Chris Martin of Coldplay attends the final of 'X Factor' on Dec. 10, 2015 in Milan, Italy.
Stefania D'Alessandro—Getty Images

Coldplay once asked David Bowie to sing on a song of theirs — and Bowie declined.

Coldplay drummer Will Champion talks about Bowie’s rejection in a video interview with NME, where he first praises the late icon’s impact: “He was one of the points of reference for absolutely everything,” Champion says. “For genres, and for how to be a rockstar or a pop star, whatever it was.”

He went on to tell the story of how Coldplay had a song with a “David Bowie-like character,” on which they wanted the man himself to guest. “I think [frontman Chris Martin] phoned him and wrote him a letter and said, ‘Please, would you sing on it?’” Champion recounts. “And he came back and said, ‘It’s not a very good song, is it?’ …

He was very discerning. He wouldn’t just put his name to anything, so I’ll give him credit for that.”

This article originally appeared on ew.com

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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