“A lot of what I do is very simple it is just my choices are very different to other people” – David Bowie
With another passing day yet another teenage icon is whisked away into the sunset and we are left to marvel at their musical genius. Lemmy, Motorhead’s lovable rogue left us on the 28th of December and little over a week later it is the undeniable musical,style guru and acting genius that was David Bowie. Both deaths made headline news on all news channels with Bowie’s making the sort of musical waves not seen in my lifetime since the death of John Lennon a little over 35 years ago on December 8th 1980. The death of David Bowie has brought grown men to tears,seen crowds gathering on the streets of Brixton where he was born as well as Berlin and New York. I loved his music but could never really do him justice in a biographical sense but Stephen Erlewine did, he wrote:
“The cliche about David Bowie says he’s a musical chameleon, adapting himself according to fashion and trends. While such a criticism is too glib, there’s no denying that Bowie demonstrated remarkable skill for perceiving musical trends at his peak in the ’70s. After spending several years in the late ’60s as a mod and as an all-around music hall entertainer, Bowie reinvented himself as a hippie singer/songwriter.
Prior to his breakthrough in 1972, he recorded a proto-metal record and a pop/rock album, eventually redefining glam rock with his ambiguously sexy Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy made Bowie an international star, yet he wasn’t content to continue to churn out glitter rock. By the mid-’70s, he developed an effete, sophisticated version of Philly soul that he dubbed “plastic soul,” which eventually morphed into the eerie avant pop of 1976’s Station to Station.
Shortly afterward, he relocated to Berlin, where he recorded three experimental electronic albums with Brian Eno. At the dawn of the ’80s, Bowie was still at the height of his powers, yet following his blockbuster dance-pop album Let’s Dance in 1983, he slowly sank into mediocrity before salvaging his career in the early ’90s. Even when he was out of fashion in the ’80s and ’90s, it was clear that Bowie was one of the most influential musicians in rock, for better and for worse. Each one of his phases in the ’70s sparked a number of subgenres, including punk, new wave, goth rock, the new romantics, and electronica. Few rockers ever had such lasting fame”
During the late eighties the record industry changed in a musical and directional sense but Bowie kept on creating and although he never charted as much his music still had relevance. Health problems forced him to quit live shows in 2006 but still the albums came. A showman to the end just like Lemmy he released his final album just two days before his death to rapturous reviews.
It led Tony Visconti, the producer who worked with Bowie to complete his final album, to released a statement saying it was deliberately created and timed as a “parting gift” for his fans. Being a music fan and collector of over 40 year I have in my collection many Bowie albums,singles and DVD’s as well as other memorabilia and count myself lucky to have seen him live in concert too that being in 1990.
With all great artists its difficult to name specific favourite tracks but I suppose if I had to name them these ten would have to be the ones :
Drive in Saturday – Aladdin Sane
Sense of Doubt – Heroes
Sound and Vision – Low
Ashes to Ashes – Scary Monsters and Super Creeps
Station to Station – Station to Station
John I’m only Dancing – Single
Wild is the Wind – Station to Station
Modern Love – Let’s Dance
Take my Tip – Mannish Boys
Ziggy Startdust – Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Bowie and Lemmy’s passing tell us that we all have to live for today and not wait for a better time that’s yet to come as we may in the long run be waiting for something that might never arrive.
“It’s too late to be grateful
It’s too late to be late again
It’s too late to be hateful”
(Station to Station c 1976)