David Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’ Originally Involved Fake Bob Dylan Songs

By Amanda Wicks

David Bowie originally had a much different idea for his musical Lazarus than what ended up being produced. Nearly ten years ago, he approached author Michael Cunningham about working together on a project that he hoped would somehow involve aliens, a mariachi band and an entire catalogue of undiscovered Bob Dylan songs he would write himself.

Related: David Bowie London Tribute Concert Features Friends, Past Band Members

Details about the musical, which never came to light because Bowie suffered a heart attack in 2004 and had to shelve the idea, were revealed in a new piece Cunningham penned for GQ. He shared the surprising phone call he received from Bowie himself and the resulting work the two put in together.

In addition to an expanded alien narrative that went above and beyond what Bowie had done in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth, Cunningham wrote, “The plot would revolve around a stockpile of unknown, unrecorded Bob Dylan songs, which had been discovered after Dylan died. David himself would write the hitherto-unknown songs.”

What those Bowie-as-Dylan songs sound like will forever be a mystery because he took things in a different direction after his heart attack. Bowie ended up adapting the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth for the stage, which starred Michael C. Hall in both the New York and London production. Still, since he could do a mean Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed impression, it seems likely he would’ve nailed Dylan too.

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