At age 17 David Bowie (not the name he was using at that time) joined up with a group called the King Bees and cut his first single song. Having started this series of postings with his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we know the story turns out well. But, like many success stories, this one starts out with a failure. Actually, many failures.
Bowie chose to sing “Liza Jane.” This was an old song, first noted as being sung by slaves in the Louisiana plantations before the U.S. Civil War. Many variants of the song name and words have been recorded. “Liza Jane” was also a popular stage name used in various stage shows. With simple lyrics, and a long-standing exposure, it seems to have been a poor choice as a ‘break-through’ song.
Bowie had a t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return on May 30, 1964. His birth location, near London, is used for this chart. In those days, recording sessions by small bands were quick and short productions. This chart covered the days prior to the release of Liza Jane when Bowie and those in the band were anxious about the release on June 5th, 1964. Let us look at that chart.
Here, I have placed the full chart as it appears on my computer screen, with the chart data shown on the right side. This chart is produced on Kepler, version 8. t/Moon-n/Sun in the 11th. The theme for this house location is, “Contributing to joint ventures having a public benefit. Training others, supporting creatie efforts of others. Launching or completing a financial venture. Teamwork. Changes in the financial structure of a career. Seeking to include other in the community.” This is appropriate.
t/Sun is an important indicator in these Return charts of one’s intent and focus of actions taken, here in the 3rd house conjoining n/N.Node. Bowie is reaching out to others, trying to make a connection through his song. This t/Sun widely opposses his n/MC-n/Venus, while squaring t/Uranus-t/Pluto-Desc.; these opposing t/Saturn near the Ascendant. Not a happy pattern. Since n/Sun has no strong, positive contacts with these outer planets, t/Sun seems unprepared to deal with them. Especially since t/Sun is not in an angular house while the ‘heavies’ are angular.
t/PoF conjoins n/Neptune in the overly large 7th house (two signs); dreams are broken with this connection. n/PoF squares t/Mercury-t/Mars, planets which befriend n/Sun in the natal chart, so this weakens the t/Sun further. Finally, we should note that n/Asc. opposes n/Moon; a life-long desire to reach out and touch others.
In the above chart, note that only the date has been changed. The chart’s calculation time remains the same. This is how we can diurnally advance the Return chart. The release date for Liza Jane was June 5, 1964. For a small band, for David Bowie, this day was one of anticipation and nervousness. Would dreams be realized? Would their efforts received recognition? Would revenues be such that more songs could be produced? Would this day provide the answers to those questions? No. It would take several days or more to see if the public responded to this effort.
The Advanced chart shows some changes of significance have taken place in the last six days. t/Sun has advanced into a T-square pattern with n/Uranus, squaring an opposition between t/Chiron in the first and t/Pluto-Desc. We can see ‘intent’ (Sun) as being challenged by how others relate to the past (Pluto) and an adapted song melody-lyric arrangement (Chiron). Note that these are all transits. The only link to the natal chart is t/Sun-n/Uranus, as Bowie tries to put his own individuality on the song presentation. The n/Sun’s partners, Mars and Mercury, are behind the t/Sun in the second house of self-esteem, squaring n/PoF. t/PoF is in the tenth and opposing t/N.Node. Reaching out to others with this song adaptation wasn’t much of a sure thing. We see t/Uranus (note t/Sun-n./Uranus) squaring n/MC-n/Venus; this is a challenge to Bowies rendition of the song.
This is not a positive chart for releasing a song, especially a song that only had an individualistic rendition to carry its familiar and previously over-adapted versions to a public already exposed to a changing music scene.
Following this event, David changed band affiliations and released several songs. “I pity the Fool” and “You have a habit of leaving” were two, produced with the Manish Boys and Lower Third bands. It is a tribute to being young and knowing you have talent that allowed him to persist after several failures. It would be five years before commercial success would be attached to his songs. We will cover that in another post. Dave.