David Bowie Was Also An Animal Activist
Did you know that David Bowie had a dolphin tattoo on his calf? But the rock star did much more for these intelligent animals, he also made sure his anthem ‘Heroes’ was licensed to the documentary ‘The Cove’ for a minimal fee so it could help stop the killing of dolphins and whales.
I watched ‘The Cove’ a few years ago when it was released, and the scenes showing the massacre of the dolphins with the sea turning red from all the blood were simply unbearable. That’s why it is so great to learn that Bowie was also involved in this fight.
According to Take Part, his famous and moving 1977 song ‘has become a rallying cry for people around the world working to end the killing and capture of whales and dolphins at the cove in Taiji, Japan.’ The choice could not have been more appropriate because if the activists trying to stop the killing of dolphins are heroes to me, some of the lyrics also fits very well with the cause even though the song is about something else
‘I, I wish you could swim / Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim,’
You can hear the song during the closing credits of the 2009 documentary and I was so pleasantly surprised he donated the song for such a good cause
How did this happen? Interestingly, the producer of the documentary, Fisher Stevens, knew Bowie’s wife, Iman, and so they didn’t have to go through record-company channels.
As everyone can figure out the cost of licensing a famous rock song is not cheap, from $25,000 to a 6 figure number according to Cove director Louie Psihoyos but Bowie insisted that RCA Records make “Heroes” available for only $3,000.
“They had to charge something so they weren’t giving it away,” Psihoyos said. “It was hardly worth the time for the record label to write up the contract.”
“I didn’t know at the time about his support for animal rights,” Psihoyos said of Bowie. “But it turns out he had a huge heart.”
And adding a soundtrack to an already powerful movie like the Cove isn’t an anodyne thing to do
, “people jump out of their seats and want to do something. That song reenergizes people and helps keep the issue alive. Sometimes I meet people, and when they recognize me, they start singing ‘Heroes.’ Said Ric O’Barry, star of The Cove and founder of Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project.
“There is nothing to galvanize a community around a movement like a movie, and with every social movement, you always needed songs,” Psihoyos said. “This was a song for that moment.”
When thousands of people marched to the Japanese Embassy to protest the dolphin drives which run every September to March, the song will be featured prominently during the day.
“We’re going to make it a massive tribute to Bowie,” said protest organizer Nicole Venter, founder of MEOKO, a platform for electronic music.
Protesters will be wearing Bowie masks and brandishing banners bearing his image, while a vintage car will lead the march, blasting sounds of dolphins being killed over the sound of ‘Heroes.’
As early as 1972, Bowie and the Spiders From Mars headlined the Friends of the Earth Save the Whale Benefit Concert in London, so this is nothing new .
‘Heroes’ is our theme song, and they’re going to play it loud,’ added O’Barry. ‘The Japanese government will have a very difficult time dealing with that PR nightmare. Thank you, David Bowie.’