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A chance encounter

WL man recalls interviewing David Bowie some 50 years ago


It’s easy to miss history when you’re living it.

West Linn resident Tony Perry knows this firsthand. Some 50 years ago, when Perry was working as an editor at the Beckenham and Penge Advertiser newspaper in South London, a skinny young musician walked through the door in search of some local publicity.

His name was David Bowie.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Tony Perry was working as an editor at the Beckenham and Penge Advertiser newspaper in London when a young David Bowie walked through the door.

A native of the nearby borough of Brixton, Bowie had not yet achieved worldwide fame. As Perry recalls, Bowie was a young man looking for any way to get his name out in the world.

“He was well on the road (to fame), but he felt a little pub from the local paper would help,” Perry said. “I was happy to oblige. ... He was nice enough of a person: young, slim, but nothing else I can remember.

“This was 50 years ago, so I can barely remember it really.”

At the time, Perry knew nothing of Bowie’s music. The interview was conducted in the front office of the newspaper, and though Perry doesn’t remember specifics, he said the article amounted to little more than “a few paragraphs.”

“I wasn’t really into that music, but obviously a lot of people were,” Perry said. “It’s a pity it was 50 years ago, and not more recent.”

The memories, of course, were brought roaring back when Bowie passed away Jan. 10 at the age of 69.

“It’s very sad, his passing,” Perry said. “When people walk in the office, you never know what their future will hold for them.