Andy Warhol hated the song David Bowie wrote about him.

Andy Warhol had a more indirect influence on the young David Bowie. Charmed by everything happening in the artist’s creative space, The Factory, Bowie was particularly drawn to Warhol’s use of his band The Velvet Underground in the multimedia series Exploding Plastic Inevitable, writes American Songwriter.

By 1971, Bowie had become friends with actor Tony Zanetta. Later that same year, Bowie met Warhol at the iconic Factory through the actor.

At the time, Bowie had a few months left before the release of his fourth album, Hunky Dory, which included the track «Andy Warhol,» and he wanted to pay tribute to the artist himself, but the meeting didn’t go as expected.

«The meeting was quite tense because Warhol wasn’t an easy conversationalist,» Zanetta said. «You had to talk and entertain Andy, and David wasn’t a good conversationalist either. The conversation didn’t flow.»

Warhol remained mostly silent. «This guy was at the Factory, and there was all this activity going on, everybody was doing something, saying this, saying that,» Bowie recalled in a 1987 interview. «And this guy was very quiet…It all happened without his involvement. He was an extraordinary, hypnotic guy.»

During his visit, Bowie managed to perform the song «Andy Warhol» for the artist, but didn’t elicit much of a reaction. «He hated it, hated it. He said, ‘Oh, uh-huh, okay,’ and then just left. I was left there,» Bowie said in 2003.

Shortly after, Bowie was told by someone, «Well, Andy hates it.» Bowie added, «I said, ‘Well, I’m sorry, it’s a compliment.’ It turned out he didn’t like references to his looks because he was sensitive about his skin condition.

Despite the awkward encounter, there was one thing that helped break the ice with Warhol — the yellow Mary Jane shoes Bowie was wearing. «My shoes attracted him,» Bowie said. «We found something to talk about here. They were yellow Mary Janes, like girls’ shoes. He adored them…Then I found out he had been very involved in shoe design when he was younger. He had a bit of a shoe fetish. It kind of melted the ice. He was a strange man.»

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