PR Giant Alan Edwards Hails ‘Extraordinary Genius’ David Bowie

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PR supremo Alan Edwards has spoken about his new book, where he talks about working with some of the biggest household names worldwide.

The book itself is titled: I Was There: Dispatches from a Life in Rock and Roll, will explore his time working with stars like The Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, Prince and David Bowie among others.

Edwards is of course renowned for founding the much celebrated PR firm The Outside Organisation, which has also represented clients including some of the biggest musicians in the world, as well as sports legends, royalty and more, across a 45 year career in showbusiness.

The book also features remarkable anecdotes of Edwards’ interaction with household names, including playing football with Bob Marley, and watching his office get destroyed by The Who drummer Keith Moon.

“an out-of-body experience”

Speaking to NME about his career, Alan Edwards feels the last four and a half decades have flown by.

“It feels like I went through life very fast, without ever really looking back… until now”, he said.

“I look back at all this stuff and it sometimes feels like an out-of-body experience to think that it really happened”. 

Edwards hails “Down-to-earth and charming” Bowie

One artist that Edwards worked quite closely with was the late singer David Bowie.

What is quite clear from the stories that Edwards tells of Bowie in the interview, and in the book is simply how charming and unassuming the Ziggy Stardust star was.

Speaking to NME, Edwards revealed that Bowie had a very unique method for avoiding being recognised in public.

“It was when I went on tour with him that it started to sink in how down-to-earth and charming he was”, Edwards began.

“He’d turn up at our office in Tottenham Court Road and make coffee for everyone. He told me his secret to not being recognised was to wear a cloth cap and have a Greek newspaper under his arm. That way if anyone ever questioned whether it was him, they’d look closer and think, ‘Well it can’t be… he’s obviously Greek’”. 

Edwards continued: “It was the same for interviews. We’d get the train a lot of the time, no first-class or anything, and you’d be amazed how many people would do a double take, then think: ‘Can’t be him, he’s just a guy sat with us going to Manchester’”. 

“pure disarming gentleman”

Elsewhere, Edwards also noted that once following a radio interview, David Bowie even offered a helping hand in the newsroom!

“An example of that in the book is how there was one time after a radio interview he had nothing better to do, so he decided to present the station’s traffic reports”, the PR boss revealed.

He also added: “He sat there telling people there were delays on the M25… and even to this day I don’t think anyone knew it was David Bowie. He was this extraordinary creative genius, but also a pure, disarming, nice gentleman”. 

“I guess one thing that people didn’t see was quite how funny he was. Particularly because he was one of those artists who never seemed like the boy next door — he was this exotic character who didn’t quite fit in London or LA or Berlin… he was only him. That, plus how much he loved writers and what an academic look he had on journalism. He always had such a passion to know about young, up-and-coming people in any creative field”. 

In other Bowie news, Daniel Sanborn a renowned saxophonist who collaborated with Bowie and others, passed away earlier this month aged 78.

More on that story here.