Wednesday, February 11, 2009

BQRH #14: "When I Live My Dream" (David Bowie)

Dear audience,

BQ is shy as always, but has been noticing you for a very long time (I am stunned, flattered and thankful at the counter progress of the last few days). I think you're pretty and funny, so I would like to ask you to spend Valentine's day with me and my blog. Here's my first gift, indeed...couldn't wait any longer to give it to you... :-)

Originally from his first (1967) self-titled album, David Bowie included "When I Live My Dream" also on the soundtrack of two films he worked at the time during the second half of the sixties: "The Looking-Glass Murders" and "Love You Till Tuesday". During this period, Bowie was merely a budding musician, mostly a mime/visual performer, and for a period of five years tried to make a chart appearance, without much success. Only in 1969 he would enter the charts with his exquisite "Space Oddity", and wouldn't experience proper worldwide success and recognition until 1972, when his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego first emerged. It was a long way from 1967....

"When I Live My Dream" shares the naïvety of much of his material at the time. The music, if pleasant, doesn't seem too memorable to these ears. But the lyric is the most beautiful plea from a not-corresponded (or worse, not-corresponded any more) lover you are likely to experience.

Young David depicts a loving scene where he invites his beloved one to his dream of living in a castle with happy servants, golden horse-riding and dragon-slaughter activities. Nothing too inviting, right? But wait...

After the cheesy first verse and bridge, we get to more interesting things:

"When I live my dream, I'll forgive the things you've told me
and the empty man you left behind;
It's a broken heart that dreams, it's a broken heart you left me!
Only love can live in my dream

So this guy was left by the girl. And despite this, he keeps dreaming about her. Although the subject has been covered a million times, it's getting interesting. However, the real meat (and proper climax) of the song rests not too far ahead:

"Till the day my dream cascades around me
I'm content to let you pass me by
Till that day, you'll run to many other men
But let them know it's just for now
Tell them that I've got a dream
And tell them you're the starring role
Tell them I'm a dreaming kind of guy
And I'm going to make my dream
Tell them I will live my dream
Tell them they can laugh at me
But don't forget your date with me
When I live my dream

What a storming statement, isn't it? He implicitly "allows" her to go to other men in the interim (yeah, if she was going to ask for his permission), as long as it's understood it's something momentary... the dream of happiness lays ahead for both our hero and his lady, no matter how fool the rest of the world might think he is. Why do fools fall in love, indeed?

Happy Valentine's day!

Lovingly yours,


  1. Hola Bernardo,
    Ya ni me acordaba de esta canción! Me parece un poquito "desordenada" para ser de amor, pero evidentemente deja ver el enorme talento de Bowie y se escuchan algunas de las sonoridades y frases musicales que después desarrollaría magistralmente.

    Un abrazo


  2. Gracias, amigo....

    De hecho, le había dicho a tu hermano que este San Valentín estaba algo de Bowie '67 programado. Ojalá que estés disfrutando el blog, que ahora sí estoy updateando bien bien seguido.

    150 visitas en 5 días no dejan de sorprenderme :)

    Un abrazo,