Beginning his career in the early 1960s, the young British artist whose birth name was David Jones took on the surname Bowie later in the decade to avoid any confusion with Davy Jones of the American act The Monkees. Undeterred by the commercial failure of his 1967 eponymous debut album, Bowie would go on to create some of the most iconic and seminal music, characters, and fashion statements in the pantheon of rock and roll beginning with his second record 1969’s Space Oddity. His persona would evolve from introspective folk singer to the bombast and glamour of his characters Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, and many, many more. Along the way, he would create some of rock’s most ubiquitous anthems including “Space Oddity,” “Heroes,” “Suffragette City,” “Changes,” “Ashes to Ashes,” “Fame,” “Modern Love,” “Let’s Dance,” and the spectacular duet with the group Queen “Under Pressure,” amongst countless others.
Bowie would also enjoy a long acting career, starring in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, Basquiat, and perhaps his most famous role, as The Goblin King in Labyrinth. He also worked in television and on the stage, including the Broadway production of Elephant Man.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and is widely acknowledged as one of the innovators of glam rock. Bowie’s influence on the entirety of pop music that followed is immeasurable, with some legendary artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Iggy Pop pretty much owing their entire solo careers to him.
The void that Bowie’s death leaves is already palpable. It is rare for any artist to sustain a career of nearly 50 years, but to remain relevant though constant reinvention through it all is nearly unheard of. His 25th album, Blackstar, was just released this past Friday on his 69th birthday, and is being hailed as another masterpiece by critics. His death comes as a complete shock as he had not let the news of his 18-month cancer battle go public. There is still no word on the nature of the illness that he succumbed to. All we know at this point is that the world has lost one of the most important and unique visionaries of the past half century.
Rest in peace, Mr. Bowie, and on behalf of rock fans the world over, thank you for sharing your considerable gifts with us.
RIP David Bowie
January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (From The Motion Picture)
David Bowie – Starman (1972)
Suffragette City David Bowie
David Bowie – Space Oddity [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
David Bowie – Life On Mars? [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
David Bowie – The Jean Genie [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
David Bowie – Heroes
Magic Dance (Power of the Babe) David Bowie Labyrinth 1986
David Bowie Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” For 9/11 concert