33 episodes

Off the Record is a new in-depth music biography series that profiles the extraordinary life of an iconic artist over the course of each season. Music journalist Jordan Runtagh (People, Rolling Stone, EW and VH1) offers a revelatory look at the human behind the hits through rich, dramatic storytelling, extensive research, and interviews with those who knew them best. You know the songs, now meet the legends.  

Off The Record: David Bowie iHeartRadio

    • Music
    • 4.7 • 144 Ratings

Off the Record is a new in-depth music biography series that profiles the extraordinary life of an iconic artist over the course of each season. Music journalist Jordan Runtagh (People, Rolling Stone, EW and VH1) offers a revelatory look at the human behind the hits through rich, dramatic storytelling, extensive research, and interviews with those who knew them best. You know the songs, now meet the legends.  

    Epilogue: Lazarus (2013-2016)

    Epilogue: Lazarus (2013-2016)

    Our final episode on the life (or lives) of David Bowie begins and ends with a birthday. We start in 2013, when David reentered public life nearly a decade after his heart attack with the surprise release of “Where Are We Now," his first new song in a decade. It was one of the most stunning comebacks in music history. Most fans assumed that David had simply retired from the industry, content to live out the rest of his days as a father, husband, and anonymous New Yorker. Instead, he'd recorded an entire album of new material called 'The Next Day' entirely in secret. Even at age 66, he still had the power to shock. The story concludes with 'Blackstar.' Released the day David turned 69 in January of 2016, it’s an album that many believe was his parting gift as he faced down the illness that would claim his body two days later. Was this a knowing goodbye? We'll examine the evidence and conflicting theories. Intentional or not, it’s a fitting farewell — one that highlights David's creative daring and his absolute fearlessness.
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    • 1 hr 28 min
    Bonus Episode: Bowie's Guitarist Carlos Alomar on Recording 'Young Americans' and the Berlin Trilogy, Co-Writing 'Fame' and Funking Up David's Music for 30 Years

    Bonus Episode: Bowie's Guitarist Carlos Alomar on Recording 'Young Americans' and the Berlin Trilogy, Co-Writing 'Fame' and Funking Up David's Music for 30 Years

    We’re taking a brief break from the story this week. (We’ll be back with our final chapter on David Bowie on Monday, May 3rd!) But today we have something very special in store: a conversation with Carlos Alomar — a funk guitar icon, and one of David’s most crucial musical collaborators. He cut his teeth in the late ‘60s as one of the youngest players ever in the Apollo Theater’s house band, leading to stints backing James Brown, Chuck Berry and Wilson Pickett, all while still in his teens. 
    Carlos’ influence helped inspire David to take his famous trip to Philadelphia in 1974 to record the soul-steeped ‘Young Americans’ record. To get the sound, David tapped Carlos, who in turn assembled a group of top shelf funk musicians that included his wife, vocalist Robin Clark, and an old schoolfriend named Luther Vandross. So began a musical partnership that would last almost thirty years. Carlos played on 11 of David’s albums, including classics like ’Station to Station,’ ‘the Berlin Trilogy, and ‘Scary Monster (and Super Creeps),’ and cowrote his first American number one, “Fame.” More importantly, he was a loyal friend throughout his life. 
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    • 55 min
    Bonus Episode: Bassist Gail Ann Dorsey Reflects on Her Decade-Long Music Journey with David Bowie

    Bonus Episode: Bassist Gail Ann Dorsey Reflects on Her Decade-Long Music Journey with David Bowie

    Our latest chapter covered David Bowie’s creative renaissance in the ‘90s and early 2000s. The records that he made in this period are often overlooked but rank among the most experimental of his career, as he rejoined formative ‘70s collaborators like Brian Eno and Tony Visconti to create some of the most daring music he ever made. But one crucial collaborator during this period was new to Bowie’s circle — bassist Gail Ann Dorsey. Over the years she’s worked with everyone from Lenny Kravitz, Gang of Four and Olivia Newton John to Boy George, Tears for Fears and the Indigo Girls, not to mention her own solo work. (Definitely check out her 1988 debut LP called ‘The Corporate World’!) Her partnership with Bowie began with a call out of the blue. It was 1995 and he was looking for a bassist to join the tour to promote ‘1. Outside.’ He had seen Dorsey performing on British television seven years earlier (!) and had never forgotten her. She accompanied him on every tour for the rest of his life, and played on the albums 'Earthling,' 'Reality' and, most thrillingly, his secret comeback album 'The Next Day.'
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Chapter Twelve: Heathen (1987-2004)

    Chapter Twelve: Heathen (1987-2004)

    Today we’re looking at Bowie the Rock ‘n’ Roll Elder Statesman. Throughout the ‘90s, he continued to change and challenge, inspiring new generations with his work. Far be it from David to go gently into middle age. In this era, he produced later-career gems like '1. Outside,' 'The Buddha of Suburbia' and 'Heathen,' reconvening with creative partners like Brian Eno and Tony Visconti. But more than ever, he enjoyed life outside of the spotlight. David had a second chance at marriage and fatherhood, and was deliriously happy in both. He’d faced his demons and won. Now he faced his own mortality. And that would be a much more difficult battle.
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    • 1 hr 35 min
    'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Muppet Icon Steve Whitmire Recalls His Time on Set with Bowie, and His 26 Years as Kermit the Frog

    'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Muppet Icon Steve Whitmire Recalls His Time on Set with Bowie, and His 26 Years as Kermit the Frog

    Today’s ‘Labyrinth’ Week guest is puppeteer Steve Whitmire, who performed several characters in this beloved film — including one of the fiery figures in the “Chilly Down” dance sequence, and (my favorite) Ambrosius, the trusty dog of Sir Didymus. But these roles, impressive though they are, are just a minuscule part of his resume. If you know anything about Muppet history, then this man needs no introduction. For 26 years he was the voice and soul of Kermit the Frog. And don’t forget Ernie (of Bert and Ernie fame), Rizzo the Rat, Bean Bunny, Wembley Fraggle, Statler (of Statler and Waldorf fame), Beaker — the list goes on and on. Jordan spoke with Steve about the Muppets, the cosmic philosophy of puppetry, whether or not it’s actually easy being green, and, of course, his unforgettable encounters with Bowie on the set of ‘Labyrinth.’
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Conceptual Designer Brian Froud on Creating the World of Goblin City — and Jareth's Notorious Pants

    'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Conceptual Designer Brian Froud on Creating the World of Goblin City — and Jareth's Notorious Pants

    This week on 'Off the Record,' we're playing special tribute to Jim Henson's 1986 film 'Labyrinth,' the beloved cult classic that introduced David Bowie to generations of kids. We're kicking off the festivities with conceptual designer Brian Froud, the man who imagined world of 'Labyrinth.' A legendary illustrator and painter, the movie began with Brian’s drawings of goblins, monsters and surreal landscapes. These visions formed the basis for the film’s script, written by Monty Python veteran Terry Jones. Brian helped oversee the construction of elaborate character puppets along with his wife Wendy, a famed sculptor and puppet maker perhaps best known for fabricating Yoda for the Star Wars series. And they were also joined on the set by their baby son Toby, the child abducted by Jareth the Goblin King (aka David Bowie). Brian put his heart, soul and firstborn into this film, so it seemed only write that we kick off 'Labyrinth' Week with him.
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    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
144 Ratings

144 Ratings

asomewhereplace ,

Excellent.

Very well done and a good companion to listening to Bowie’s catalogue. The interviews are great and really rounded the whole thing out for me.

Griffy269 ,

Stunningly done

Riveting and addictive. Jordan is an incredible researcher... and master storyteller. Each episode is a gem in and of itself. I was completely engrossed from beginning to end and am blown away by quality of this podcast.
Already chomping at the bit to hear Jordan’s next musical biography.

MagWinLum ,

Love

I have enjoyed this so much! And the interviews of ppl who once knew him or worked with him are beyond special! Would love if Iman could be on

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