It’s the day after the news broke, about the death of one of my main musical heroes. I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about him and his passing, but without wanting to sound too melodramatic, I’m struggling a bit at the moment. It seems so unbelievable that he has gone. I usually hate the mass outpouring of emotion we get, when a public figure dies. Usually, it’s someone the “mourners” are unlikely to ever meet. However, I completely understand the scenes in Bowie’s home town of Brixton yesterday, where fans gathered to pay their respects and to sing songs. I’m not going to post my feelings all over Facebook or such like, but, this is my website and my forum, where I can express what David Bowie meant to me.
I suppose I came relatively late to the Bowie universe. I’d been into music since I was 8 years old, when I got my first guitar, so I was aware of who he was. However, for many years he passed me by a bit. I guess the duet with Mick Jagger and the Live Aid performance, started to make me a bit more aware of him. However, it wasn’t until I heard “Hallo Spaceboy” in 1995 that my genuine love affair with his music began.
That year, I bought the “Outside” album and then immediately started buying the rest of his back catalogue. Everything. I was completely sold.
Listening to his early albums was a bit mind blowing, after the ultra modern drum n bass inspired songs on Outside. But I think the fact that he changed his style so much and was always finding completely different ways to express himself, was one of the most captivating things about him. All the massive, well known songs were there on Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust etc, but I discovered the gems which were not just for consumption by the masses.
I found the “Berlin Trilogy” of albums a bit hard work at first. But with some perseverance, they clicked.
I must admit to being very partial to “Lets Dance” With that album, he proved he could come out of releasing something like “Scary Monsters” by then becoming the biggest pop star in the world!! The first 3 tracks on Lets Dance, are pure pop genius.
My favourite album? Thats very hard to say given the massive breadth of Bowie’s catalogue. But, I would have to say “Station to Station” is the album I listen to the most. Something about that album really clicked with me. Golden Years is the biggest hit from Station to Station, but I don’t think that song really represents the complete album that well. Station to Station has a very claustrophobic feel to me, with lots of melancholic elements. I believe it has been described as “simultaneously one of Bowie’s most accessible albums and his most impenetrable” I completely understand where that statement is coming from. It sums up Bowie’s ability to challenge and entertain at the same time.
What makes his death even more unbelievable, is that he only released his latest album “Blackstar” last Friday, on his birthday. I made a trip to my local HMV to buy it. It’s brilliant. I thought that the minute I listened to it. Whilst his previous release “The Next Day” was great in its wistfulness and nostalgia, Blackstar takes him back to his challenging and inventive best. As a musician myself, its an album that can only inspire my own writing to new heights.
But how can he be gone? To me, David Bowie has always been here. I do think you feel the death of your heroes more, as you grow older and ponder on your own mortality. I also think I feel such things more now I have a child. Being a parent makes you think more about how Bowie’s children must be feeling, at the loss of their father.
We have to move forward I guess. That’s what David Bowie always did. That’s what made him so special.
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.” @JeSuisDean