A little-known fun fact about David Bowie’s iconic 1971 hit “Queen Bitch” is that the singer actually wrote the song about his longtime friend and collaborator, Lou Reed. So, at Bowie’s 50th birthday party in 1997 – a serious all-star affair, featuring performances from a host of incredible musical guests, including Frank Black, Dave Grohl, Robert Smith, Sonic Youth and Billy Corgan – it seemed only fitting that he should invite Reed up on stage for a very special rendition of the song.
The performance was rounded off with a very Bowie-esque cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man” and Reed’s 1989 comeback hit, “Dirty Blvd.” Again, this isn’t too much of a surprise when you consider the two artists history with one another; Bowie was behind the mixing desk for Reed’s seminal solo album, Transformer, and regularly covered Velvet Underground hits in his live repertoire, namely “White Light/White Heat.” However, this performance at Madison Square Garden this is one of the very few times that Bowie and Reed shared the same stage.
David Bowie 50th Birthday with Lou Reed
“We’re still friends after all these years,” Reed told Rolling Stone in a 2004 interview. “We go to the occasional art show and museum together, and I always like working with him. I really love what David does, so I’m happy he’s still doing it and that he’s still interested. I saw him play here in New York on his last tour, and it was one of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever seen. At least as far as white people go. Seriously.”
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