Legendary singer-songwriter David Bowie became fascinated by pop art icon Andy Warhol after he attended the screening of Andy Warhol’s play, Pork in London in 1971. Even though he didn’t meet Andy at the time, he was so inspired by the artist’s creative spirit that he released the song “Andy Warhol” as a single for his fourth studio album, Hunky Dory.
Bowie and Warhol finally met in September, 1971. Hunky Dory was a few months away from release, and Bowie wanted to perform “Andy Warhol” for the man himself. He was ushered into the Factory in full androgynous Bowie gear; “huge Oxford bags-style trousers, a floppy hat, and Mary Janes with one red sock and one blue”, according to writer Glenn O’Brien. Bowie performed a mime routine, followed by his song. None of the Factory crowd knew quite what to make of him, but by all accounts they were very polite.
The two greats never met again, though Andy allegedly attended a concert during the Ziggy Stardust era and adored the glamour of it. Bowie later played the part of his hero in the 1996 film Basquiat, wearing one of Andy’s original, iconic wigs. Both men remain connected through their art – their lives and work revolved around the concepts of identity, appearance, celebrity and glamour. Though we’ll sadly never know what a collaboration between the two would’ve looked like, a short video does exist of their brief encounter, in which Warhol took a Polaroid photo of Bowie’s Mary Janes.