Like many angst-y preteens, “alternative” music and culture called me in my adolescent years. I ventured into punk, the emo/scream/scene scenes and consumed all of the 80’s I could stand and my parents could reminisce. Among my varied exploring came my interest in David Bowie, an unwavering love I’ve held through present day.
The beloved chameleon, David Bowie, lost his secretive fight to cancer on Sunday, January 10th 2016, two days after his 69th birthday.
Celebrities, artists, actors, musicians and models have poured out their support and love for Bowie and his wife, supermodel Iman- and with great reason: for decades Bowie reinvented himself and his art, influencing along the way the world around him. There is not a single artistic industry from music to fashion to art where Bowie’s impact doesn’t resonate.
Before there was a Sasha Fierce, a Kitty Purry or a Sean/Diddy/Puff Daddy Combs, there was the originator in multiple on-stage and off-stage alter-egos. Bowie has lived as Major Tom, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, Tao Jones, Halloween Jack, John Merrick and of course, Ziggy Stardust.
Bowie was one of the first to push the boundaries of gender and challenge the norms of sexuality, androgynous themes reflected in his fashions to suit his personalities throughout the years. Now the subject and inspiration of fashion shows and exhibits, Bowie’s self-expression has been mourned and praised by the likes of fashion designers Jeremy Scott of Moschino and Jean-Paul Gaultier and more, illustrators and photographers. His high-profile marriage to one of the world’s first and best Black supermodels solidified his place in fashion history; they were married for 23 years.
Labyrinth, Basquiat, The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Last Temptation of Christ, were just some of Bowie’s acting credits. His talents weren’t limited to the silver screen, as he also starred on stage in The Elephant Man, in addition to recently having The Man Who Fell to Earth inspire a Broadway musical, aptly named Lazarus.
The artist was incredibly humble, turning down not one, but two of the highest honors possible from the British Parliament: the title of Commander (CBE) in 2000, and knighthood in 2003.
Bowie had five UK number one singles: “Space Oddity” (1975), “Ashes to Ashes” (1980), “Under Pressure” (with Queen – 1981), “Let’s Dance” (1983) and “Dancing in the Street” (with Mick Jagger -1985). He spent 13 weeks at number one in the UK singles chart, had 61 top 40 hits, spent 336 weeks spent in the UK top 40 singles chart and 599 weeks in the UK top 40 album chart, including 23 at number one. He had nine UK number one albums. 140 million – estimated worldwide record sales made him one of the top 10 biggest-selling UK artists of all time. His biggest-selling album Let’s Dance had seven million copies sold. He received two Brit awards, in 1984 and 2014, won one Grammy award in 1985 and one Ivor Novello award in 1969.
Bowie released 28 studio albums, including Blackstar the eerie, subdued version of the rockstar, released just days before his death.
Many famous personalities try to immortalize themselves before their time, but few earn such a right to have the public bestow upon them said honor; Bowie is all too-deserving and the tributes from his adoring and diverse fans of all ages, creeds, ethnicities and backgrounds across the galaxy are testament to his genius. “We are not the same, I am a martian” maybe should’ve been spoken by Bowie, a true alien in the most flattering compliment; for we are different from him, and in my opinion, have yet to see an artist emerge with the same kind of genuine, raw talent and intrigue as Bowie. Bowie’s significance throughout multiple industries is effortless.
A quick google search will yield much more eloquent acknowledgements of esteem for the late Bowie, remarking on the man and the artist, from countless publications and blogs worldwide, but I couldn’t forego my own respect and admiration for the legend.
To take from countless other fans, “I guess there is life on Mars now…”
Rest in Peace to a limitless icon.