Iggy Pop & David Bowie :: Shades (1986)

While tracing the collaborative history of Iggy Pop and David Bowie, you inevitably end at Iggy Pop’s 1986 album, Blah-Blah-Blah and its third single, “Shades.” According to the liner notes, the album was produced and co-written by Bowie, but the larger story – the one dipped in gossip and swirled in rock ’n roll folklore – is that Blah-Blah-Blah is a repurposing of throwaway material from Bowie’s ill-fated Tonight sessions, calling into question the classic Bowie/Pop paradox: is it Iggy Pop singing a David Bowie song? Or is it David Bowie producing an Iggy Pop song?

The Unofficial Bowie: The Later Years

In the late 1970s, after getting his financial house in relative order, David Bowie had a firmer grip on his studio recordings than many of his contemporaries. While Bob Dylan’s outtakes and demos would keep trickling out on bootlegs for years, the “unofficial” Bowie releases, 1976-2016, with some exceptions (see below), are greatly confined to concert tapes.