Remembering David Bowie


On Sunday evening, Jan. 12, the world lost an icon who, over the span of five decades, had 25 albums, countless personas, dozens upon dozens of successful singles and an impact on millions.

Throughout his entire life, Bowie was an innovator, always the one who was decades ahead of everyone else in both music and fashion. He burst onto the music scene in 1969 with “Space Oddity,” the first of his many brilliantly orchestrated albums to hit the charts. It also introduced the world to Major Tom, who floated most peculiarly and was the first character that Bowie cooked up throughout his career. Shortly after Major Tom, Bowie gave us the character of Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy was a bisexual alien rock star – a very ambitious idea to say the least – but yet, he was the era of Bowie that propelled him into his own superstar status.

From there, Bowie went through many more eras, including Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, and the Berlin era Bowie. The Duke, the mid-‘70s incarnation of Bowie, had a much more normal look than Ziggy Stardust and other outfits Bowie wore throughout the years. But in place of the clothes came a crippling cocaine addiction that Bowie battled for much of the decade. Later in life, the personas normalized, but the music was just as ambitious and amazing as all along. Of course, with 25 albums there are bound to be some that are a bit of a flop, but the vast majority of Bowie’s catalog is phenomenal.

Bowie’s being ahead of his time extended into the artists he collaborated with. He loved and worked with Arcade Fire right from their start, and, in 2005, actually sang with them as one of his last public performances. He also collaborated with TV on the Radio and took inspiration from all over, including heavy influences from Kendrick Lamar on “Blackstar.” It is this constant innovation and staying with the trends, even as he got older, that set him apart from all other aging rock stars.

David Bowie was always one to put on a show and his death was no different. Though the public was unaware, Bowie had been battling cancer for the year and a half leading up to his passing. He knew this, and created his last album, “Blackstar,” which is his finest work in decades, as a final gift to fans. It becomes all too clear after his passing that this was his intention, as Bowie proclaims in the song Lazarus, “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!” and “Oh I’ll be free, Just like that bluebird.” It is a touching piece of artistry that was a beautiful parting gift to all those that loved him so much.

Although it is heartbreaking that Bowie is gone, we are so lucky that he graced us with his presence and artistry. Musicians like David Bowie come along as one in a billion, and it is our treat that, although he has passed, his music, from “Changes” to “Starman” to, what I believe to be the greatest six minutes of rock and roll, “Heroes”, will live forever.

Thank you for showing us how to dream to be heroes, forever and ever, Mr. Bowie.

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