Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story Directed and Produced by Jon Brewer
Documentary featuring David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Angie Bowie, Ian Hunter
Voiceover by David Bowie
Emperor Media Ltd
Theatrical Release date: September 1, 2017 (Limited) Blu-ray Release (via Mvd Visual): October 13, 2017
A new documentary on Mick Ronson, the late guitar player who was one of the key figures in the early success of David Bowie when he became a superstar in the early 1970s, has been recently released called Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story. The film, which includes voiceover by Bowie (who passed away in early 2016), attempts to give more of a spotlight to a man who in essence lived in Bowie’s shadow, something which unfortunately also happens here in this documentary, whether it was intentional or not in its presentment.
Fans of classic rock and roll and David Bowie and Genesis in particular, are going to have reasons to rejoice. It appears that the film taken of The Atomic Sunrise Festival, which took place in London’s famed Roundhouse Club during March 1970, has been unearthed. The Festival has pretty much been all but forgotten about in the shadows of a music fan’s recall as larger festivals during that time like Woodstock and Isle of Wight are more firmly planted in one’s consciousness. Until now.
What’s even more mindblowing about this film are the guises David Bowie and Genesis are in during that time. Bowie was just making the switch from being a poor man’s Donovan/Syd Barrett with his records in which his musical style was decidedly pagan and folksy, and decided to amp things up a little bit more with the addition of a new guitarist he just was able to corral at the time, the late Mick Ronson, who turned out to be a key figure in the birth of glam music and the glam sounds in particular. With Bowie and even Tony Visconti, the American producer who also gave a perfect amount of musical shellac as the producer of Bowie’s subsequent releases after this gig and T-Rex and many others, the lineup, called The Hype, probably sounds like anything but, as will now be evidenced when the film is released. If anything, the band should act as an on-ramp to the glam land Bowie wound up residing in for the next couple of years, propelling his way to superstardom.
For his birthday today we remember the late Mick Ronson, who was a force in rock and roll as a session guitarist, best remembered for his work on some classic David Bowie albums.
Born in 1946, Michael “Mick” Ronson hailed from England and bounced around local bands in his youth in the 1960s before he finally hit pay dirt landing a gig with Elton John, playing guitar on his “Madman Across the Water” song from John’s Tumbleweed Connection sessions. That song remained unreleased and later became the name of an Elton John album, but it put Ronson in more of a high profile in the music community as a result. Following this, he crossed paths with David Bowie and was the lead guitarist on Bowie’s records The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, and Bowie’s 1972 breakthrough release The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. Ronson was one of the Spiders From Mars and his guitar sound lent as much to the Bowie glam rock/hard rock/early punk sound that has been often associated with Bowie throughout that time.