Bad
The Bewlay Brothers
In the Blessed and Cold
In the Crutch-hungry Dark
Was where we flayed our Mark
Oh, and we were Gone
Kings of Oblivion
We were so Turned On
In the Mind-Warp Pavilion

Lay me place and bake me Pie
I’m starving for me Gravy
Leave my shoes, and door unlocked
I might just slip away
Just for the Day, Hey!
Please come Away, Hey!”

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