Eddie Murphy and David Bowie apparently spent some time together in the 1980s. To hear a modern-day Murphy tell the tale, the comedian and singer hung out a few times, and it was Murphy who felt like he was in the presence of a star.
In a new interview with Billboard on the occasion of the upcoming Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special, Murphy talked about his and Bowie’s relationship.
When asked, Murphy said he was never close friends with Bowie as he was with musical collaborator Rick James. But Bowie came to at least one movie set, and one night, Eddie and David were alone in a room with a piano.
“One time, he came onto the set of ‘Beverly Hills Cop II’ because he was friends with the director, Tony Scott. We were watching the Oscars that night and he came over and watched it with me. He was super normal.
“One time we were playing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and afterwards we were hanging out at this chalet there and I was in the back playing piano alone–and then out of nowhere, I hear this voice saying [in perfect Bowie imitation], ‘I didn’t know you played the piano.’ And then I look up and it’s Bowie, and it was only he and I alone in the room.”
Murphy starred alongside former supermodel Iman in Michael Jackson’s video for “Remember the Time.” The video was produced in 1992, the same year that Iman and David Bowie got married.
In the Billboard interview, Murphy implied his memories of his time with Bowie might have been shortchanged by his admiration for the rock star.
“I tell you what, I’m a really big Bowie fan and if I’m around someone like that, I don’t know how much I’m taking it all into my memories. I was starstruck and really only remembered little flickers of it.”
Murphy began making music 30 years ago and scored a hit with “Party All the Time,” which Rick James wrote and produced. Murphy told the New York Post it was the most successful song of James’ career. His well-known song “Super Freak” only reached number 16 on the charts in its day, and James’ highest-charting single was “You and I,” which charted as high as number 13.
Murphy told Billboard he doesn’t anticipate doing any sketch comedy during the SNL anniversary special.
“I don’t think the show is going to be sketches. I was under the impression that the show is really just going to be an overview of the last 40 years. Everyone involved with the show is going to be there and looking back at the old stuff. The people from the current cast might do some sketches though… I’m not sure.”