David Bowie filmed an appearance on the Dutch TV show Top Pop on 13 February 1974, miming to his forthcoming single ‘Rebel Rebel’.
The performance was filmed at the AVRO studios in Hilversum. It was broadcast on 18 February, and later released on the 2002 DVD Best Of Bowie.
Bowie was suffering from a bout of conjunctivitis, and wore an eyepatch over the afflicted eye – meaning that his permanently-dilated iris received the full glare of the studio lights.
I had conjunctivitis so I made the most of it and dressed like a pirate. Just stopped short of the parrot. I had this most incredible jacket that I was wearing that night. It was a bottle-green bolero jacket that Freddie made for me, and he got an artist to paint, using the appliqué technique, this supergirl from a Russian comic [Octobriana] on the back. But I took the jacket off during the press conference and somebody stole it. I was really pissed off.
Q magazine, May 1993
In 2013, Dutch writer Elly de Waard confessed that she had stolen the jacket. She had, she explained, been aggrieved that Bowie declined her interview request, despite reportedly being instrumental in Bowie receiving an Edison Award earlier that day.
Bowie also wore bright red dungarees for the Top Pop appearance, and his new pirate glam image was duly copied by a legion of fans. He also held – and occasionally pretended to play – an unplugged matching red Hagström Kent guitar during the show.
Also on this day...
- 1976: Live: Sports Arena, San Diego
- 1974: Edison Awards, Amsterdam
- 1973: David Bowie sees The Rockettes live
- 1971: Travel: San Francisco to Los Angeles
- 1970: Awards: Disc & Music Echo
- 1965: Live: Davie Jones and the Manish Boys, California Ballroom, Dunstable
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.