By now, most of you will have heard the news that David Bowie passed away at age 69 from cancer.
This news hit me like a wrecking ball. I grew up with Bowie and his cast of characters. In my university days, I went to a Halloween party dressed as Ziggy Stardust. My boyfriend at the time went as Paul Stanley from Kiss. I was taking a dramatic makeup course and was quite proud of my work on these two rocker looks!
David Bowie was in many ways the quiet innovator, even though there wasn’t anything really quiet about him. His personas were so varied and he went from one to another with chameleonlike ease. Some were album concepts, others just characters from a song, a movie or even just a new look. Bowie didn’t just create, sing or act them, he became them:
- Ziggy Stardust
- Alladin Sane
- Major Tom
- The Man Who Fell To Earth
- Jareth The Goblin King
- …and many many more
Some of these worked and some didn’t; however, they were all Bowie and he always came out okay. His music was haunting and inviting at the same time.
I read an interview with Madonna this morning where she said she snuck out with a friend to see Bowie in concert and it was amazing. She got caught and grounded but didn’t mind because she had her memories and Bowie albums! He was one of her first influences!
People of all generations love the duet of “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie and Bing Crosby on Crosby’s 1977 Christmas show. My memories are so vivid of the usually empty TV room at our university residence being packed with students watching the show just to see Bowie and the room being so quiet during that duet. It is played all over and has become a Christmas classic.
So, Major Tom, this is Ground Control, we won’t be seeing you anymore here; however, we will hear you in your music, feel you in our hearts and love you for eternity.
“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in the most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”
David Bowie – Space Oddity