David Bowie’s first album came out in 1967, when I was just a year old. His final album was released three days ago. During the intervening 48 years, David Bowie put a steady stream of brave, bold, intelligent and fantastic music into the world, always living on the cutting edge, always evolving as an artist.
With each new decade, and each new incarnation, Bowie’s music imprinted itself on the soundtrack of my own life – providing insight, inspiration and commentary to whatever I happened to be experiencing at the time. The number of musicians who have impacted me in this manner can probably be counted on one hand. I didn’t love all of Bowie’s output, but I always listened – he made music that was worth listening to.
Just last week, I wrote a piece on this page about Bowie’s latest creation, Blackstar, a record that once again defies any attempt at categorization, and challenges our notions of who David Bowie is. I have been listening obsessively to Blackstar since I wrote that piece. Who could know that Bowie designed this record as a parting gift, as a secret that would only be fully revealed with his passing on Sunday. His longtime producer Tony Visconti put it best when he said “Bowie’s death was no different from his life — a work of Art.”
For me, Bowie’s departure leaves a gaping hole in the world of music – an uncalculable loss. How can there be a world without David Bowie? He really did seem like some kind of alien, an energy force to whom the rules of life and death did not apply. Undoubtedly, Music will move on, but my heart breaks to let go of this man who has spoken to me, taught me, inspired me and given me great joy for practically my whole life. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way.
Godspeed, Major Tom – one can only imagine your next cosmic destination.