In many bands, there’s an unsung hero. Although there are steps to recognize the talents of the individual, often the shadow cast by the big star is far too dark to allow much light to shine for recognition. One of the easy ones to recognize is Mick Ronson.
Mick Ronson played for David Bowie in Bowie’s early fame, Ziggy era. Afterwards, Mick Ronson took calculated steps to become a star in his own right. Certainly, he possessed the guitar skills. Mick Ronson released two RCA albums, Slaughter On 10th Avenue (with an interesting cover of “Love Me Tender”), and Play Don’ Worry (with an equally interesting cover of “White Light, White Heat”).
On June 8, a somewhat unbalanced but well-intentioned overview of the career of Mick Ronson will be released. It is (unfairly and for market’s sake) called Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story. There are fourteen tracks found here that draw from sessions work, his tenure with Bowie, and with Ian Hunter, and a dose of music from his posthumous release of Heaven and Hull. To be fair, Ronson’s reach scattered further than this collection would have you believe.
I say all this as I’m a fierce Mick Ronson fan who believes that he deserves better a remembrance than this weak set delivers, soundtrack or not. Nevertheless, while I might advise against this purchase (and I would), it is better than nothing, recognition-wise. While an enclosed booklet might do better justice, the musical offerings (and album/documentary title) are merely a marketing undercurrent designed to pull you in.
In the end, you have to choose as you will if Mick Ronson’s story interests you. Otherwise, I’d say wait for a better collection (something that Omnivore, Real Gone Music, Cherry Red, or another dedicated label could provide.
Despite all this, it is, in the end, a soundtrack to a documentary that airs on Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It’s also available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story
01 – All The Young Dudes (Live) – with Queen, Ian Hunter, David Bowie, Joe Elliott, Phil Collins at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert For AIDS Awareness, April 20, 1992 at Wembley Stadium, London
02 – Soulful Lady (with Michael Chapman on Fully Qualified Survivor (1970))
03 – Madman Across The Water (with Elton John on Rare Masters (1992))
04 – Moonage Daydream (with David Bowie on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972))
05 – Cracked Actor (with David Bowie on Aladdin Sane (1973))
06 – Time (with David Bowie on Aladdin Sane (1973))
07 – Once Bitten, Twice Shy (with Ian Hunter on Ian Hunter (1975))
08 – I’d Give Anything To See You (Just Like This (1999))
09 – Hard Life (Just Like This (1999))
10 – Midnight Love (Heaven and Hull (1994))
11 – Like A Rolling Stone (Heaven and Hull (1994))
12 – This Is For You (with Joe Elliott) Previously Unreleased
13 – Heroes (live) (with Queen, David Bowie, Joe Elliott at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert For AIDS Awareness, April 20, 1992 at Wembley Stadium, London
14 – Tribute To Mick Ronson (Mike Garson) Previously Unreleased