This is reputedly a fictionalized account of Bowie's relationship with his older schizophrenic stepbrother Terry. It was Terry who introduced Bowie to Modern Jazz, his enthusiasm for which led to his mother buying him his first saxophone in Christmas 1959.
Bowie, Iggy Pop and engineer Colin Thurston produced Pop's 1977 album Lust For Life under the pseudonym "Bewlay Bros." Also Bowie named his publishing company in the late 1970s Bewlay Bros. Music.
David Bowie (from the Mail on Sunday June 29, 2008): "The only pipe I have ever smoked was a cheap Bewlay. It was a common item in the late '60s and for this song I used Bewlay as a cognomen - in place of my own. This wasn't just a song about brotherhood so I didn't want to misrepresent it by using my true name. Having said that, I wouldn't know how to interpret the lyric of this song other than suggesting that there are layers of ghosts within it. It's a palimpsest, then. The circumstances of the recording barely exist in my memory. It was late, I know that. I was on my own with my producer Ken Scott; the other musicians having gone for the night. Unlike the rest of the Hunky Dory album, which I had written before the studio had been booked, this song was an unwritten piece that I felt had to be recorded instantaneously. I had a whole wad of words that I had been writing all day. I had felt distanced and unsteady all evening, something settling in my mind. It's possible that I may have smoked something in my Bewlay pipe. I distinctly remember a sense of emotional invasion. I do believe that we finished the whole thing on that one night. It's likely that I ended up drinking at the Sombrero in Kensington High Street or possibly Wardour Street's crumbling La Chasse. Cool."