This past weekend, we lost a true original – David Bowie.
I have to admit, I was really stunned when I heard the news that David has left us. This is a man who has re-invented himself many times, brought inspiration to so many, and always had a new song – a new musical vision that we went along for a ride with every single time he released a new album.
I first heard about David Bowie in 1983 when he was doing the “Let’s Dance” album. In fact, my mother was the one who first introduced me to his music. The album was hugely popular, with songs like “Modern Love”, “China Girl”, and of course the title track, “Let’s Dance”. It was hard not to envision many ladies going out to dance, putting on their red shoes, and dancing the blues. These songs graced the airwaves for many months following the release, but then I was shown that there were many albums released before Let’s Dance that I’d never heard of before. I was intrigued by this, so I dove in headfirst and listened with ears wide open.
I was not disappointed.
From his early days, he always had a unique sound. Songs like “The Laughing Gnome”, “Love You ‘Til Tuesday”, and “When I’m Five” all had their own unique charm, and still hold true to this day! Anyone who wants to hear some really fun stuff from early on should really check out the early catalogue of musical wonders. The first concert I ever saw of David’s was the “Serious Moonlight” tour (I still have this on VHS and LaserDisc), and I played the heck out of this concert, as it was so full of energy and emotion that you couldn’t help but watch! It was fun! When the concert came to an end, I wanted to watch it again soon after. I also watched the movie “Ricochet” that came out not long after, that was done about the same time as “Serious Moonlight”, but was also showing a lot of his travels and behind-the scenes footage. Well worth watching if you happen to find it.
Another concert I watched was “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – The Movie”. This was also a great glimpse into his early days, when he was Ziggy. Not only did you see his many zany costumes from the day, but you also saw behind the scenes in the dressing room with his entourage, including Angie Bowie. The soundtrack for this concert is every bit as good as the movie, so I spent many times on the road or at home listening to his live sound, imagining I was there to see him perform. I never did get a chance to see him in person, but I imagine it would be as just about every fan who has been there would think – it would be the most epic thing…….ever!
Another thing David Bowie was great at was his acting – whether it was in his short, “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean”, or in his many films, including “The Hunger”, “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”, “Absolute Beginners”, or the ever-awesome “Labyrinth”. I enjoyed all of these films, as well as the many music videos he did over the years. One of my favorites around the Christmas holiday is when he and Bing Crosby did “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth”. If you have not seen this, go check out YouTube – it’s out there – I promise you that.
I don’t think there is anything about David Bowie I didn’t find enjoyable. I knew that any time he put out something new – it was new, fresh, and full of energy………..his unique energy.
I recently saw his last music video, “Lazarus”, from his final album, “Blackstar”. After reading about his long battle with cancer over 18 months, I think he saw this was coming, and wanted to do a fitting farewell to all of the fans and friends he had made over his long, colorful career. It fit the message very well. We will all miss him – the smiles – the songs – the words – the wonderful stories. Even though there will be no more new ones, the ones he has left behind will stand for a very long time as a tribute to a remarkable visionary of a man.
Farewell, thin white duke……….rest well in peace.