My first exposure to David Bowie was a little unconventional. Fitting, considering how unconventional the artist himself was. I was watching the Henson fantasy epic Labryinth and the Goblin King (David Bowie in the world’s largest codpiece) looking disgruntled among his muppet co-actors, broke into song:
I had likely heard David Bowie sing before this moment, after all, the man had released many of his most enduring hits, like Space Oddity and The Man Who Sold The World, before I was even born. But this was my first time seeing the practically otherworldly Bowie performing. He was dynamic, atypically gender defying, and inhabited his music in a way that I’d never seen.
Throughout his career, David Bowie maintained that passion. He was an artist who did much more than just play music. He played with conventions, with genres, with his own identity, constantly searching for new takes and fresh ideas. He collaborated with artists from other musical genres frequently, from Bing Crosby to Trent Reznor, lending them bits of his sound while he was borrowing theirs. Even up until his final album, Blackstar, Bowie was still innovating, working with a jazz band and overlaying his own haunting vocals and electronic sounds to create something unique, but still distinctly his.
David Bowie was an artist that inspired. Who resonated with young and old. He died yesterday at age 69 after a long battle with cancer. But in typical Bowie fashion, the last days of his life weren’t focused on his illness. Indeed, most didn’t know he was even sick until the news broke this morning. Up till the end, we were talking about his music, his artistry. My greatest regret is that we won’t get to see what he has for us next.