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Simon Napier-Bell: Don’t You Know Who I Am?

David Bowie @ hammersmith Odeon, 1973 (click for more)




Simon Napier-Bell: “The world of rock is full of stories about well-known people visiting gigs and getting slung out – usually by a security guard who doesn’t realise who they are.


In 1982, when Japan played their last gig – six consecutive nights at Hammersmith Odeon – David Bowie turned up at my invitation. At the car park entrance he opened the back window of his limo and told the security guard, “I’m David Bowie.”


“And I’m President Reagan,” the security guard said. “So fuck off!”


Which is what Bowie did.


In 1984 I was in Miami with Wham!, making the video for Careless Whisper. George and Andrew wanted to see Culture Club who were playing at a nearby venue. When our tour manager called and asked for a couple of comps the answer that came back from Boy George was much the same as the security guard at Hammersmith. Though in this case he knew who he was turning away.


For a year or so in the late eighties I managed CC Catch, a big star in Germany. For recording, she’d signed to Dieter Bohlen, half of Modern Talking, and had sold millions of records around Europe and Asia. She was particularly big in Russia and during the first month I managed her we went there for a concert in Moscow – televised, and in a large auditorium.


Afterwards there was a knock on the dressing-room door and when I opened it there were two bouncers, big and broken-nosed, with an equally large man standing between them. They tried to come in but I banged the door shut. Inside I picked up the key, slightly opened the door again, and slid outside. This time I recognized the one in the middle, it was Boris Yeltsin.


“The Mayor wants to come in and meet CC,” said one of the bouncers.


“She’s changing at the moment.”


Boris held out an autograph book. “For grand-daughter Masha.”


I unlocked the door and let myself back in. When CC came out of the shower I told her, “Boris Yeltsin wants to say hello.”


She shook her head. She was wet and her hair was a mess, so I handed her the autograph book and told her, “Sign it to Masha.” Then took it outside.


They were standing patiently, not at all agitated. “She’s showering,” I told them. “It’s not a good moment,” and I handed Boris his autograph book.


When he looked at CC’s signature a big smile spread over his face and he gave me a V-sign. Amazing really! If I’d been an opposition politician he’d have stomped all over me. For a pop star’s signature he was just a silly schoolboy.”


Simon Napier- Bell’s next book is TA-RA-RA-BOOM-DE-AY a complete history of the music business.


Pledge now by ordering a copy here











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