A rebuttal to the April 8 Pop Eye column: David Bowie has not sold out, as the column implied, by setting up a 900 line for fans to vote for songs that he should perform in his upcoming U.S. concert tour. All profits from the 900 request number go to the Save the Children charity.
In regard to the attempt of the British publication New Musical Express to prompt Bowie to sing "The Laughing Gnome" by "fixing" the telephone voting: Bowie was originally going to perform the song in concert until he (I quote from a Melody Maker interview) "found out all the voting had been a scam . . . perpetrated by another music paper . . . that was an end to that. I can't pander to the press, can I?"
As a result of what Pop Eye called Bowie's "crass" phone line, concert-goers in the United Kingdom are being treated to obscure classics like "Queen Bitch, Be My Wife, Stay" that he otherwise would not have played.
A media spokesman for Bowie's tour confirmed that the 900 number in the United States will benefit Save the Children. Callers to 900 numbers are billed a fee in excess of the normal toll charges.