Sunday, January 10, 2016, just over a week into the year and artists around the world were united as one of their own passed beyond the stage of life to take the next great journey. An inspiration to many and a performer in every sense of the word, David Bowie passed away this day after an extended battle with cancer. Though he left a parting gift in the form of his new album Blackstar, fans around the world were left in mourning and most will likely stay there for a while longer. But, rather than look at what the world has lost, Bowie himself lived an extraordinary life where he poured his heart and soul into everything he did. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at his development through the years and celebrate how he has really impacted the world.
Born January 8, 1947 as David Robert Jones, Bowie actually decided to change his name in 1966 after The Monkees’ star Davy Jones achieved fame. Like many of the 20th century greats, he is a native of England, specifically Brixton, London. Also like many of the best, he started his journey without much initial success, but with a consistent push towards hitting it big, he ultimately landed himself on the right track in 1969 with his album “Space Oddity,” in which the title tract actually reached number one on the UK charts. His music showed a truly unique quality and those who heard it began to recognize the name Bowie as one to keep an eye out for. Of course, his real breakthrough wouldn’t occur until a few years latter…
In 1972, David Bowie took a bold move as he introduced his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust with his band the Spiders from Mars. His new look captured the attention of many and his sound was something that anyone could appreciate. Of course, as influential as this alter ego was, it was only the start of his transformations. Over the years, he moved on to soul and funk, then to the Berlin era, where he moved to Switzerland and and collaborated with Iggy Pop on much of his work. From 1980-1988, he continued to expand his sound, working with New Wave before evolving even more into the 90s and 2000s.
Of course, while many remember him solely for his career as a musician, it would be a huge oversight to ignore his impact as an actor. Namely, people often look towards roles like “The Man Who Fell to Earth” where Bowie played an alien who was seeking help from earth for his dying planet. “Labyrinth” is another major role that they look at, with nothing but fond memories of his character Jareth, the Goblin King. Like his presecnce on stage, he always brought a unique artistic touch to everything he did.
Performers from all around the world joined Bowie’s fans on Sunday and Monday as news of his death spread and if it wasn’t already apparent, it became quite clear that he was a friend to many. Fellow pop legends like Paul McCartney talked about how he “…treasure(d) the moments we had together.” Another one of his close collaborators, Iggy Pop went to twitter:
MESSAGE FROM IGGY: “David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is. – Iggy Pop”
— Iggy Pop (@IggyPop) January 11, 2016
Regardless of who they were or when they met him, everyone seems to have nothing but fond memories of the legend. So, wherever you might be now, rest in piece David Bowie. The world is a better place with your artistic legacy to look back on.