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Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr pay tribute to David Bowie

The two surviving Beatles have paid tribute to David Bowie, who died of cancer on Sunday 10 January 2016.

David Bowie with cutouts of The Beatles from Yellow Submarine

Paul McCartney posted a tribute message on his website and on Twitter, accompanied by a photo by Linda McCartney of the two men. It read:

Very sad news to wake up to on this raining morning. David was a great star and I treasure the moments we had together. His music played a very strong part in British musical history and I’m proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world.

I send my deepest sympathies to his family and will always remember the great laughs we had through the years. His star will shine in the sky forever.

Paul McCartney


Ringo Starr’s tribute was characteristically brief. On Twitter he posted a short message saying: “God bless David Bowie peace and love to all his family”.



The links between Bowie and the Beatles were many and varied. Best known are his collaborations with John Lennon for the Young Americans album (1975). Lennon joined Bowie in the studio for a cover version of ‘Across The Universe’, and with guitarist Carlos Alomar they wrote and recorded Bowie’s smash hit Fame. The title track of Young Americans also contained a paraphrase from ‘A Day In The Life’: “I heard the news today, oh boy”.

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Prior to that, Starr appeared in the 1973 concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars: The Motion Picture, in a non-performing role.

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On 20 June 1986 McCartney introduced Bowie and Mick Jagger for a performance of Dancing In The Street for the Prince’s Trust 10th anniversary concert. Although the performance was not part of the original broadcast, it was filmed and later posted on YouTube:

Bowie recorded George Harrison’s song Try Some, Buy Some on the Reality album (2003). The song was written by Harrison for Ronnie Spector, around the time of 1970’s All Things Must Pass.

Bowie did not realise at first that the song was by Harrison. “I got it because I was totally ga-ga over Ronnie Spector,” he said in 2003. “I always thought she was absolutely fantastic.”

For me it was a Ronnie Spector song. It never really occurred to me that I was actually covering a George Harrison song … it’s rather fitting and quite lovely that it is an unwitting tribute to George.
David Bowie, 2003

Perhaps the earliest link between the two acts is that in 1963 Bowie’s first group, The Konrads, had an unsuccessful audition at the Decca Records studio where the year before The Beatles also failed to impress the label.

Bowie’s eponymous debut album was released on 1 June 1967, on the same day as Sgt Pepper. It was not a critical or commercial success. Several months later Bowie submitted demo recordings to Apple, although again he failed to have an impact.

In 1976 Bowie recorded the Low album. Its best-known song, Sound And Vision, featured Mary Visconti on vocals. She was previously Mary Hopkin, and was one of Apple Records’ most high-profile artists.

Last updated: 15 April 2016
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  1. Daniël Wolfpack Monday 11 April 2016
    • Joe Friday 15 April 2016

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