David Bowie: A Star Until the End

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James Mason

Sunday, January 10th brought the sad news that one of music’s greatest, David Bowie, had died after an 18 month battle with cancer. This came as a shock for many, as the artist had A) kept his condition under close wraps, B) had just turned 69 two days prior and C) had just release his 25th album Blackstar that same day.

It seemed that Bowie was turning another stone and reaching another high point in his career. While most musicians his age had either stopped producing new material or made sub par material in an effort to relive the past, Bowie was different. He was still branching out and covering new ground just like in the 60’s and 70’s. His output still felt as fresh as it did 30 years ago.

Very few artists can say they’ve tried various musical styles and genres. Even fewer can say that their ventures into new musical territories were successful. Bowie was one of the few. To give an idea of how his career was going, his aforementioned album Blackstar came 48 years and 24 albums after his debut, sounded nothing like what he’s ever done, and received as much acclaim as anything he’s done before. Even if this was his only album, he’d still be mentioned and beloved in the history books.

But this wasn’t his only album. He first made his leap into the music scene in 1967 with the self titled David Bowie. From there he made Space Oddity (1969), an acoustic album. The Man Who Sold the World (1970), a hard rock album. Hunky Dory (1971) saw Bowie covering multiple pop styles without missing a beat. However, it was with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars that Bowie had reached his artistic best with the glam rock sound, a sound he would stick with for most of the 70’s and the sound he’s most commonly associated with.

Ziggy Stardust may be his best album, but his career was far from over. After that, he released great album after great album: Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, The Berlin Trilogy (Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger), Scary Monsters, Black Tie White Noise, Earthling, Heathen, Reality, and The Next Day are all proof that the many could do little wrong.

It was through these albums that he released his best known songs – songs like Space Oddity, Changes, Starman, Rebel Rebel, Young Americans, Fame, Golden Years, Suffragette City, and Heros are just a few of many that continue to receive airplay on modern radio stations. He can even say he had one of the most famous duets in rock history when he teamed up with Queen to record Under Pressure. His success rate is nearly immaculate. Even his lesser efforts were just a drop in a bucket with his legacy.

A legacy that isn’t limited to just music. Many people seem to forget he actually had a pretty respectable acting career, with roles ranging from The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976 to Labyrinth (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988, in a role that was ironically casted for Sting), Twin Peaks (1992), and The Prestige (2006).

But at the end of the day, it’s his music and flashy stage appearances that he’ll be best remembered by. It’s not often we get a person as talented and influential as David Bowie, which is why he’ll be missed. Only a man as beloved as him could make a 50-plus year career seem brief. The Thin White Duke may be gone, but his music will live on forever. Heaven will be cooler place now that Bowie’s there.

RIP

David Bowie

January 8th 1947 – January 10th 2016

 

What students thought about him:

 

“I grew up listening to him more than anyone else. I always admired how innovative and risky he was as a musician. He was the face of alternative.” – Alex Jacobs

 

“I didn’t listen to him much, but I really liked ‘Space Oddity.’ ” – Avery McKnight

 

“My dad was really upset about his death. He has a lot of his records that he plays a lot in our house.” – Haley Hnatuk

 

“He didn’t pass away. He went back to his home planet. He will be missed.” – Shawn Corcoran

 

“I don’t like to think about it, it makes me sad. My favorite song was ‘Magic Dance’ from Labyrinth.” – Skyeler O’Brien

 

“When I used to play hockey, I used to listen to ‘Rebel Rebel’ before every practice.” – Mason Lucas

 

“He wrote weird but beautiful music. I liked it.” – Ademir Malagic

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