Singer-songwriter and occasional actor David Bowie passed away yesterday following an 18 month battle with cancer. Bowie died two days after his 69th birthday.
It was on his 69th birthday that Bowie would release his final album Blackstar.
I read something quite interesting about Bowie in Patrick Humphries’ biography of Nick Drake. In the ’60’s, in order to appear on BBC Radio, artists had to audition before a talent panel and Bowie (who was then known as David Jones) was no exception. Bowie’s didn’t fare so well at the audition. The BBC talent panel determined that Bowie was “a singer devoid of personality.”
Only a panel of government bureaucrats could conclude that David Bowie was devoid of personality.
In fact, Bowie had many personalities during a musical career that last nearly half a century: Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke.
Bowie had numerous hit singles between the late ’60’s through the 1980’s – “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Young Americans,” “Fame,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Under Pressure” with Queen (which Vanilla Ice infamously sampled in “Ice Ice Baby”), “Let’s Dance,” “Modern Love” and “Heroes.” Over the years, Bowie would collaborate with the likes of Lou Reed, Brian Eno and Iggy Pop. In the late ’80’s after years as a solo artist, Bowie formed a band called The Tin Machine. Bowie also occasionally appeared as an actor most notably in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth and on Broadway in the title role of The Elephant Man in 1980.
A heart attack in 2004 would cause Bowie to largely retreat from public life. His last public performance took place in 2006. Prior to the release of Blackstar on Friday, Bowie only released one other album during this period. In 2013, Bowie released The Next Day to critical acclaim and it would also proved to be his best selling album. At the time of his death, Bowie had been married to supermodel Iman for more than 23 years.
I leave you with a video of one of Bowie’s lesser known songs “Blue Jean.”