Some deaths are more shocking than others. David Bowie just released his latest album Blackstar on his birthday this last Friday, January 8, but it was his last. His son director Duncan Jones confirmed the news and a statement was just released on his official social media accounts.
“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
Bowie’s new album includes just seven songs but it been well received by critics. His breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. And his many hits include Let’s Dance, Space Oddity, Heroes, Under Pressure, Rebel, Rebel, Life on Mars and Suffragette City.
In Bowie’s 5 decade music career, he was also an actor including his role as an alien seeking help for his dying planet in Nicolas Roeg‘s The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Hunger with Catherine Deneuve and he did a three-month stint as The Elephant Man on Broadway in the 1980s. Bowie also starred in Marlene Dietrich‘s last film, Just a Gigolo (1978), played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ as well as Andy Warhol in Basquiat.
He was born David Jones in London on 8 January in 1947 but Bowie changed his name in 1966 after The Monkees‘ Davy Jones achieved stardom. He was in several bands before he signed with Mercury Records, which released his album Man of Words, Man of Music in 1969. David Bowie was 69.
My old friend, a brilliant songwiter in his own right, Kristian Hoffman summed Bowie’s contribution best on his Facebook page;
“I’ve said over and over again, there is no songwriter whose catalogue is so deep, peculiar, thoughtful, evocative, moving, inspiring, befuddling and wondrous, no matter how many odd missteps, or Mr. Steps – (which are, in any case, laudable as brave experiments) than David Bowie’s. No, not your McCartney, your Dylan, your Costello, your Berlin, your Porter. Bowie took what seemed at first a mediocre striving talent into some astral realm of the preternaturally adventurous, pole vaulting into realms unimagined. His mistakes were all poetry. His successes were all religion. There was, and is no other.”
Amen. As Bowie’s character in The Man Who Fell To Earth said, he was just visiting.