It’s early morning, Monday, January 11, 2016. I’m up late writing when the news comes over my Facebook feed: David Bowie had passed. Apparently he had been battling cancer for over a year, and nobody but those close to him really knew.
Hit me in the heart with a hammer. I didn’t want to believe it, but his official Facebook and Twitter confirmed the news, as did his son Duncan’s Twitter:
January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle… https://t.co/ENRSiT43Zy
— David Bowie Official (@DavidBowieReal) January 11, 2016
Very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. pic.twitter.com/Kh2fq3tf9m
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 11, 2016
I literally grew up with David Bowie, having been born in the late 60s, when Bowie first rose to fame with “Space Oddity.” His music was constantly played in the house by my mother, and one of the first movies she took me to was “The Man Who Fell to Earth” in 1976. Perhaps not the best movie to show a child, but I will be forever grateful to mom for exposing me to this creative artist.
And he was so very creative. His songs often spoke about being an outsider and embracing the strange. They incorporated different music stylings, rather than being straight up rock songs.
He was forever re-inventing himself and his stage persona: Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke. In the 80s, he once again reinvented himself as an unlikely pop star, with hits like “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl.” He was androgynous. He was elegant. He was theatrical. He was the Goblin King. He was an artist in every true sense of the word, not just with sound, but with visuals, as well.
To see him in concert in the 70s and 80s, when I did, was to see a theater production masquerading as a rock show.
His creativity and willingness to embrace his uniqueness inspired millions to create their own artistic endeavors. Inspired millions to step outside the box. Inspired millions to tap into their own pool of strange.
His music is the soundtrack to many of my life’s memories, and many of my memories with my mom, who passed in 2005. If you could see me writing this, tears are rolling down my face, as I blink trying to see the screen through the watery haze in my eyes.
David Bowie has been a part of my life since I can remember, and I am beyond shattered to hear he is gone.
Bowie just turned 69 on January 8, 2016, the same day he released his new album, Blackstar. He managed to leave us with one last musical gift before passing on.
Thank you Mr. Bowie for the music and the memories. You are irreplaceable, and will most definitely be missed.
I’d like to leave you all with the video for my favorite David Bowie song, “Changes,” from his 1971 album, Hunky Dory. The lyrics always spoke to me.
And the title cut from his last album:
[image courtesy Sony Music]
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