A Legend Lost
January 11, 2016
Well I wasn’t really planning on posting anything today but with the passing of the great and inspiring David Bowie I thought I’d write a quick one. Growing up I remember watching Labyrinth at a friends house and that was, as I recall, my first experience with Bowie. Now the movie came out in 1986, when I was 3, so it was probably early 90s I saw it. I had never heard his music, that I could ever remember at that point but the Goblin King was absolutely perfect for Bowie. At the time I thought he was just an actor with either crazy hair or a great wig.
During the mid-90s when I really started to get into music, and grow to appreciate all it had to offer, I rediscovered a different Bowie than what I had known. It was crazy to me that he had been an incredibly famous, touted, talented, eccentric and genre-expanding musician and performer for 25+ years before. I remember getting sucked into the BMG music subscription service (on multiple occasions) where you got a huge stamp book of tapes, and later, CDs, to choose from. You’d get this incredible deal of 7 for the price of 1 and as a kid you never read the fine print so I was then on the hook for buying something like 10 more incredibly overpriced options in the next few months after that. Anyway the point to this story is that I remember one time buying “Young Americans” since I had an extra space left one time, I knew the name of the artist and it had the word American in it so why not right?
To this day “Young Americans” is still one of my favorite Bowie songs and while I didn’t necessarily love the rest of the album at the time it was enough to get me interested. Obviously I found my way to “Space Oddity,” “Hunky Dory,” “Aladdin Sane,” “Diamond Dogs” and of course the absolute masterpiece of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” I also vividly remember watching MTV and seeing the Bowie and Mick Jagger video for “Dancing in the Street” and thinking, man the 80s are pretty weird but also kinda catchy and cool. I slowly started to make my way through the rest of his music catalogue as I grew and especially in college where I also discovered the “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” documentary where he hung up this persona and continued his illustrious career.
His latest album, “Blackstar,” was just released this past Friday on his 69th birthday. It’s incredible to think that it’s his 27th studio album but when you’ve had a mostly successful career (except for some of the 80s I suppose) that’s to be expected. It’s always sad to lose someone, death isn’t something we look forward to but we all know it’s a reality. Some go earlier than they should, some live glorious long lives and cherish every minute. Bowie had the ability to touch and influence many people through his music and his nearly 50-year career. Not everyone is as lucky to have this chance and in his case he’s left us all not only with his gift of music but it’s something that will (hopefully) carry on through decades or centuries. He will not soon be forgotten.
While not getting too deep here it’s always interesting to reflect on music from the past. I can’t even fathom a world where something like Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, just to name a few, are not household names or something everyone is at least familiar with whether they like their music or not. However as time marches on new music is always being made and taking up more space in the medium. Does this mean that eventually sometime, in the possibly not too distant future, these bands will become a forgotten thing of the past and slowly fade away? Or will it be that they were as influential, as I find them to be, to the masses and future generations that they will live on forever. And then looking forward who will be the people from our current generations, say the last 20-25 years, who will be in the same category? It’s an interesting thing to think about … somewhat scary when you fear that our grandkids generation could think Justin Bieber was the David Bowie of his day but hey everyone’s got their own opinions and that’s a beautiful thing.
I’ll leave you with a couple of Bowie-ish songs I’ll put out there as tributes to the late, great man.
song I’m currently obsessed with: “BOWIE” by the flight of the conchords
Album I’m currently obsessed with: “The LIFE AQUATIC STUDIO SESSIONS” by Seu Jorge