Tag Archives: David Bowie

David Bowie, 47-06

helen green

It seems inappropriate to write about anything else today.  The above drawing (by the talented Helen Green) says it all, so many memorable looks, so many personas captured in one man.  Word spread around the office quick and I found out that a lot of people my age don’t know what songs he did.  “Name a couple”, one of them asked, but what do you name?  “Space Oddity”?  “Ziggy Stardust”?  “Heroes”?  “Ashes to Ashes”, “Fame”, “Let’s Dance”, “Changes”, “Queen Bitch”, “China Girl”, hell, what about “Under Pressure”?  All I could say is, “trust me, you’ve heard some of them”, and I should know; I’ve been a fan of both “Rebel Rebel” and “Golden Years” for a long time without knowing that they were Bowie songs, even though I owned several of his CDs.  There is no song, no album, no image, no era that defines David Bowie, and that’s what he will wind up being remembered for.  That was always his reputation – a “musical chameleon” who could adapt into anything, which was both a compliment and a criticism.  Certainly there were many who argued that Bowie never had a style of his own, instead choosing to follow popular trends in search of record sales.  There is definitely some truth to that, though I can’t imagine any other megastar artist at the peak of their popularity releasing two albums that were half instrumentals.  With Bowie you just never knew.  He was willing to try just about anything, and usually talented enough to pull it off.  No doubt there are plenty of career retrospectives being written as we speak and we know that they will be long.  He failed rather spectacularly in the beginning of his career, tanking single after single, eventually penning the brilliant “Space Oddity” and then catapulting to superstardom a few years later with his Ziggy Stardust persona and his excellent backing band, The Spiders From Mars.  And then he broke up the band and did a bunch of other stuff, scored about a dozen more hits along the way, and appeared in the movie Zoolander.  Among many other things.

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