This was a great rock’n’roll moment. Bowie’s appearance on SNL, doing this song as well as “Boys Keep Swinging” and “TVC15” was unlike anything anyone had seen before. I clearly remember seeing this show when it was, in fact, live. It was completely mindblowing.
Bowie came to New York and sought out Klaus Nomi. Bowie brought in Arias for the SNL performance along with Nomi, because Arias and Nomi had a gig together dancing together in the window of Fiorucci. Bowie’s rigid suit was based on a similar get-up used by Dada poet Kurt Schwitters. Nomi, an eccentric and unique artist, sadly died from AIDS only a few years later. Jimmy Destri from Blondie is on the keyboards.
Bowie reignited his career with this appearance.
(If you go to this Bowie biography and search “Nomi” there are a few pages about this show which are available for free.)