Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

David Bowie’s 1979 SNL appearance was an artistic “fuck you” to convention

David Bowie performed on Saturday Night Live a few times over the course of his career, but his best and most revered turn on the Studio 8H stage came in 1979, when he acted as the musical guest alongside host Martin Sheen. Flanked by singers and artists Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias, Bowie flounced through songs like “The Man Who Sold The World” and “Boys Keep Swinging,” the latter of which featured a nude puppet wielding a giant puppet dick. Though an official streaming version of the performances seems to be lost to the annals of the internet, there are a few watchable bootlegs floating around, including the one below. As viewers will see, the three short performances are equal parts art piece and musical endeavor, with Bowie, Arias, and Nomi really going for it both conceptually and sonically. It’s quintessential Bowie, and a must watch for anyone mourning the fallen icon.

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David Bowie - SNL - 1979 from E.J. Friedman on Vimeo.

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