As mentioned and linked in the previous post, Bowie's plan in the mid-80s was to make as much money as he could and then retire to a tropical island somewhere. But he noticed it wasn't making him happy and Reeves Gabrels suggested to him that maybe he should do what makes him happy.
So yes, Tin Machine was rough and somewhat contrived, although probably no more or less contrived than any of Bowie's other adopted styles. It was as if all the raucous he'd been holding back for almost ten years came blurted out in two albums. These days you'd call it a reboot. And to push the analogy a little too far, rebooting can be messy.
Oh, and they rocked harder than a lot of the poodle metal acts around at the time.
I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday
Mick Ronson had produced Morrissey's Your Arsenal album, from which the song was taken, the year before. In one of the few insights into the creative process provided in Morrissey's Autobiography, it reveals that it was Ronson's idea to have the outtro of I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday follow the same chromatic run featured in the climax of Rock'n'Roll Suicide. Morrissey and his band were worried that Bowie would sue. Mick gave them a nod and a wink and assured them it wouldn't happen. The subtext? Ronson had written that part all along.
Bowie returned the compliment the following year saying, "It's me doing Morrissey doing me." None of this is to suggest that Bowie wasn't completely taking the piss on this version.
Ashes to Ashes
Bowie wasn't just a magpie in terms of musical styles; he would pinch lyrics and musical phrases from everywhere - not quite going as far as plagiarism but certainly going beyond a passing similarity.
One of the most obvious examples is in All the Madmen and the line, "Here I stand, foot in hand, talking to my wall," which can easily be sung to The Beatles' You've Got to Hide Your Love Away.
For Ashes to Ashes, Bowie dug back even further to another 'sequel' song by none other than Buddy Holly. Peggy Sue Got Married features the lines
You recall a girl that's been in nearly every songCompare to the opening lines of Ashes to Ashes:
This is what I heard, of course the story could be wrong
Do you remember a guy that's beenCoincidence? Nup! And there's nothing wrong with that.
In such an early song?
I've heard a rumor from Ground Control
Oh no, don't say it's true
Another little bit I love about Ashes to Ashes is for a tragic song, there's still a bit of humour in there. The background voice in the second verse repeats every line including a deadly earnest, "Whoa ooh whoa hoo." It could be Bowie's most perfect song.
That really is all for now - apart from all the others.
Remember, you're not alone!