This morning, as we were all getting ready for work or school, making our coffees and pouring our cereal the news came in that David Bowie had passed away after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. It was only three days ago that Bjournal were celebrating his sixty-ninth birthday and the release of his new album Black Star. As the tributes come pouring in and the world mourns, we look back at his incredible career.
Born David Jones, he reinvented himself as David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones, he released his first album, the World of David Bowie, in 1967. However, it was the title track of his second album, Space Oddity, that became a hit in 1969, the year of the first Moon landing. In his lifetime David Bowie released 26 albums and also acted in several films. He is well known for his many alter-egos, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke and has produced albums for many iconic rock stars such as Lou Reed and Iggy Pop as well as collaborating with Brian Eno, producing a three-album collaboration known as the Berlin trilogy. His first US number one was a collaboration with John Lennon on Fame, which topped the US charts in 1975. With the rise of the New Romantic scene in Britain, Bowie continued to sell millions of albums and pack out stadiums until his last tour in 2003, his last live show was a charity show in New York in 2006.
Known for songs such as Heroes, Let’s Dance, Rebel, Rebel, and Life on Mars, David Bowie also found fame with appearances in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, Labyrinth, The Last Temptation of Christ, Absolute Beginners and we also cannot forget his cameos in Zoolander and the TV show Extras. David Bowie has been considered as the first post-modern popstar, having subverted and reinvented pop music time and time again. However, he was also a pioneer beyond music, crashing gender stereotypes and embracing androgyny in the way only David Bowie knew how. Alleged to have had an affair with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, Bowie has been open about his bisexuality in a time when being anything other than heterosexual was not particularly acceptable. He pushed the boundaries of not only rock music and sexuality, but also fashion, and his style was celebrated with a standalone show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2013. He has been called the ‘master of reinvention’ as he defied genres and stereotypes to leave his mark forever.
‘Blackstar’ was Bowie’s 26th studio album and producer Tony Visconti has spoken out about the album this morning, as many are declaring the lyrics to Lazarus as even more poignant than originally thought. Visconti writes on his Facebook page ‘…His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be’. To quote Caitlin Moran ‘When in doubt, listen to David Bowie. In 1968, Bowie was a gay, ginger, bonk-eyed, snuggle-toothed freak walking around south London in a dress, being shouted at by thugs. Four years later, he was still exactly that – but everyone else wanted to be like him, too. If David Bowie can make being David Bowie cool, you can make being you cool.’. This was David Bowie’s world, and we were lucky enough to live in it.
I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was a true innovator, a true creative. May he rest in peace 🖖🏾 #RIPDavidBowie
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 11, 2016
I am not joking in any way shape or form when I say it never even occurred to me that it was possible for David Bowie to not exist anymore
— April Richardson (@Apey) January 11, 2016
We were so thrilled to have him back we failed to notice he was saying goodbye
— Graeme Thomson (@GraemeAThomson) January 11, 2016