British Music

David Bowie Celebrates His Birthday By Releasing First New Music in Ten Years

British rock icon David Bowie turns 66 today (January 8) and originally this was just going to be an excuse for me to post a lot of videos of my favorite Bowie songs and gush about my favorite personas (if you’re curious it’s a toss up between the Thin White Duke and whatever we’re calling bizarre electronica Bowie from the Outside era in the 90s.) But, this is SO much cooler than that.

For the first time in a decade, Bowie is releasing a brand new album this spring! YES, REALLY. The announcement was made suddenly on his official website early this morning, complete with album details, a track list and a new song.

Best day ever? It’s possible (or at least until I get a Sherlock Series 2 airdate at any rate). The new album is called The Next Day and is produced by longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, who handled Space Oddity, Heroes, Scary Monsters and Heathen, amongst other things. The record is due to drop on March 12, but you can give the first single “Where Are We Now?” a listen right now.

Roll Up for the Mystery Tour

This is a guest post from Nick Scalera, resident music enthusiast and part-time history buff here on WETA's digital team. He writes more regularly over at Boundary Stones, our local history blog focused on the Washington, DC area.

Magical Mystery Tour, the surrealistic 1967 Beatles TV special shown only in the U.K., will finally premiere on TV in the States — 45 years later, newly restored, in December on PBS stations. The film was originally broadcast in black and white on BBC One on Boxing Day 1967 to a family audience expecting a frothy entertainment in the style of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!. It followed a Petula Clark special and preceded a Norman Wisdom feature film.

While the music itself had been rapturously received in the form of a double EP already high in the U.K. charts, the response to the “film” from TV critics and the majority of the 15 million adult viewers was negative to the point of downright vitriolic. As a result, the film was never nationally broadcast in the U.S. and had only limited distribution elsewhere.

The U.S. telecast will premiere on WETA TV26 & HD, on Dec. 21, at 9:00 pm and will be part of an exclusive double feature, accompanied by a new documentary, Magical Mystery Tour Revisited, featuring the history of the bizarre project, as well as snippets of outtakes.

So, why it this big deal? Read on.

Listen to Adele’s New Bond Theme for Skyfall

Adele, eight-time Grammy winner and artist that generally everyone appears to be obsessed with at the moment, has released her brand new single, which also happens to be the theme to the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall. (By the way, if you weren’t aware, it’s also Global James Bond Day today, so the timing on this is pretty perfect.)

A snippet of the new theme appeared online last week, but you can listen to the full track now. It sounds very much like some of the classic Bond themes from the sixties, which I suppose is appropriate not only for the sort of singer Adele is but also because it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the Bond franchise. Click through to take a listen for yourself!