By now, most people know we’ve lost the legendary artist, David Bowie, who was battling cancer for the last 18 months. His music–totaling 25 albums–offered something for everyone, and has been the backdrop for countless memories since his first release in the late 1960s. Today, many are mourning his passing, but also celebrating the works he’s left behind, including his latest album, Blackstar, which just came out on Friday, January 8th – his birthday.
I’m not an expert on Bowie, but he no doubt imparted many gifts to his fans over the years, for which his life and his artistry will always be remembered. To celebrate some of these gifts, I’ve compiled a list of articles that explore Bowie’s many contributions to this world:
1. Forward-looking songwriting – “David Bowie Dies at 69; a Chameleon in Music, Art and Fashion” via The New York Times
Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend: rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul,” but it was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No. 1 pop hits like “Let’s Dance.” Read more
2. Proof that anything is possible – “How David Bowie redefined what it meant to be a rock star” via the Portland Press Herald
David Bowie made clear, in a way that was exhilarating and sometimes frightening, what every rock star since Elvis Presley and Little Richard had been telling us all along – that anything was possible.
With his unpredictable range of styles, his melding of European jadedness with American rhythms and his ever-changing personas and wardrobes, the gaunt and erudite Bowie brought an open theatricality and androgyny to popular music that changed the very meaning of being a rock star. Read more
3. Breaking down barriers – “David Bowie: ‘Weirdo’ Broke Down Barriers, Inspired Legions” via NBC News
His immediately identifiable voice urged listeners to “Turn and face the strange” — and for decades that’s exactly what David Bowie’s music did. … But beyond a massive catalog of hits, Bowie left behind a legacy of breaking down barriers in music and beyond. He was the best weirdo out there — and made being one OK for legions. Read more
4. Helping to bring down the Berlin Wall – “David Bowie at the Berlin Wall: the incredible story of a concert and its role in history” via Vox Culture
In June 1987, David Bowie returned to the divided city of Berlin for a concert that some Germans, rightly or wrongly, still view as having helped change history.
Bowie knew West Berlin well. He’d lived there for three years in the late 1970s, sharing an apartment in the Schöneberg neighborhood with Iggy Pop, escaping from the drugs and over-the-top glam of his early career into the city’s expressionism and art pop. It was there that Bowie recorded three of the albums for which, upon his death today from cancer at the age of 69, he is still remembered and cherished. Read more
5. Unforgettable acting performances – “David Bowie’s 10 best film and TV roles” via USA Today
David Bowie was many things. Glam rocker, style icon, father, husband, White Duke and incredible performer. But for all the amazing contributions he made to the world of music over the course of his long and storied career, he also gave the world of film and television plenty to talk about. Read more
6. Lazarus – “David Bowie’s last release, Lazarus, was ‘parting gift’ for fans in carefully planned finale” via The Telegraph
David Bowie’s final record was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans, his producer has confirmed. Lazarus, released on the Bowie’s 69th birthday just two days before his death, opens with the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!” Read more
Rest in peace, Bowie.