David Bowie: The Legendary Artist That Got Away

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 What were your thoughts on David Bowie?

What are your favorite David Bowie songs/albums?

 

My Bowie video response below:

My YouTube channel has plenty more videos!

 

David Bowie died exactly one year ago and  I have listened to more of David Bowie over the past year than I ever have. Bowie is the musician that got away. I never got to see him live and one of my biggest concert going regrets is not attending his Australian Reality tour in 2004. I have no valid excuse for missing it. 

Words such as “artist”, “original”, and “innovative” are so loosely and incorrectly used. Not so when it comes to David Bowie. He was truly an original and innovative artist. Bowie was literally an ongoing art installation and mastered the arenas of singing, writing, acting, producing, and painting. 

 Bowie’s array of musical characters were a source of fascination and they weren’t just mere decoration. They had real substance and narrative: Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, Major Tom and Aladdin Sane. His comfort in blurring gender lines and presenting ambiguous sexuality made him even more interesting. He seemed so free and was quite difficult to categorise. Bowie was not burdened with the rigid structures of social definitions. 

I love watching interview footage with David Bowie. He was an extremely intelligent and articulate man with a great sense of cultivation and artistic appreciation. I could listen to him talk all day. He was a hard critic when it came to music and he never minced words.I laughed when he referred to Phil Collins, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue as “cruise ship type entertainment” 

His acting resume boasted film and theatre.  David Bowie was never miscast despite a lack of great acting range. Every role fit him like a glove. My first encounter with David Bowie was as a 6 six year old via the film Labyrinth. Magic Dance was the first Bowie song that I was consciously aware of. As a teenager I was mesmerised by the artistic and visual flairs of movies such as The Man Who Fell To Earth and The Hunger

Let’s Dance was my first Bowie album. He felt a great deal of remorse over his most commercially popular and accessible album. Despite this, I enjoyed it! Modern Love and Let’s Dance were solid tracks.  The oriental moodiness of China Girl is infectious. The slickness of Criminal World has forever got it’s hold on me. The slow burning  Cat People from the film Cat People is another one of my  favourites. 

David Bowie had consistently released good material every decade since the late 60s. Space Oddity (David Bowie LP) is forever timeless and a great example of his unique vocals colliding with superior  musical interpretation. Life on Mars (Hunky Dory)  and Rebel Rebel (Diamond Dogs) is another example of this amazing fusion.

Bowie’s Young Americans album explored  topical ground with the title track Young Americans and Fame. Both are permanent features on my play lists. I treasure my vinyl Heroes album and I have often played the title track two to three times in a row. I love getting lost in its kaleidoscopic blur ” I wish you could swim, like dolphins can swim”……

Scary Monsters gave us the hypnotic Ashes to Ashes and Fashion.  Bowie’s duet with Queen, Under Pressure, delivered a  quirky  track which will remain one of my all time favourite duets. His stand out track from the 80s came from the Never Let Me Down album. Time Will Crawl is absolute brilliance and was also a favourite of Bowie’s.

The Earthlings album delivered the bizarre and enticing I’m Afraid of Americans. It didn’t chart at all but it has developed a cult following among die hard David Bowie fans. His 2002 Heathen album was sumptuous,  with the track Sunday being a stand out. His signature slow burning process was all over it. 

Just as Bowie was deemed past his prime he released his 2013 album The Next Day. The Stars Are Out Tonight and Where Are We Now? are  compulsory tracks that I never tire of. 

Bowie was dying from cancer when he put Blackstar together. I listened to it upon its release and enjoyed it. However, after Bowie passed and it was revealed that that it was arranged and recorded as he was dying it all made complete sense and I loved it even more. He had such a clear view on the terminal path that he was on. He had a high understanding of  life and death during this time.

David Bowie revealed his vulnerabilities on I Can’t Give Everything Away. He channelled the meaningful and the meaningless in the magnum opus  Blackstar track and music video. Lazarus is a perfect exploration of the need to be free from the cannons of terminal illness. The expressed joy from being released from his illness was both poetic and moving. What a magnificent way to end his career!

David Bowie was his own unique creation. A true artist to be treasured and to be inspired by for many centuries to come. 

Check out my article on the career and work of George Michael here 

 

 

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