If ever there was a single individual who defined an er.
On this day of sadness, there’s a lot to remember about the good things that Bowie added to the pool of human music. If anyone is likely to live on for ever through music, then Bowie has got to be at the top of the list. Not always the most commercially successful, few artists can be attributed with so much influence across many genres and through an ever evolving artistic output.
Its interesting how when we lose an artist like this with such a wide and varied musical output, how much of their melodic work comes back to focus. My head is full of Bowie hooks, and melodies today.
As well as the classic Bowie tracks that have provided a narrative to many of our lives, Bowie has also been someone who constantly inhabited the rare territory where the boundaries of where art and pop music meet. Thats not an easy place to live, the need for constant reinvention is a difficult role to take. Especially when one is an icon as he was, though miraculously Bowie managed to retain an air of mystery and aloofness that is rare talent in itself these days.
Speaking of his need for complete reinvention, its resulted in some pretty harsh changes of direction. I’ve always found it odd how his relationship with Mick Ronson – another musical genius (IMHO) who was also responsible for some of Bowie’s most memorable musical hooks and images, was ditched when the days of Ziggy ended. They must have been so close – Bowie has spoken about this as a need to leave the character behind – almost in the way an addict must leave a previous lifestyle to kick the habit. But that extreme single-mindedness was perhaps what was required to be Bowie.
We can also thank Bowie for the sound of several decades, probably his most influential (sonically) being Lets Dance, an album which defined an era of production for the 1980s and launched the unending quest for the perfect snare drum in the time of samplers.
I also suspect that theres a lot of artists u who were heavily influenced by the electronic aspects of Bowie and Eno’s classic Berlin phase albums ‘Low’ and “Heroes”. While listening today, I can hear a lot of early Human League (Reproduction) in there, even sounds and atmospheres that Japan and others could have derived from it.
David Bowie, you were a musical genius. You will be missed.
January 8th, 1947 – January 10th 2016