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David Bowie RIP

January 12, 2016

 My earliest memory of Bowie is from 1975 – when I was in high school.  I remember two buddies of mine arguing about who was superior David Bowie or Foghat.  An argument that today makes about as much sense as which is smarter a dog or goldfish, but at the time I was ignorant about pop music.  I remember the Foghat fan pronounced Bowie as boo-e and the Bowie fan kept correcting him. The insinuation of the Foghat fan was that if you were a Bowie fan you must be a homosexual – which at the time made sense because in my ignorant world view Bowie was a freak who dressed like a women and wore make up (not in a macho way like Kiss) and my buddy the Bowie fan was effete. 

As I started to get pop literate I was dismissive of Bowie who was famous for “Space Oddity” which to me was a novelty song.  It took me until the early 80s when Bowie went mainstream with his album Let’s Dance that I finally became a fan. The next thing I bought was the greatest hits package Changes which turned me on to his amazing singles.  But it was not until 2004 when I saw him live that I saw the light.  It was after that that I really studied his catalog.  

A few years ago when my son was home from Chicago I went into wake him calling him Starman.  I have no idea why.  That has evolved in recent years to my waking him up with the Bowie song of the same name blaring from my iPhone.  In 2014 we went as a family to the Bowie show at Museum of Contmproary Art in Chicago (David Bowie Is) – the location of the photo above.  It was a great family memory.  

Fast forward to this past Friday and the release of Blackstar the first Bowie album I have ever been truly gaga over.  I was motivated enough to write a review that same night after listening to the album about 10 times.  I remember watching the video for “Lazarus” and thinking,not the Bowie looked old, but that he looked dead – embalmed.  Yet it was still a shock when I woke up early Monday (about 4:00 AM to pee) and I looked at my phone to check the time and discovered the headline that Bowie was dead.  

Bowie’s gift to pop music was his recognition that to rock was not just the sound but the look – or to put it in Bowie terms “Sound and Vision.”  I feel blessed to be touched by Blackstar at the moment of its greatest relevance. Bowie’s greatest performance may be his death.  

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