R.I.P. David Bowie

David Bowie has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.

My favorite David Bowie song:


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    I'm. Absolutely. Stunned. (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by shoephone on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:49:16 AM EST
    And incredibly sad. I had no idea he was ill. Ziggy Stardust was one of the few things that got me through my second dismal year of junior high. He was such a pioneer, a true original, in music and on film.

    Really just too stunned.

    This is incredibly sad news. (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:45:32 AM EST
    Bowie was one of the greats, and was often way ahead of the curve. He and Lou Reed got me through my adolescence. His people have spent the last week promoting his new album "Blackstar," which has been receiving rave reviews.

    "We can be heroes, just for one day." Aloha to one of a kind.

    Did not know (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:11:40 AM EST
    He was sick.
    David Bowie, Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople

    My favorite album, always tough to do, most likely is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,

    My intramural basketball team in college was named

    "The Spiders from Mars"

    Guess who played Bass for Bowies backup band, The Spiders from Mars?

    No fair, "Trevor." (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:51:27 PM EST
    I thought we were using our real names here!

    If you're a bassist then you probably already know that Motörhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister died just after Christmas.  Packed in between Motörhead's extremely aggressive decibels were some extremely irreverent lyrics.  If you were a fan, or are simply bored, you can sign this online petition asking that IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) name one of the newer heavy elements (113-118) Lemmium.

    I know a guy who worked with Woody Woodmansey, the Spiders drummer, during the 90s.  He says that Woody had only nice things to say about Bowie - but for some unspecified reason there remained disagreement over payments for the Ziggy recording work.


    Lol (none / 0) (#24)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:22:49 PM EST
    Hell no, I have no musical talent at all, my mother would't let me sing in the shower, so off key.
    Just really loved the bass work on Star and Hang on to Yourself, on Side 2 of the Ziggy album.
    And if you have to choose a moniker for a blog, what can be better than Trevor Bolder, lol.
    I also used it when commenting in a local newspaper, only once was it caught, another commenter replied nice bass lines on Width of a Circle, Trevor.  Had me chuckling for a while.
    Not a Motorhead fan, not even familiar with their music.

    nice (none / 0) (#4)
    by jmacWA on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:50:16 AM EST
    What did David Bowie do? Everything. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:21:32 AM EST
    "Five songs to prove David Bowie is impossible to capture in just five songs," from Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times:

    "At just four minutes, 'Lazarus' isn't the most unexpected track on Bowie's excellent 'Blackstar' (that would be its haunting, nine-minute-plus title track). But it is its most poignant in hindsight. 'Look up here, I'm in heaven,' Bowie says to open the song amid sighing horns and a downcast rhythm that still leaves room for hope. Looking at the song's striking video it's hard not to think of Bowie's illness as he floats above his bed and sings of freedom before asking, 'Ain't that just like me?' Can this song be seen as an autobiographical glimpse? As always, there's no way of knowing. But we can only hope David Bowie is looking back at us now."

    "Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?"
    - David Bowie, "Young Americans" (1975)


    This makes me really sad (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sj on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:24:20 PM EST
    I'm totally shocked. I can't believe he was married to Iman for 23 years.

    He was a master of all the arts: musical, performing, painting, sculpting. I wonder if he could cook. And, last I saw him, still impossibly handsome.


    The term "Renaissance Man"... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:39:45 PM EST
    gets tossed around a lot...David Bowie was a true Renaissance Man.

    Really made me sad too (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:04:58 PM EST
    I was not as attached as others here, but I did not realize how much of a fixture he is in my mental soundtrack.

    All of those '70's FM radio staples evoke driving around in my mom's station wagon in the Illinois winter. I loved 'Changes' when I was in high school. Beautiful melody and lyrics.

    They bring back childhood for me too (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:19:09 PM EST
    Tracy, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 03:00:15 PM EST
    OT, but call your attention to the following article: " Being Liberal in Lower Alabama."  It all sounds right to me, except for the very last sentence.  Don't agree with that line.

    You nailed it for me (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 04:03:32 PM EST
    Obviously the author is heavily invested in the region, strong ties. And I can feel that way easily in El Paso County, which is hopelessly red and where I was born too. But I can find ways to recharge there, and here I can't. Our desire to be anyplace else is made obvious by how we already are planning our move that is two yrs out.

    We went out this weekend, something we never do, but there is a new ale house here. And it was packed and people there we knew. I end up next to a military flight surgeon, who didn't make promotion. That's an indicator you have a major personality disorder or something :). My God what a beast, and still single after all these years because the man is intolerable. He loves it here. Which is good, because the Army is kicking him to the curb here. But I can't hold my tongue because he's so vicious finding out my husband continues to have a career, but my husband isn't an insufferable abusive abrasive Conservative dickhead. Why would anyone even want to a physician when they hate other people so much? But he's smart, and I'm gonna get him because of that. I tell him I can't wait to leave this crap area of the country. No museums, nothing culturally stimulating, a taker state with a negative GDP. What are Alabama Conservatives so proud of? They are always talking about their pride but what do they have to be proud of?  High mortality rates in one of the most impoverished states in the union?

    He's fuming, how dare I? A British flight surgeon who is a researcher here breaks it up by deciding to discuss parliamentary politics in the UK, but eventually gets to this point....not kidding. He says that most Conservatives in the UK would be served by Democrats in the US.  Bahahaha! And this guy isn't a nobody. They wanted him badly here. He's served, respected, been all over the world :) And he made me sublimely happy for a brief moment here.


    His (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 06:36:13 PM EST
    last photograph.

    He looks happy and at peace. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:04:31 PM EST
    That's a beautiful image by which to remember him. Thank you for providing it.

    That is a wonderful picture (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:17:40 PM EST
    Showing that timeless, playful Cheshire cat that all real artists have inside them..

    ... is via YouTube and an old MTV interview with him from 1983, "rediscovered" in the aftermath of his passing.

    What makes this exchange particularly interesting is how quickly Bowie literally flipped the conversation on interviewer Mark Goodman, when he called out MTV for its conscious failure to include African-American artists in its prime-time video rotation. Leaves one to wonder who was interviewing whom:

    David Bowie: "It occurred to me, having watched MTV over the last few months, that's it's a solid enterprise, really. It's got a lot going for it. I'm just floored by the fact that there are so few black artists featured on it. Why is that?"

    Mark Goodman: "I think we're trying to move in that direction. We want to play artists that seem to be doing music that fits into what we want to play for MTV. The company is thinking in terms of narrow-casting."

    Bowie: "That's evident. It's evident in the fact that the only few black artists that one does see are on about 2:30 in the morning to around 6. Very few are featured predominantly during the day."

    Goodman then attempted to defend his employer, but Bowie further pressed the issue and in the process, elicited some rather appalling admissions from Goodman about what was then MTV's preferred demographics and racist business model.

    Goodman: "We have to play the music that we think an entire country is going to like. And certainly we are a rock `n' roll station. Now, the question would be asked, should, since we're in New York, should [W]PLJ play, you know, the Isley Brothers. Well, you and I might say, well, yeah, because we've grown up in an era when the Isley Brothers mean something to me. And so do the Spinners way after the Isley Brothers. But what does it mean to a 17-year-old? Well, when you talk on the phone to these guys like I did when I was in radio, it's scary."

    Bowie: "Well, I tell you what it means. I tell you what maybe the Isley Brothers or Marvin Gaye means to a black 17-year-old. Surely he's part of America as well."

    Goodman: "Ah, no question. No question. That's why you're seeing those things --"

    Bowie: "Do you not find that it's a frightening predicament to be in?"

    Goodman: "Yeah, but less so here than in radio."

    Bowie: "And is it not, well, dare say, 'It's not me, it's them.' Is it not possible that it should be a conviction of the station and of other radio stations to be fair? It does seem to be rampant through American media. Should it not be a challenge to try to make the media far more integrated in ..."

    Goodman: "I think it's happening."

    Bowie: "... especially, if anything, in musical terms?"

    Goodman: "Absolutely, I think it's happening because white music and white musicians are now starting to play now more than ever -- more than they have lately, let's say in the last 10 years -- what black artists have been into. And now, hopefully, the lines are going to start to blur. And when we play a band like ABC, well, there's white and black kids who are enjoying it. And all of a sudden, well, it's a little bit easier for a white kid to understand it. The fact is -- quite frankly, I could even point you towards a letter in the new issue of the Record -- the magazine, the Record -- responding to an article by Dave Marsh, that this kid just ranted about what he didn't want to see on MTV ..."

    Bowie: "Well, that's his problem."

    Goodman: "... and in no uncertain terms. Well, what I'm saying, though, is that there's, as you say, there certainly are a lot of black kids and white kids who may want to see black music, but there's a ton of them who are -- it's not like it was in '67 where you say, "Yeah, I'm not into that, but you are? Yeah?" Now it's, "You're into that? I don't like YOU." And that's scary, and we can't just turn around and go, "Well, look, this is the right way!" We can only teach, I think, a little bit at a time.

    Bowie: "Interesting. OK, thank you very much."

    Goodman: "Does that make sense? Is it a valid point?"

    Bowie: (Smiling) "I understand your point of view." (Laughs)

    David Bowie was a true mensch.  

    David Bowie, as remembered by... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 17, 2016 at 11:47:17 AM EST
    From Blondie and Kate Bush to the Broadway producer who watched Bowie struggle to make his final video, friends, collaborators and celebrity fans offer their insights into the extraordinary man behind the music

    Chris Stein: The first time we met Bowie was when we supported him and Iggy Pop [for The Idiot tour in 1977]. We were in awe of him and Iggy right from the get-go. He was always very charming and gentlemanly, but also wary and kind of catty at the same time. I remember we talked about the new wave, and about [Television frontman] Tom Verlaine's hairdo a lot. He was a little sarcastic and derisive of it, but at the same time I thought he was also kind of jealous of the attention the hairdo was getting.

    Farewell Ziggy Stardust (none / 0) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 07:25:20 AM EST
    Enjoy your new Life on Mars. (my favorite Bowie song).

    Mine Too... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 09:29:59 AM EST
    ...and he will be missed dearly.

    This year especially, not too many days I have visited TL and not thought of this lyric:

    Take a look at the lawman
    Beating up the wrong guy
    Oh man wonder if he'll ever know
    He's in the best selling show

    Is there life on Mars ?
     Sometimes I wonder.

    FYI... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:27:09 AM EST
    ...today they are doing a tribute on XM Vinyl Classic channel 26.  They are talking with people and playing Bowie songs, and the many covers of Bowie songs.  They are also playing stuff from Blackstar, which is new to me.  Lot of suggestions that the album is a farewell to the world album.  I don't know, but I think of Bowie as a bright shiny star, not a black one.

    "Blackstar" is new to everyone. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 12:40:52 PM EST
    The album -- David Bowie's 25th -- was released only last Friday, which coincidentally was also his 69th birthday. Being a Bowie aficionado, I bought it on Saturday morning, obviously ignorant of the fact (as were we all) that he was dying of cancer. After giving it a once-through, I was very impressed.

    But given last night's news, I'm presently listening to it again even more closely, and there's now a haunting poignancy in this work that simply wasn't there for me on Saturday. So I think you're right that Bowie, confronting his own mortality, likely wrote and recorded "Blackstar" to serve as his valedictory.



    And per Bowie's producer Tony Visconti , ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 04:57:04 PM EST
    ... your instincts about Bowie's farewell were indeed correct. Visconti confirmed today that Bowie and his inner circle of collaborators were fully aware that his condition was terminal, and that they planned "Blackstar" to be the artist's "parting gift."

    Instincts ? (none / 0) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:27:52 PM EST
    It's called Blackstar and being the Bowie aficionado surely you understand the theme that has always weaved into his best music, himself.  Blackstar is the dead/dying star, whether that is conveyed in the music is for me to discover, but I have little doubt the cat from Japan, the action man, and Blackstar are one in the same.

    Now that Bowie's gone, ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 09:59:45 PM EST
    ... the lyrics from "Blackstar" naturally come into sharp focus. Ex post facto and per his producer's subsequent statement, Bowie obviously intended it to stand as his valedictory.

    But honestly, that thought never even crossed my mind when I bought the album on Saturday, nor was it likely entertained by any of the music critics who reviewed it last week, because nobody had any idea that Bowie had in fact only a few days left.

    So, while "Blackstar" was reflective and provocative and even somewhat mysterious when first I listened to it Saturday afternoon, it was at that time not at all revelatory of his immediately pending fate.

    Hindsight's always 20 / 20.


    The lyrics to his song Blackstar (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:19:18 PM EST
    Didn't fit as well as other tracks with his condition. I'm reading that a musician who worked with Bowie on this album claims the song Blackstar is about ISIS.

    ... to claim one or the other. And it's his song, not that session musician's. That said, I would agree that the title track is different, so that musician may be correct.

    The bout was not so long (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:11:48 AM EST
    Relatively speaking.  The news said 18 months.  Some bouts are much longer.  Some are not.  

    Very sad.  He was not that old compared to the rest of us.  

    He recently released a a film, BLACKSTAR

    very good.

    David Bowie is preparing to release new album ★ (pronounced Blackstar) on January 8. This Tuesday, he shared a two-minute preview of the title track, and now, he's shared a trailer for its accompanying short film. Directed by Johan Renck, the clip will premiere next Thursday at 3:50 p.m. Eastern on Palladia.

    I really like Lazarus (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:18:04 PM EST
    And find the video very compelling too. A few phrases sketches out celebrity death, everybody knows him now. And the imagery in the video of the wardrobe (a European closet), from a clothes horse who once claimed he was a closeted heterosexual...it's very poetic and fitting and perhaps courageous? The imagery of him trying to compose his last lyrics and music about his final experiences on this plane while ill?

    the 15 y.o. daughter of one of my best friends.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:39:36 AM EST
    ...spent all morning crying after hearing the news.

    R.I.P., Ziggy.

    The Mick-and-Keith alchemy (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:19:53 PM EST
    Bowie had onstage with the late, great Mick Ronson was really something to see and experience back in the Ziggy era..

    Bowie always picked the most interesting musicians to hook up with, like a painter who's a master at mixing his colors..


    Today I learned... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:38:21 PM EST
    It was David Bowie himself playing lead guitar on "Rebel Rebel"...I always thought of that sick lick as being classic Mick Ronson.

    ... David Bowie's work was almost always interesting and had a real verve to it -- like the time he recorded The Beatles' "Across the Universe" in January 1975 for his "Young Americans" album, and took no less than John Lennon himself (providing a guitar and some backing vocals) along for the ride.

    Admittedly , it took me quite a while before I finally decided what it was in that cover of "Across the Universe" that I actually liked, because I really can't disagree with NPR music critic Jem Aswad, a big fan of Bowie's who rightly describes it as "excruciatingly overblown."

    Yes, it certainly is that. But it's since grabbed me anyway, because Bowie's assertion of creative license and control on that particular track is what sets him apart from so many other musical artists of his era. He proved himself fearless in his willingness to innovate and reinvent for the sake of his art, all the while recognizing that some fans might find his efforts abrasive and / or flat. He took the risk anyway.

    That collaboration with Lennon also proved fruitful for Bowie, because he then co-wrote his first No. 1 hit with the former Beatle, "Fame," for "Young Americans," an album which really cemented Bowie's status with mainstream American audiences as a musical artist of consequence, even if he did initially dismiss it as "plastic soul."

    Later in life, Bowie admitted that the drug-fueled intensity of his work on "Young Americans" and the previous "Diamond Dogs" led directly to one of his most celebrated periods as an artist and songwriter, when he moved to Germany and collaborated with producers Tony Visconti and Brian Eno on a critically acclaimed series of albums -- "Station to Station," "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger" -- which he would later consider to be among his very best work.

    (It was the view of the Berlin Wall and its guard towers from his studio's control room window that first inspired Bowie to write the title track  of "Heroes," which over the years to attain a cult-like status among many of his fans as arguably THE definitive David Bowie song, if there can ever be such a thing.)



    Always (none / 0) (#25)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:26:04 PM EST
    Loved Mick Ronson, saw him with Ian Hunter when they toured with the Kinks.
    Nice concert.

    Rebel Rebel (none / 0) (#27)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 06:20:25 PM EST
    - the Samba, by Seu Jorge

    This is from the soundtrack to, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a weird little Bill Murray movie.  Is that redundant?

    Bowie Fans... (none / 0) (#35)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 02:58:06 PM EST
    ...if you have seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou you should, there is a guy they call Pelé (Seu Jorge) who plays acoustic renditions of Bowie songs throughout the movie.

    On the soundtrack as well.

    Also XM... (none / 0) (#36)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 14, 2016 at 09:22:48 AM EST
    ...has dedicated a channel to Bowie, 30 will play Bowie until Monday, including interviews and cover, either by him or people covering him.

    David Bowie: Invisible New Yorker (none / 0) (#37)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Jan 16, 2016 at 06:13:45 PM EST
    in today's New York Times.

    Have you seen the photo that's been circulating on Twitter of Mr. Bowie out in the city in cargo shorts and sneakers and carrying Uncut magazine? He's very normcore. You can see why nobody recognized him, why an international superstar was able to move through the city unseen.

    He understood that in our minds we all held a picture of David Bowie, or Ziggy, or the Thin White Duke. It allowed him to walk among us disguised as himself, David Jones.

    Nice article (none / 0) (#38)
    by TrevorBolder on Sat Jan 16, 2016 at 06:42:52 PM EST
    Thanks for the link

    And I understand the urge for the finger salute in the photo,
    Was a great pic, but he knew they were there, and didn't appreciate it.


    `First Lou Reed, now David Bowie. That's it (none / 0) (#40)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 17, 2016 at 02:10:17 PM EST
    - for New York. It's over'

    "When I first came to New York, I was in my early 20s, discovering a city I had fantasised over since my teens. I saw it with multicoloured glasses, to say the least. Also, I rarely got up before noon and hit the sack again around four or five in the morning," Bowie told New York magazine in 1991. "These days, my buzz can be obtained by just walking, preferably early in the morning, as I am a seriously early riser. I leave only if work demands it. I am not a secretive guy, but I am quite private. I live as a citizen pure and simple. I don't go for the disguise thing - I've never found it necessary, at least not since my real hair colour grew in years ago. I suppose wearing jeans is the nearest I get to confounding expectations."

    Bowie Guitarist Gerry Leonard on the Icon's (none / 0) (#41)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Jan 23, 2016 at 11:58:16 PM EST
    Final Years: `If Anybody Knew the Game, David Knew the Game'

    You were with Bowie during an earlier health scare, the heart attack that ended his touring career.

    That was an odd, abrupt ending to something that really had a lot of joy about it. We had been touring at that point for, oh, 13 months. He was very happy with the band, and he talked in terms of continuing to make records, continuing to tour. We had done this kind of world tour, and then we were going to headline all the big festivals in Europe. And he hadn't done that in a long time. We felt so relaxed and so powerful as a band, flexible and supple and ready to go. We had just started that European leg of the tour in Prague, which was the show where he walked past me on the fourth song and I was like, "That's not supposed to happen." That was confusing for everybody, and we got through that night, but we had to cut the show short. And, well, he had this pain in his chest, and nobody really knew -- did he pull a muscle? When you're in the 50s, some friends call it the sniper alley of life. These things come out, and nobody's expecting it.

    "Inside David Bowie's Final Years" (none / 0) (#42)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jan 28, 2016 at 07:25:16 PM EST
    "How Bowie stepped away - and came roaring back"
    - Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 2016-01-27

    Renck knew that Bowie was ill, but he was unaware that he had taken a turn for the worse. Like other viewers, he's newly focused on the end of the "Lazarus" video. Bowie, dressed in a Man Who Fell to Earth/Station to Station-era costume - black with diagonal stripes - backs into a wooden wardrobe that resembles a coffin. As the song's final guitar chord fades, he pulls the door shut behind him and disappears into darkness.

    The exit wasn't Bowie's idea, but he embraced it. "Somebody on set said, 'You should end the video by disappearing into the closet,'" says Renck. "And I saw David sort of think about that for a second. Then a big smile came up on his face. And he said something like, 'Yeah, that will keep them all guessing, won't it?'"