A couple of days ago, the whole world was stunned with news of David Bowie’s passing. He succumbed to cancer after an 18-month battle. He was 69 years old but every inch a legend in an industry that has criticized and loved him for many decades.
By today’s standards, his music would be called alternative and off-beat; not that they were not mainstream material, but because they were always leaps ahead of everyone else’s. His Space Oddity, which came out in 1969, already depicted the solitary and self-sacrificing life of an astronaut, Major Tom. This was way before the lunar landing hype, and before everyone else shot films of astronauts in space.
The image of Bowie’s Space Oddity was so poignant that a real life astronaut by the name of Commander Chris Hadfield, recorded a cover of his song, while on board the International Space Station. It was touching, it was dramatic, but most of all, it was very real.
David Bowie was wild, carefree, and very much in character. He was also the star of the big hit movie Labyrinth, where he was the lead villain, the Goblin King Jareth. This fantasy flick made him all the more revered and remembered in the entertainment industry.
A Celebrity Among Celebrities
David Bowie had a special role in the hearts of today’s musicians not only because of his influences and his non-conformist attitude. He was generous with his time and talent and made it a point to collaborate with new artists on their projects. He knew his name would add weight to any event, and he could always be counted to make an appearance and perform no matter what.
Bowie was probably the type who would sing about the best chainsaw and promote the best chainsaw brands in one of his songs, without people even noticing. He was that brilliant a musician! It won’t be surprising that he will go on stage with one of the best chainsaws at hand, singing the manufacturers of the best chainsaws in the lyrics. Only David Bowie (and maybe the late great Freddie Mercury) can get away with that.
He collaborated with Mercury in the massive hit “Under Pressure”, which is still considered an iconic song to this day. His “Starman” was included in the recent hit movie “The Martian” which starred Matt Damon. It was a blockbuster hit.
Even while he was battling cancer, the British singer kept to his music. He had just released a new album entitled “Black Star”was released a few days before his death. The music industry concluded that this was Bowie’s way of saying goodbye to his friends and fans. His latest album illustrates how he has come full circle: a man who has accepted his death and hopes to live forever only through his music. The album has reportedly outsold Adele’s mainly because it was Bowie’s final bow.
As letters, tributes, memes and shares about Bowie as a musician continue to flood social media, let us not forget that he was like all of us: a man who had lived, loved, and laughed.
Fare thee well, Ziggy Stardust!