|My favorite picture of David Bowie, from the sleeve of the Absolute Beginners single.|
A note from the Wingman: Why would we do a celebrity obituary on this blog? Because David Bowie was an icon, the sort of creative and artistic genius we all wish we could be, and the sort of dapper gentleman of style and cool that we should all strive to emulate.
|Always dapper and put together, and always with that huge smile. Taken just before his death.|
|Bowie with Dave Gahan, circa 1997|
Bowie's Low is the greatest record ever made. I bought it on cassette and the same day I went to a garden centre with my mum. I’d ordered it from the local record shop, and Paul, who was in the band, and is my brother-in-law, had dropped it through the letterbox. It’s like one of those weird days. I walked home from school, there was the cassette and we had a cassette player in the car. I went with her to a garden centre, and I listened to 'Low' while she went and did whatever mums do in garden centres, and I was like utterly, my whole perception of sound was changed. Just how something could sound completely different, like 'Breaking Glass', everything on there in fact, 'Sound And Vision', everything on there, everything I heard was astonishing, really astonishing. When I put it on now the sound, dunk dunk, everything is just fucking genius! There are other albums that I love much more, like viscerally much more, like 'Axis: Bold As Love', or 'Five Leaves Left', albums that I can cry to, but 'Low' was the album that had a huge impact on me, just how I saw sound. No other album has done that to me.
|Robert Smith and David Bowie|
|Bowie and Bono|
David Bowie - Where does one start? Is it too obvious to state that he was the most influential artist for people of our generation and younger? Ziggy Stardust was the first album I owned and his ability to innovate meant that I was waiting patiently for the release of Blackstar just a few days ago.
I have heard Bowie blasting from Mr. Gahan’s dressing room way too many times to begin to count. Heroes was the first song that we ever played as the original Depeche Mode. We were all much more than casual fans.
He is the only artist who compelled us to rush to a record store on day one of a release back in the days of vinyl and beyond. His music is what grabbed us but he was so much more than just a musician.
To follow Bowie, to be one of his fans, was to be led on a magical, winding journey. He constantly pushed boundaries and introduced us to styles and genres we were unaware of or didn’t exist before he invented them.
He was a star - the star of stars. For us, he was the greatest legend. A legend who never rested on his laurels but continued to experiment up until his death.
We, along with the rest of the world, mourn the loss of our greatest talent. This will be a hard one to recover from.
|Bowie and Martin Gore|
Once upon another life, in 1997, through a set of circumstances in which the stars aligned, my guardian angels pulled all their favors, and luck was a lady to me, I wound up front row, standing against the stage, at a David Bowie concert. One which had been sold out for ages, and to which I had no tickets 3 hours prior. Soon after the show began, the Man himself reached out to me, grasped my hand, and held it in his warm, amazing, and magical palm; pantomiming that it was I who would not let go. He held my blessed hand so tightly that he pulled the ring off of my finger. He then smiled at me, held up my ring for the entire screaming audience to see, and walked the stage, proudly displaying it and laughing with his many admirers before he placed it back on my finger. He gave me the most charismatic wink I have ever received. Were it not for what seemed like a million people pressed against me, holding me upright on non-existent knees, I would have surely fallen, both lifeless and more alive than I had ever been, in that moment. To David, wherever he may be, I say this: Goodnight sweet prince. My heart will never be the same knowing you have left us, but is at the same time curious and hopeful for your soul's new journey. God speed.
To have held your hand in mine, even for that briefest of moments a lifetime ago, for just a handshake. To have shared a single moment, brief as it was...to look directly into those sparkling eyes and be met with that dazzling smile, meant just for me...for only a moment...a flicker in time. It is all I had but it is enough to hold me for a lifetime.To have been here, in this life, to have crossed your path. To have watched the showman, the artist, sharing yourself and your art so many times. To have lived a life molded by your presence. That is a gift for which I can never repay you. These tears are real and they are full of both joy and sorrow, as is the life you helped me to live.
Your brilliance and beauty are unrivaled in my world. Thank you, from the deepest recesses of my soul.
p.s. Your catalog takes on a new meaning today. Listening, yet again, with new ears and eyes full of tears...
|Billboard outside Knoxville, Tennesee|
|Billboard outside Los Angeles|