Johnny Flynn has released the first track from forthcoming David Bowie origin story Stardust, in which the singer and actor plays the chameleonic legend on the 1971 tour of America where the seeds of Ziggy Stardust were first sown.
The glam acoustic track, ‘Good Ol’ Jane’, was written by Flynn to emulate Bowie’s love of The Velvet Underground and was intended to sound like “an early, lost [Bowie] song that people haven’t heard”.
“This was the first time I was writing a song as the character,” Johnny Flynn told NME, “You can hear BBC sessions from this period and live radio sessions and you can tell what an influence early Velvet Underground records were, he was often trying to copy Lou’s voice as well.
“‘The Man Who Sold The World’ was getting knocked quite a lot at the time so he was often not playing songs from it, he was covering Jacques Brel and The Velvet Underground and things like that, it’s quite nice to think that he was running away from his own work.
“I was obsessed with The Velvet Underground in my early 20s – still am – they were such a landmark thing, more than David Bowie really. So doing my research and preparation as David and then trying to channel The Velvet Underground was easier than one would think. I’m not saying it sounds like it, but I felt that energy of somebody wanting to emulate something.”
Stardust, which was due to be premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival but received a digital premiere instead, focuses on Bowie’s disastrous 1971 US tour in the wake of the poor reception of his 1970 album ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, when visa issues prevented him from playing his planned shows, but extra-terrestrial inspiration struck in the form of Ziggy Stardust.
Directed by Gabriel Range (Death Of A President), it co-stars Jenna Malone as Angie Bowie and Marc Maron as Ron Oberman, the American press agent determined to drag success from the jaws of failure. You can read NME’s review here.
Stardust, produced by Salon Pictures and Wilding Pictures, is yet to nail down a release date, but it is expected to hit cinemas later this year.