The “musical chameleon”.
The “androgynous rock god”.
A bloody force of nature. The rogue of rock ‘n’ roll.
Some knew him as David Robert Jones. We knew him as David Bowie.
After nearly two years battling cancer, on Sunday January 10th, Major Tom would send his last transmission to ground control.
Bowie peaked long before I was born in 1987 (although his career was of course in still full swing with Never Let Me Down), but his effect on my musical taste and devotion to original and conceptual lyrics and albums sculpted a section of my inner creative core. His drive to live in a state of perpetual dynamism , reinventing not only his image both on and offstage, but the sound of his voice and album construction with each album, marked Bowie as the captain of the SS Stardust, a flamboyant ship, strenuously navigating its ways through the murkiest waters of loneliness, desolation, and the fathomless depths of human existence – all the while in eyeliner and a glittering leotard.
Bowie was said to take a method actor approach to his stage personae, like Heath Ledger or Christian Bale, becoming enveloped in ensuring that the audience was able to briefly live inside the world of the character they were witnessing. He left the world with dozens of hit songs which any radio listener will know…
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.
and die-hards will be quoting for countless years to come:
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore.Don’t believe in yourself , don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release.
With his 69th birthday arriving only a couple of days ago and the release of his final album Blackstar on January 8th, we are all lucky enough to be given one final gift of his creativity before his ethereal beauty faded away from this world. And as he wrote in ‘Blackstar’, the title track from the album, Bowie did not go gentle into that good night:
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd.
Farewell Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke, Pierrot, Jareth & eternal Starman.
He passes high, and passing by,
Beyond the moon and mars –
A starman’s waiting in the sky.
There’s stardust in the stars.