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Madness explain how David Bowie tried to “rip off” ‘My Girl’

Madness have explained how David Bowie tried to rip off their song ‘My Girl’ for his track ‘Ashes to Ashes’.

  • READ MORE: David Bowie’s earliest years – as told by the people who knew him best

Last night (November 22), the band – comprised of Chris Foreman, Mike Barson, Lee Thompson, Graham “Suggs” McPherson, Dan Woodgate and Mark Bedford – took part in a live Q&A at Pryzm in Kingston with journalist Stevie Chick.

There, they opened up about the time that the ‘Let’s Dance’ singer attempted to rip off their 1980s track ‘My Girl’.

“David Bowie told us that he tried to rip off our song ‘My Girl’ but he couldn’t find the right drummer to do it,” said Woodgate (Madness drummer). “He should have just asked me. If you listen to both songs, they sound the same.” (per Music News)

This is not the first time the drummer addressed the Bowie situation. In their 2019 memoir, Before We Was We, the band discussed their reaction to learning that Bowie had borrowed from their single.

“Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley produced ‘Absolute Beginners’ for David Bowie, and Clive told me a story that Bowie had told him about ‘Ashes to Ashes’, which came out only a few months after ‘My Girl’,” wrote drummer Dan ‘Woody’ Woodgate, in an excerpt obtained by Metro.

“Bowie had said that he’d been looking for a drummer to do the ‘My Girl’ beats on ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and he couldn’t find one that had the same feeling as me. He’d said, ‘There’s something about the feel that’s really great, and none of the American drummers could do it’. Clive went to me, ‘Woody, you do realise that if you put ‘Ashes to Ashes’ up against ‘My Girl’, it’s exactly the same?”

Woodgate continued: “Anyway, it kind of inflated my ego and pissed me off at the same time. I thought, ‘David Bowie could have fucking asked me!’”

Madness keyboardist Mike Barson then added: “Well, I don’t want to tell you about what I stole off Bowie! I mean, I think everybody steals a bit.

“But, in a month of Sundays, you wouldn’t recognise that ‘My Girl’ influence on ‘Ashes to Ashes’. So, job well done, I’d say.”

In other news, the band recently released their 13th studio album ‘Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C’Est La Vie’ last week (November 17). The 14-track record follows on from 2016’s ‘Can’t Touch Us Now’ and marks the North London group’s first full-length effort in seven years.

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