When Bowie & Jagger went to church

Bowie biographer Christopher Sandford recalls an unlikely episode:

I’ll end with my favorite David Bowie story, one that illustrates the deep vein of moral conservatism that lay just beneath the kooky exterior. On Christmas Eve 1986, a friend of mine named Nick Miles happened to attend a carol service at the Anglican church on the private island of Mustique in the Grenadines. “There were 40 or 50 people there, nearly half the island,” he told me. “At the very last minute, as the door was closing, Bowie and Mick Jagger walked in together. They were both wearing orthodox jackets and ties and they stood there side by side, singing away on all the hymns, and generally behaving like a couple of middle-aged schoolteachers. Other than the fact that it happened to be 90 degrees outside, we could have been in some draughty parish church in England.”

An hour later, Bowie and Jagger both stood patiently in the queue that filed past the vicar who had conducted the service, awaiting their turn to say goodbye. My friend happened to be next to them in line and heard the exchange that followed. Jagger was “joking about, doing funny accents, as if deflecting his sudden embarrassment at being seen in church.”

Bowie, for his part, nodded respectfully to the vicar, shook his hand, and said: “Whenever I hear the nativity story, tears of joy fill my eyes.” I’m assured that he sounded completely sincere. 

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