The latest chapter of ‘Off the Record’ opens with David Bowie’s first trip to the United States in January of 1971. The arrival was a triumph for David — until he was detained by customs officials for his feminine clothes. He received a warmer welcome Ron Oberman, his press agent set to greet him by his label, Mercury Records. Ron was joined by his entire family — his mom, his dad, and his younger brother, music journalist Michael Oberman. The Oberman’s welcomed the young, unknown singer into their family, sharing their suburban home and taking him out for a meal at a local steakhouse.
David’s first night in the States has gone down in Bowie legend as an important early step in his journey to global superstardom. The trip is the plot of a new film, Stardust, a movie that has been deemed controversial for its liberal reinterpretation of historical events. Ron Oberman, an instrumental force in Bowie’s early career, died in 2019. But his brother Michael recounted the famous visit in his new book, Fast Forward, Play and Rewind. A memoir of sorts, the book also collects Michael’s interviews with over a hundred rock legends ranging from Janis Joplin and James Brown to the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Leon Russell, Emitt Rhodes, Little Feat — and of course David.
Jordan spoke with Michael about his remarkable career as a music journalist, and that special night with David Bowie in his parents living room back in 1971.
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