David Bowie was perhaps one of the last true rockstars left. There is little that I can personally write about him that hasn’t already been said. He was born David Jones in 1947, began playing with the Konrads around 1962, and ultimately elevated the art of pop music beyond anything previously seen. Musicians have imitated him and fashionistas have drooled over him for decades. He was an icon of personal transformation, sexual expression, and liberation. He was a living reminder that you can be whomever you are, no matter who you are, and that’s amazing. And if you don’t like who you are, you can make up a character and be that for a while! Change your name, your accent, your hairstyle, your genre and be beautiful. The Man Who Fell to Earth blew my mind. Labyrinth did also, as did his Pontius Pilate, and The Hunger. The list is long.
Bowie died last night of cancer. He was 69 years old. We loved him, and we like to think that the Starman ascended so the rest of us, stuck down here in our grey cities, can invoke him like a great animal spirit when we need to be a bit more musical, more colorful, or just more fabulous. Here is a series of David Bowie images through the years as a tribute.
Bowie as the Thin White Duke for “Station to Station” (1976)
Ziggy Stardust (1972)
Bowie as “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” (1976), Directed by Nicolas Roeg – Photo: Allstar/Cinetext/BRITISH LION
“As was the case with Miles Davis in jazz, Bowie has come not just to represent his innovations but to symbolize modern rock as an idiom in which literacy, art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary can be rolled into one.” ~Rolling Stone magazine
Bowie adopted many guises throughout his career, his best known is glam rock alter ego “Ziggy,” created for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972). Photo: Rex Features
Bowie in 1974 for a performance of “Rebel, Rebel”
Ziggy Stardust preening in 1972
David Bowie with John Lennon at the Grammys in 1975
Bowie began his professional music career in the Konrads, seen here in 1963. Phota: Alamy
Bowie’s 1971 Hunky Dory included the haunting Life on Mars? and Oh, You Pretty Things and redefined serious rock for the 1970s generation. Photo: Alamy
Bowie married Angie Barnett in 1970 and they had a son, Zowie (now film director Duncan Jones). Image: Alamy
Bowie’s last performance as Ziggy Stardust (1973) known as “the retirement gig.” People thought he was ending his music career, but he was leaving “Ziggy” behind. Image: Getty
Having killed off Ziggy, (1973) Bowie brought Aladdin Sane. Songs like Cracked Actor explored the dark, seedy side of fame, while Jean Genie was an old-fashioned rocker. Bowie also branched out, producing Lou Reed’s Transformer album and writing and producing Mott the Hoople’s hit single, All the Young Dudes.
Bowie performing in 1976 for his album Diamond Dogs (1974).
Bowie and Mick Jagger performed a duet, a cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ Dancin’ in the Street, for the 1985 Band Aid project and Live Aid. Image: Rex Features
Bowie released the next day after a 10 year hiatus in 2013
Bowie during his last show as Ziggy Stardust at the Marquee Club in London (1973)
With his first wife, Angela, and their son, Duncan Jones, known at the time as Zowie, after the singer received an award for “Ziggy Stardust” in 1974. Image: Getty
Bowie and wife Angela in 1973
Bowie performing for Blackstar
London in (1990) touring for “Changesbowie.”
Bowie smitten by Princess Diana in 1993
Bowie applying Ziggy makeup backstage.
Bowie in Vienna (1996)
Bowie fortelling the 80’s in 1974. H