Bowie Salute Glast 600

I woke up Monday morning to the news that David Bowie had passed away.

It seemed like a joke. Bowie’s birthday had only been the week before and that same week he had just released a new album.

Alas, it wasn’t a joke or a promotional stunt but given Bowie’s nature as a showman and artist, really was there any other way he would have left us?

Bowie was unique.

There is no other way of putting it, really. Like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground, Bowie influenced and will continue to influence countless generations of musicians and artists. Unlike many of his peers, he kept exploring music and produced quality material.

The best way I can explain it is to compare Bowie to another artist who genre hops, Madonna. I know it sounds a little weird but on paper, they share a musical sensibility of seeing where music is going and then being able to harness that in their new work. The difference, in my opinion anyways, is Madonna’s genre jumping always feels like a way to keep herself relevant. With Bowie, it felt like “Hmmm, that’s really interesting. Let’s explore that.” Bowie’s exploration of new musical ideas seemed organic, not band wagon jumping.

In 2013, he managed to pull off two tricks. The first was that he recorded an album in secret. In the age of the internet, twitter, Facebook and all that comes with it, it’s rare we don’t hear at least murmurs about an album from an artist of Bowie’s stature. In the case of The Next Day, there was nothing until the announcement it had been recorded and that it would arrive in stores in March of that year. The second trick was that the album was really good. In fact, it was one of my top 5 albums of 2013 (if you want to delve a little more deeply into how Bowie pulled this off, check out this story I wrote for Alan Cross and Flink).

freddieBowie

Looking back, before I became a fan of Bowie, it really seemed like he was always in my musical life. He was there every Christmas with Bing Crosby singing “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”. When my mother began playing Queen around the house, he was the other vocalist on “Under Pressure”. He was was in one of my favourite Henson productions, Labyrinth, as The Goblin King. When I began to seek out a musical identity of my own, the bands I loved like Nine Inch Nails and The Cure, all of them name checked David Bowie as an influence. So (at the time) if Trent Reznor loved the guy, it meant I should check him out.

I dove into Bowie’s catalogue without looking back and to this day it’s interesting to see what periods I’m attracted to more then others. Album wise, my favourites tend to be Scary Monsters, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, Outside and The Next Day. That being said, my favourite Bowie song ever comes from what is one of my least favourite albums in his catalogue.

 

 

I was first introduced to the song “Quicksand” while watching David Bowie’s 50th birthday concert (and if you love Bowie, see if you can find it on the internet, it’s a fantastic show). It was performed with Robert Smith from The Cure and there was just something about the delivery and the lyrics that just smacked me across the face like a 2×4.

One of the cool things about the nature of Bowie’s musical exploration is that there is something for everyone in his back catalogue. If you like folk rock, you can turn to his older albums like Hunky Dory. For sheer rock and showbiz, there’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.

My condolences go out to his wife, children and family.

The world seems less magical today.

 

 

Brent’s Favourite David Bowie Tracks (This list gives you a sampling from almost every Bowie album)

  • Space Oddity
  • The Man Who Sold The World
  • Changes
  • Quicksand
  • Moonage Daydream
  • Starman
  • Ziggy Stardust
  • Suffragette City
  • Drive-In Saturday
  • The Jean Genie
  • Rebel Rebel
  • Young Americans
  • Golden Years
  • TVC 15
  • Sound and Vision
  • Heroes
  • Boys Keep Swinging
  • Scary Monsters
  • Ashes to Ashes
  • Fashion
  • Modern Love
  • China Girl
  • Let’s Dance
  • Jump They Say
  • Buddha of Suburbia
  • The Hearts Filthy Leason
  • Hallo Spaceboy
  • Little Wonder
  • Sven Years in Tibet
  • Looking for Satellites
  • I’m Afraid of Americans
  • Thursday’s Child
  • Seven
  • Slow Burn
  • New Killer Star
  • Reality
  • Bring Me the Disco King
  • The Next Day
  • The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
  • Where Are We Now?
  • Blackstar
  • Lazurus