David Bowie passed away earlier today at the age of 69 from a battle with cancer. It'd be crazy for me to try to eulogize such a talented man. I'll leave that up to actual writers. Instead I thought I'd share my experiences with discovering Bowie and his music.
I was in high school when I was introduced to Bowie proper. Sure, I knew about him and had heard his most popular tunes on classic rock stations. But I barely knew anything about him or his music. The most experience I had with Bowie was him prancing around in extraordinarily snug pants along with a bunch of talking socks in Labyrinth.
|More makeup than a hooker and twice as sexy|
I had a friend named Paul Haggerty who was obsessed with two different vocalists that when combined make perfect sense: Jim Morrison and David Bowie. They were both outsiders with their own uniquely amazing way with music and poetry. Paul introduced me first to The Doors and then to Bowie. Paul was a singer and took most of his musical cues from those two artists. It was a many a night we'd get stoned listening to those two sing our worlds away.
Bowie's music stuck with me through those times. I remember buying a bunch of used Bowie CDs and being amazed at his chameleon-like ability to morph into whatever artist he wanted to. It was a far cry from all the similarly dressed grunge artists I had been listening to. He was never afraid to take chances with his music. When he delved into industrial music with his release of Earthling I was blown away by how he could just completely change everything about his musical sensibilities, perform in a totally new genre, and make it sound like he had been doing it for decades. He was a truly amazing talent.
A song from his Earthling album was done acoustically years ago on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It's always stayed with me as a favorite of his. A haunting, beautiful tune that seems appropriate for today. Rest In Peace, Mr. Bowie.