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David Bowie 60 Minutes: Watch unaired clips from his interviews

The iconic singer talked about his life and work.

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CBS

In the wake of David Bowie’s death, accolades and tributes have come rushing in from all over the world. Celebrities remember working with Bowie, and journalists remember interviewing him. As it turns out, one Bowie interview never saw the light of day. From May to September 2003, Bowie sat down for multiple interviews with 60 Minutes. According to CBS the segment “met one obstacle after another” and never aired, but several unused clips are now available on the 60 Minutes website.

Bowie had multiple alter egos over the years, but his most famous is still probably the bisexual alien rock star Ziggy Stardust. When asked why he thinks Ziggy has endured, Bowie responds jokingly at first (“it’s all about the hair”) but then reflects on the different things his alter ego meant to people.

“In a way I’m very happy I didn’t follow through with the idea of trying to convert him into another presentation,” Bowie said. “There was an idea of doing a film, but somebody pushed me away saying ‘why do you want to do that? Why do you want to tie up the loose ends? People have such personalized ideas of who Ziggy Stardust was, you would disappoint a lot of people if you came up with a definitive backstory.’ I thought ‘oh you’re right.'”

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Bowie said that even playing some of the Ziggy Stardust songs (“Starman,” “Suffragette City”) couldn’t bring him back to the same mindset, partially because he was always influenced by his surrounding environment. There’s a reason, for example, that Low, “Heroes,” and Lodgerare collectively referred to as the “Berlin Trilogy.”

“I couldn’t have written Low and ‘Heroes’ if it hadn’t been for Berlin and the kind of atmosphere I felt there, the zeitgeist,” Bowie said. “And London was Ziggy Stardust. That was such a London thing. I don’t think the character of Ziggy or the music that came with it could’ve been written at that time in America. So I guess I’m really battered around by the currents of the place that I’m in.”

 

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But despite all his various sounds and identities, Bowie told 60 Minutes that his music came down to a few essential questions.

“Taking away the theatrics and the costuming and the outer layer, I’m a writer,” Bowie said. “I started examining the subject matter I write about, and it really only boils down to a few songs based around loneliness to an extent, coupled with isolation, some kind of spiritual search, and a looking for a way into communicating with other people. And that’s about it. That’s all I’ve written about for 40 years. It hasn’t really changed. I’ve dressed it in different ways throughout my life. Trying to find a different approach each time, trying to find another way into the questions by kind of disarming them, creeping up on them as somebody else or whatever.”

Watch all the clips at 60 Minutes Overtime.

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