Back in 2003, 60 Minutes was working on a profile of David Bowie — but it was never finished, and the lost footage never aired. Now, two weeks after the rock icon’s passing from cancer, 60 Minutes has announced it will broadcast the lost interview segments at the end of Sunday night’s program. According to Deadline, the interviews happened during three studio sessions and “scheduling conflicts and illnesses” prevented the profile from coming together.
Bowie went on to do his last tour in 2003-04, before the tour was cut short when he suffered an illness onstage. His last studio album was 2003’s Reality before he eventually returned with The Next Day in 2013 and Blackstar in 2016, which was released on the singer’s 69th birthday, just two days before his death.
According to Deadline, one of the 60 Minutes interview sessions happened on May 12, 2003, in Woodstock, New York. CBS had already posted un-aired segments online as part of its 60 Minutes Overtime section, on January 11, 2016, the day the news broke of Bowie’s passing. The article attached to the interviews includes insight from producers who worked on the lost profile.
Steve Klein said that despite his over-the-top image, Bowie was unexpectedly down-to-earth and approachable.
“You kind of imagine him to have this shell, but he could not have been nicer.”
The clips find Bowie discussing his career — including that he never saw himself as a singer — and more ethereal topics. At one point, Bowie seems to compare his creative work as akin to looking for God.
“There’s an effort to reclaim the unmentionable, the unsayable, the unspeakable, all those things come into being a composer, into writing music, into searching for notes and pieces of musical information that don’t exist.”
Ironically, Bowie expressed his love of his work only a few months before he would take a nearly decade-long hiatus from public performance.
“I think generally, I just cannot really envision life without writing, and producing records, and singing. I think, in short, it’s as cornball as that. You know? It really is what I do. And I’m so glad I chose that to be my profession. It’s been just terrific.”
Since Bowie’s death, old, rare clips of the singer have been unearthed and shared. Some, like the 60 Minutes clips, are new to the public. Others, such as the film of a 17-year-old Bowie speaking on behalf of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, have been circulating for some time. Open Culture posted about the latter clip in 2014.
Other truly “unearthed” interviews include a transcript of a 2001 interview with Alternative Press. When asked if he’d written an update of the song “Kooks,” — originally written for his son Duncan Jones — for his then-toddler daughter, Bowie admitted he had not, at least not for fans’ ears.
“Not for public consumption. I must say I’ve written a brand new tune to ‘The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round.'”
The Grammy Awards will reportedly pay tribute to David Bowie during the February 15, 2016, ceremony, according to The New York Times, although no details have been released of what that might entail. Host LL Cool J told Entertainment Tonight that the recent passings of several performers — Bowie, Natalie Cole and Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey — would be acknowledged, but insisted the show would not become a “wake.”
[Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images]