I don’t usually jump on celebrity death tribute bandwagons, but there are a very few exceptions. As a lifelong David Bowie fan, I was very sad to hear of his passing today. Bowie was nothing short of an artistic genius. From his gender-bending Ziggy Stardust days through his latest critically-acclaimed release, Blackstar, Bowie never stopped evolving his sound to stay futuristic no matter what the current era.
Like most ’80s kids, I first came to know David Bowie through the cult film, Labyrinth, and somewhat cheesy but insanely popular radio hits “Modern Love,” “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance.”
However, it was Bowie’s ’90s industrial rock collaboration with Nine Inch Nails, “I’m Afraid Of Americans,” and his noirish concept album Outside (particularly the single, “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson”) that truly made me a Bowie fanatic.
It was then I bought a 2-cassette (it was the 90s after all) compilation, 1969-1993 Singles. For those unfamiliar with Bowie’s work, the singles collection is a good place to start. It led me to everything Ziggy Stardust-related – including the sci-fi movie The Man Who Fell to Earth. My favorite Bowie albums are The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust…, The Man Who Sold The World and Outside.
I was every bit as fascinated by the man and his allegorical lyrics as the sound of his music. I continue to be amazed that Bowie remained relevant and innovative throughout so many decades.
Everyone from Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Prince to Nirvana, Bjork and Radiohead (and of course Nine Inch Nails) to Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West was influenced by David Bowie and the artistic doors he boldly forced open.
Music and art won’t be the same without him. Nor will film. After all, Bowie had the two coolest cinematic cameos to date – as himself in Zoolander and as Nikola Tesla (another obsession of mine) in The Prestige.
You can stream David Bowie’s new album, Blackstar, below as well as a playlist of my personal favorite Bowie songs. And here’s the foreboding video for his latest single, “Lazarus,” as well as some old Bowie favorites of mine (including my fave cover by Nirvana)…