Five Times David Bowie Got Canadian in the ’90s

Nicholas Friesen @Nicholastronaut January 11, 2016

Music lovers the world over were thrilled when David Bowie released Blackstar on January 8, 2016 and shocked when he died just days later from an 18-month battle with cancer. Bowie was beyond influential, reinventing himself as Ziggy, Aladdin and Lazarus, and inspiring countless artists throughout his 50-year career. Let’s look back at a few times the Thin White Duke collaborated with Canadians in the ’90s.

1. Bowie was banned from Saturday Night Live

On season 22/Episode 12 of Saturday Night Live (February 8, 1997) Bowie performed, and the pride of Guelph, Ontario, Neve Campbell, hosted. He was notoriously banned from the show until 1999, something about not wanting to do a sketch due to the mispronunciation of the word “flan.” After he pulled out of the sketch, he decided to play 1981’s “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” instead of his current single, “Telling Lies” for his second performance (the first being “Little Wonder”). According to a 1999 article in Pulse Magazine, he did this to piss off Lorne Michaels, who had told Bowie that during “the darkest period of his life” Michaels did “mountains and mountains” of cocaine while listening to the Scary Monsters album, sometimes doing lines “straight from the record sleeve.” Performing this song apparently freaked Michaels out, and Bowie was banned from the Canadian producer’s show.

2. Wild T. & the Bowie

Tony Springer of Canadian band Wild T. & The Spirit played lead guitar on Bowie’s “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” from 1992’s Black Tie White Noise. According to, Bowie said Springer was “an absolute delight to work with – a lyrical, lilting take on Hendrix.”

3. Much Bowie

The videos for “Little Wonder” and “Dead Man Walking” from 1997’s Earthling were directed by (at the time) Ontario-based director Floria Sigismondi. She would collaborate with Bowie again on the videos for 2013’s “The Next Day” and “The Stars (Are Out Tonight).”

“It was emotional and beautiful and simple,” Sigismondi would tell TIME of the making of their final collaboration.

4. Canadians liked Tin Machine

Tin Machine II, released in 1991, featured an image of male statues, genitals on display on the cover, which were censored only in the states. “Even Canada has the original cover,” Bowie noted to the Seattle Times. “Only in America …” Bowie’s band also recorded part of its first album, Tin Machine, in Montreal.

5. It’s a Walk Off

Bowie and former model Iman married April 24, 1992. Iman would later go on to host a few seasons of Project Runway Canada. Hey, it’s kind of a Canadian connection.