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Lives of the Great Songs: Soul with plenty of body: Take Me to the River: Some songs are born great, and some have greatness thrust upon them by clever art-school graduates. Tim de Lisle follows the path of an elastic classic

BEFORE it meant music, rock'n'roll meant sex. It was a bit of slang, used by black Americans, especially in the South. Black music, at the time, was either jazz, blues, or (especially in the South) gospel. When blues and gospel met country & western - the white man's music - the result was steamy enough to be called rock'n'roll. So sex and religion, sin and sanctity, are there in rock's genes, deep in its DNA.

ROCK / Merry Easter, Mr Bowie,you're back on form: David Bowie's new album is his best in donkey's years, they say. But they're not sure they want you to hear it. Ben Thompson got hold of a copy

'AND THIS,' as Mike Yarwood, colossus of TV impersonation, used to say towards the end of his show, 'is me.' But Yarwood's audience didn't want him to be himself, they wanted him to be Denis Healey. And so it's been with David Bowie for the past 10 years or so. Each time he has reappeared, it has been as the 'real' David Bowie; all the hype has been about the absence of the disguises and contrivance that made him famous and interesting in the first place, and the world has not stifled a yawn.

Arts: Remake, remodel: After five long, lean years, Bryan Ferry has finally found himself again - in other people's songs. It's an old trick, but a day in the studio with him shows that it works

NEW YORK, on an improbably warm afternoon in November. A nondescript street on the West Side, down by the river: women pushing buggies, mechanics fitting tyres, schoolchildren scuffling. A grey building with a stack of businesses listed by the buzzer. Among them, a name that appears in the small print of as many records as any in history: Masterdisk. This is where the stars go, not to record their albums but to have the master-tapes cut. Modern recording is a long-distance run, and Masterdisk is where the runner hits the tape.

ARTS / Sound and vision: To start with he was just a studio hand for Roxy Music. Now he is a singer, songwriter, experimental composer, video painter, installation-maker, lecturer, park designer, and producer of great records. Is there anything Brian Eno doesn't do? As he releases his first solo album for seven years, Tim de Lisle pieces together the lives of Brian

You don't often hear people talk about 'art rock' these days. Still less do you hear the bands that were responsible for it. King Crimson, Focus, The Nice: where are they now? Emerson, Lake and Palmer have re-formed, but nobody much has noticed. Genesis have long since become just another pop group, albeit an elderly one. It is nearly 10 years since Bryan Ferry disbanded Roxy Music, and nearly five since he released a record. Talking Heads, the leading art-rockers of the generation after, have split up. Psychedelia has been round again, several times; even flared trousers have come back (and gone away again). Art rock seems destined never to return.

ROCK / History plays: David Byrne has revised the old standards with a new band. Kevin Jackson joins the encores at the Brixton Academy

ALL together now: 'This ain't no Mudd Club/No CBGB . . .' In an evening of material culled from the last quarter-century, including a personal catalogue going back 16-odd years, the only dated line David Byrne could be heard to whoop, yodel or bark was that unrhymed couplet from 'Life During Wartime' (surely, by the way, the best song ever written about covert paramilitary operations?). When it was young, 'Life During Wartime' seemed plausibly like the kind of thing you might indeed have heard at a mid-Seventies venue like CBGB - all driving guitars, synthesisers and panic- stricken vocals.
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