David Bowie was one of those musicians who was always in the background of my life. I grew up with and appreciated his music and although I had a couple of his albums, I never saw him in concert or knew that much about him.
But when I heard about his death this morning, I was very saddened by the news and realized the role that his music actually played in my life. It was only a few days ago that I learned that he was going to have a new album coming out and I was glad to hear there would be new music from him. Before this morning, I didn’t even know that he was sick (and have found since then that it came as a surprise to most people, as he kept it quiet.)
Although I didn’t hear any of his music played on the local radio stations during my morning commute today – which surprised me, considering he is such a musical legend – I spent a lot of time today listening to his music.
In a tribute to him, I thought I’d share five of his songs that have resonated the most with me over the years.
Changes: This was probably the most “turn-it-up and singalong” tune of his for me, from the time I was a teenager, serving almost as a teen anthem, these lyrics in particular:
“And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”
Space Oddity: The idea of a man being lost in space was so haunting and made such an impact on my young mind. Such a powerful, sad song.
Let’s Dance: “Last Dance,” released in 1983, was my first David Bowie album and this was one of my favorite songs off the album.
Suffragette City: The song always reminds me of summer camp, in particular one boy that I had crush on during high school who often played and sang this song.
Wait, am I already on my fifth song? Why did I think I’d be able to narrow it down to five songs? What should I pick? There’s “Starman,” “Heroes,” “Fame,” “Modern Love,” “Ziggy Stardust.” How can I just pick one of them? I can’t, you’ll have to go to YouTube and listen to them all and decide for yourself.
But I did promise five songs, so I’m going to end with one called “Lazarus” off his newest album, “Blackstar” that just came out on Friday, his 69th birthday and two days before he died. Social media is buzzing that this song was a “parting gift” to his fans, and his way of saying goodbye. It was very chilling to hear him sing the first line of “Lazarus”: “Look up here, I’m in heaven” just moments after hearing that he died.
According to an article in The Telegraph, Tony Visconti, the producer of “Blackstar” said that the record “was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans.”
In a statement on his Facebook page, he said: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.
“His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.
“He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.
“I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.
“He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us.
R.I.P. David Bowie, thank you for all the great music and for all that you contributed to our world!