I had another post planned for today but when I read the devastating news about the death of David Bowie last night there was nothing else I could even think about sharing here. I’m absolutely certain that a large percentage of the music I enjoy was created in part by the ever rippling influence of this absolute legend.
Is it embarrassing as a music lover to say that I appreciated David Bowie but didn’t listen to his music much? For me, David Bowie was a musical forefather but one that I only came to appreciate fully as an adult. When I close my eyes and think of David Bowie, it’s the MTV generation 1980’s sleek, suited and debonair rock star that commanded the stage or screen that immediately comes to mind.
As a grew up, David Bowie was always somewhere in the creative world having an impact – whether it be music, videos, movies or fashion. David Bowie was woven into the fabric of my entertainment for as long as I had been alive. How could you not know about the striking man with two different colored eyes, who made androgeny mainstream, brought light to bisexuality, had the audacity to name his son “Zowie” and created some of the music that would go on to inspire countless musicians to take a chance on their version of art and contribute to the world?
While I know that the groundbreaking, art-driven early works of David Bowie are what people who love most music revere, I still believe that even the sanitized and highly stylized modern version of David Bowie was just as genius. “Under Pressure” (1981) with David Bowie and Freddie Mercury might be one of the best duets of all time.
Forget Madonna or Cher, David Bowie was the true master of reinvention. It didn’t matter what form he chose to express his creativity and wave hello to the world, everyone always took notice and paid attention. There are few artists in the music world who have made such indelible visual and auditory stamps upon the world’s collective brain.
I love many kinds of music but New Wave is my deepest love. While reading the book “Mad World”, I had no idea how many artists of my preferred musical genre would cite David Bowie (and Kraftwerk) as their musical influences. There are always the weirdos, the trailblazers, the oddities that persevere and somehow breakthrough the clutter and clamor of chaos to literally change the world. It embarrassed me to forget that in many ways that without David Bowie that the artists that were the soundtrack of my life would never have been inspired to create and continue to color the world with a thread of change.
As a parent of a child who is beginning to understand and appreciate the world of music, I’m happy to say that my nearly 9 year old does know David Bowie. Yes, the music is more of the “Let’s Dance” variety than “Space Oddity” but I’m also proud that Wild Boy also knew Bowie as the man with two different colored eyes.
Crazily enough, I had just mentioned to Jay in October that next year we should try to convince Wild Boy to dress up as the Thin White Duke for Halloween. We then went on to discuss that neither of us had ever seen Bowie live and that the next time around that we should make it a priority. The fact that we will never be able to see him live now just doesn’t seem real.
It’s almost ridiculous to think that there is a world that exists without David Bowie! This was a man who was always supposed to just be there and the fact that he is not doesn’t seem real. While I may play songs from his musical catalog, watch his movies regularly, David Bowie will always be there somewhere within the ether bubbling visually or musically in my universe.