“On July 2, 1973 – glam superstar David Bowie announced his retirement from music,” is the statement that begins The Sacred Triangle - Bowie, Iggy & Lou: 1971 - 1973. Narrator Thomas Arnold continues, “Over the course of these years, their careers would coalesce, offering each artist their opportunity to shine.”
It is a great description for this story of the brief, yet incredibly important two-year period for all three of them. Forty years of rock history may make their accomplishments seem inevitable today. At the time, it was anything but.
As leader of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed was widely respected – by about ten people in the United States, most of them rock critics. Iggy Pop had even fewer fans. And David Bowie was some weird Brit who wrote songs about Andy Warhol, and wore dresses. They were an unlikely trio from the start, and each used the other for his own benefit. Yet somehow it all made sense, and made for one of the most groundbreaking periods in rock history.
The DVD begins by walking us through the early years – starting out with a discussion and some live shots of Reed’s band The Velvet Underground. The first connection between any of the artists is made when the V.U. play Ann Arbor, MI. Young James Osterberg aka Iggy Pop wound up backstage, being picked up by Nico – who simultaneously broke up with Lou Reed. David Bowie was an English fan of the Velvets, who was biding his time trying to get his career up and running in London.
The crux of the documentary are the groundbreaking albums (all produced by Bowie) that the trio recorded during this time. The three are: Lou Reed’s Transformer, Iggy and The Stooges' Raw Power, and Bowie’s own Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.
The Sacred Triangle is an unauthorized DVD, so any commentaries from the principals come via public domain sources, such as interviews that ran on the news. The bulk of the opinions are given by peripheral participants such as author Victor Bockris, former Stooges manager Danny Fields, Warhol associates Billy Name, Lee Black Childers, and Jayne County, and Bowie’s former wife Angie Bowie. Your tolerance for ancient hipsters may be sorely tested during these scenes.