"Sound And Vision"

Waking to the news of David Bowie's death yesterday morning was a doozy. To say he is a "Hero" is an incredible understatement (for me and for so many millions). It's safe to say that he is my favorite musical artist. I may not have all of his albums (just a few shy) and I might not know every detail of every part of his life (there was so much of it) but I have more music by him than any other artist and I continuously feel like I'm discovering and rediscovering his discography whenever I visit it.

It took some time for me to realize that Bowie is my favorite. I was familiar with a decent amount of his hit songs growing up, but it wasn't until my late teens/early twenties that I started collecting his albums, digging into the deep album cuts, and realizing how varied his catalog was. I can't name another artist that I feel is as diverse and eclectic, embracing so many genres (practically every one) and personalities.

But Bowie wasn't just a music artist, he was an actor as well. Sometimes he played small roles but they were always memorable. And he starred in one of my very favorite films, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, a role tailor-made for a man who many actually believe was truly not of this world. And let us not forget his iconic and endless contributions to the world of "Fashion".

The outpouring of love and admiration I saw on social media after the news hit was like none I've ever seen. Never have I seen so many people post about how crushed they were, post so many of his songs, express what he meant to them. It speaks to how his fans identified with so many different Bowies (and there were so many) - different eras, different personas, different albums, different performances. More than that, I can't think of any other artist besides Elvis or The Beatles who was so influential. Bowie was clearly influenced by those artists - innovators influencing another true innovator. He was literally the reason that thousands of people wanted to become musicians. Words like "legend" and "genius" are reserved for very few in my opinion and both apply to Bowie.

I never had the privilege of seeing him live and now I never will and that's one of the saddest parts of his passing for me. But I still have all his wonderful albums and we all will for as long as we live. I've often said that 'Low' is my favorite Bowie album (because as much as I love the man's voice, I also love his instrumentals), which I'm listening to as I write this, but it's almost ridiculous to pick a favorite album by him. He simply has too much phenomenal material to choose from. One of his greatest strengths was to surround himself with the very best musicians - people like Tony Visconti, Robert Fripp, Carlos Alomar, Rick WakemanMike GarsonMick Ronson and of course Brian Eno. "Under Pressure", which he co-wrote and performed with Queen, is one of the most powerful and instantly identifiable songs ever written, despite all the stupid commercials and films that use it inappropriately. He did the same with directors, making films with the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Nagisa Oshima, Jim Henson, Martin Scorsese, and David Lynch. It's all part of what made his legacy.

Bowie's last album, '' (Blackstar), was released on January 8th, 2016, his 69th birthday and just 2 days before he died. I only had the chance to listen to it once before he died but I listened to it again on my lunch break that day and I can tell it's going to go down as one of my favorites by him - it's really something special and unique, so very David Bowie. In the album's closing track he sings "I Can't Give Everything Away" but that's what you did Bowie, you gave us everything, you were everything. It's a bittersweet goodbye that will always remind me of how I felt the day I heard the news.

I'm not sure if I have a favorite Bowie song, but "Ashes To Ashes" is one of my very favorite songs (ever), one I consider to be perfect. I've posted it below, along with a 3-song tribute that my band, The Fitted Shirt, performing as The Shirts From Mars, played live in 2010, as well as photos of my Bowie CDs and Blu-rays of films he starred in.

Farewell David, you fell to Earth and perhaps you've returned to your home planet but your presence will always be remembered here.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding eulogy Dan - very eloquent!