Lemmy Kilmister, rock and roll legend who fronted Motörhead, who passed away in December once said: “If you’re going to be a fucking rock star go be one. People don’t want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet. You want to see somebody you’d never meet in ordinary life.”
If ever a man personified that statement, it was David Bowie.
Mr. Bowie was born David Jones on January 8th, 1947, in Brixton, South of London to a waitress and a nightclub owner. Rising to fame in the summer of 1969 with “Space Oddity,” days before the Apollo 11 moon landing. he would later after a 3 year hiatus return to us with the introduction of his glam rock alter ego Ziggy Stardust only to kill him off four years later to bring us his relaxed-apocalyptic Thin White Duke and shortly thereafter a dive head first into electronic dance music turning a 1981 Switzerland jam session with Queen into the power anthem “Under Pressure” and in 1983 bringing us “Let’s Dance.”
Rock and Roll’s king chameleon, a man who could transform as he wished, his music often revolved around being an outsider in a world where he also longed for something “normal.” His complexity was a large part of who he was, androgynous with no label, title or genre that could contain him he pushed the invisible limits placed upon artists and ultimately many of those on human beings.
Married for 23 years to international supermodel Iman, they shared a daughter alongside his son (from a prior marriage). Straying from the spotlight after a 2004 heart attack that ended a tour for his album “Reality,” he bounced back a year later performing alongside Arcade Fire, one of many bands inspired by him and one of many he often championed.
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
His final public performance would be in 2006 where he performed three songs at the Keep a Child Alive’ Black Ball charity at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, one of which with Alicia Keys.
While his diagnosis may have been known by his family, many including his fans were left in the dark. On his 69th birthday, January 8th, his album “Blackstar” was released. Instantly shooting up to No.1 in the UK and No.2 in America, the seven track release featured a collaboration with a jazz quintet taking an exploratory dive into an elegant electro-acoustic album.
Many of his followers now believe the release was timed for his final farewell.
Good lord. He was saying goodbye and we never knew it.
— Matthew Sweet (@DrMatthewSweet) January 11, 2016
A music video for his track “Lazarus” was released four days ago showing a bed ridden Bowie wearing a blindfold while singing “Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen.” The track, based on an Off Broadway musical of the same name that he collaborated on was a sequel to his 1976 film role in “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”
In conclusion, Mr. Bowie has left us with a life well lived in his own unique way and a sudden farewell that only leaves us looking up and longing for more.
“…and the stars look very different today.” Thank you Mr. Bowie.
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