The Future is Dead. David Bowie (1947-2016)

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David BowieDavid Bowie was The Future. His first solo album 'Space Oddity' was released at the peak of The Space Race between the US and the USSR in 1969. It portrays the plight of an astronaut alienated from his planet and family. This could have been influenced by the Kubrick film '2001: A Space Odyssey'. In 1971 'Life on Mars' tells of ordinary teenage frustration and the desire to be somewhere else, and all the big questions, ‘Is there Life on Mars?”. Both themes have been endless material for science fiction, film and music and science.

David Bowie was always The Future of Sound and Vision. His many personae both visually and sonically proved him to be a man constantly just ahead of time. As he said about himself in 1984 "Somebody once said – who was it? It’s terribly important- that Harry Langdon, the silent comedian, cannot be taken on his own; you have to put him alongside that which went on around him, like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and Chaplin. He can only be seen by reference, and somebody said that about me, which is probably very true. I kind of quite like that, actually you can’t take me on my own. You can only use me as a form of reference."

While he was not the inventor of any particular style of music he had the ability and foresight to lean over ahead of a curve and grasp whatever sound was underground and make it surface into the mainstream through his distinctive songwriting and voice. From his brilliant experimental and influential album 'Low' in 1977 (one of my fav albums of all times) to the chart topping 'Let's Dance' in 1983, his styles constantly changed up to 2016 but the standard always remained excellent.

This Wikipedia article gives a great guide to his music. As I said at the start of this piece, he was The Future and his last album named 'Black Star' which in astronomical terms means "a theoretical star that has a surface escape velocity that equals or exceeds the speed of light". David Bowie has escaped this planet but his music like the speed of light remains outside of time: a constant. RIP David Bowie

David Bowie

Many of his CDs, DVDs, songbooks and biographies are available in Dublin City Public Libraries.


great article. He will truly be missed.

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