“It’s a hoax!”
That was my first thought, it had to be! After all, in this day in age of fake news sites and social media, there have been a slew of these types of hoaxes recently.
And he was so youthful! He just had a birthday and released an album! There was no way that David Bowie could be dead.
I wouldn’t call myself as a superfan but his presence has always been there in my musical consciousness… from Casey Kasem’s top 40 counting down to Fame in the mid-seventies to the weird guy in some movies, and later on MTV and the Labyrinth, he was a constant.
My appreciation for him grew out not from the source but from seeds that he had shaken off over time… covers by everyone from The Cure to Kurt Cobain told me I should look backward see what I had missed.
But the final straw came from an unlikely source… the Brazilian singer songwriter an actor Seu Jorge:
His fantastic covers of numerous classic Bowie tunes performed in Portuguese for the soundtrack of (and integrated into) the movie The Life Aquatic just took my breath away.
Bowie himself said that if Jorge had not recorded his songs in Portuguese “I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with”.
These stark and beautiful covers really did increase my respect for Bowie as a composer, and I have been collecting his back catalog ever since.
David Bowie was a youthful chameleon; never seeming to age but becoming more beautiful over time… adapting to his surroundings more rapidly than his predators could react.
He realized his image was paramount, even more so than his music at times. He was influential on more than just the music scene, but on human culture in general, and that is saying a lot since he was the co-creator of a whole genre of rock and roll known as glam and supremely influential in the advent of punk.
Not one to let his influence overtake him, he was perpetually inventive, throwing away one persona after the next as the mood drove him in a different direction. He would often outpace his biggest fans who would come to concerts dressed in their finest Ziggy Stardust paraphernalia only to be greeted by the Thin White Duke.
So today is a day to “put on your red shoes and dance the blues”… while you still can! As for me I will be surfing the thrift stores and record shops of the Pacific Northwest looking to plug the holes in my David Bowie collection!