David Bowie and NJ: He loved to sing about Uncle Floyd (WATCH)
Here's the thing about living in New Jersey — somehow, we're connected to everything and everyone.
That was true of David Bowie, whose death we mourn and whose life we celebrate today, after he lost a battle to cancer Sunday.
Thinking back on the hugely influential pop and rock innovator's catalogue, we're reminded of "Slip Away" — a song that pays homage to another creative, experimental and slightly odd musical artist, New Jersey's own Uncle Floyd.
As detailed by Rolling Stone in its "20 Insanely Great David Bowie Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know," "Slip Away" made its public debut on 2002's "Heathen," though it was originally recorded for the never-formally-released "Toy."
"It's a gut-wrenching tune about the passage of time, built around references to the 1970s children's show Uncle Floyd," Rolling Stone writes. "It was a nightly highlight on the 2003/'04 Reality Tour."
The song references characters from Floyd Vivino’s long-running, low-budget, not-quite-for-kids TV show, like the puppets Oogie and Bones Boy.
And Bowie sings to the man himself:
Don't forget / to keep your head warm / Twinkle twinkle Uncle Floyd
Watching all the world / and war torn / How I wonder where you are
Sailing over / Coney Island / Twinkle twinkle Uncle Floyd
We were dumb / but you were fun, boy / How I wonder where you are
"Back in the late '70s, everyone that I knew would rush home at a certain point in the afternoon to catch the Uncle Floyd show," Bowie wrote in journals published on his website, and recounted again here. "He was on UHF Ch: 68 and the show looked like it was done out of his living room in New Jersey. All his pals were involved and it was a hoot."
NJArts.net's Jay Lustig recalled last year Bowie told him in 2002 that John Lennon introduced him to Floyd's show.
"It had that Soupy Sales kind of appeal and though ostensibly aimed at kids, I knew so many people of my age who just wouldn’t miss it," Bowie wrote on his site. "We would be on the floor it was so funny."
If you've never seen Floyd in action, he's still performing — and always with a little Jersey zest.