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David Bowie R.I.P.

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David Bowie is dead. The words are as shocking to write as they will be to read for the millions of devotees of a man who truly changed the face of pop music. But it’s with a heavy heart that we report the confirmation that this unique artist passed away yesterday (10 January, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album Blackstar), having been diagnosed with cancer in 2014.

Bowie“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” says an entry on his Facebook page. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”

His son, film director Duncan Jones, took to Twitter to write: “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.” Billy Idol was among the legion of artists and admirers to post their early reaction, tweeting: “Nearly brought to tears by sudden news of [Bowie’s] passing RIP.”

David-Bowie-BlackstarBowie and his family had kept his illness entirely private since the cancer diagnosis and during the making of Blackstar, his new project with longtime producer and confidant Tony Visconti. The album has been greeted with universal acclaim, described by Rolling Stone as “a ricochet of textural eccentricity and pictorial-shrapnel writing.”

Pitchfork wrote presciently that the album’s “blend of jazz, codes, brutality, drama, and alienation are not without precedent in his work….Bowie will live on long after the man has died. For now, though, he’s making the most of his latest reawakening, adding to the myth while the myth is his to hold.”

“With Blackstar, the delicious conceit of David Bowie conspiring with modern jazz artists is fulfilled beautifully,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “As fierce and unsettling — and sometimes as beautiful — as anything in Bowie’s one-of-a-kind catalogue,” said the Los Angeles Times.

During Bowie’s long period of creative silence that followed the release of his Reality album in 2003, he was widely rumoured to be seriously ill, or at the very least to have retired. His sudden reemergence with the album The Next Day, announced as an almost complete surprise on his 66th birthday in January 2013, underlined the ability of this utterly unique artist to write his own rules.

Bowie youngBorn David Jones in Brixton in south London in 1947, he was influenced in his pre-teens by the first wave of rock ’n’ roll, but also by modern jazz and, increasingly as he grew up, by performance and visual art. His first single ‘Liza Jane,’ credited to Davie Jones and the King Bees, was released to widespread indifference, and even his name change to David Bowie for the 1967 novelty single ‘The Laughing Gnome’ and a self-titled album brought no palpable success, but his meeting that year with dancer Lindsay Kemp helped to instil the 20-year-old with a sense of individualism and adventure that would serve him well for the rest of his life.

Five days before the launch of the Apollo 11 space mission in 1969, Bowie captured the zeitgeist for the first of countless occasions with the single ‘Space Oddity,’ which became a top five hit. Produced by Gus Dudgeon, the song was an early calling card, becoming his first US top 20 hit on reissue in 1973 and a UK No. 1 when released again in 1975.

David-Bowie-as-Ziggy-StarThe immediate wake of ‘Space Oddity’ was, again, less than bounteous, with the albums The Man Who Sold The World and Hunky Dory winning acclaim but only moderate sales until his massive breakthrough with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Here, now fully formed, was Bowie the chameleon, the role-player, and a man who would set the agenda of what pop music could be for decades to follow.

Three consecutive UK No. 1 albums ensued, with Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups and Diamond Dogs. The word “reinvention” has become a modern cliché to represent the slightest character or image shift, but Bowie practically that word, too, seeming to change not just his sound but his very being with every new release and becoming both a musical and fashion icon in the process.

HeroesThe Berlin trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger were the next landmark, albums that achieved the almost impossible dream of a rapturous critical response and substantial commercial success. The same was true of songs that soundtracked the 1980s, often with amused self-reference and always with stunning videographic style, such as ‘Ashes To Ashes,’ ‘Fashion,’ ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘China Girl’ and so many more.

Not every Bowie experiment was a success — some of his fans were reluctant to come with him to the late 1980s spinoff group Tin Machine, or, say, the drum ’n’ bass-flavoured DB1997 album Earthling — but it was the very fact that he was prepared to challenge his own creativity so repeatedly that set him apart from his peers. 2013’s The Next Day was a remarkable update of his visionary, pioneer spirit, as is the new Blackstar, which sadly will stand as his last work to be released in his lifetime.

“I love how Bowie challenged people’s perception of gender stereotypes and what an Outsider truly was,” tweeted Queen’s latter-day frontman Adam Lambert. “He was SO ahead of his time.” “A true inspiration,” agreed the Pixies. His friend and producer Brian Eno wrote simply: “Words cannot express.”

Tony Visconti has posted this on his Facebook page: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.

RIP David Bowie.”

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Cate Rendell

    January 11, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I can’t believe he has gone from our lives. He has been part of the 60’s generation we grew together. You will be missed.

  2. Michelle

    January 11, 2016 at 9:25 am

    So so sad ! Such a great performer and an icon from such an early age , my dad bought me Aladdin sane when I was 5 !! Cool dad !! And I loved Bowes unique ness !! A great loss .

  3. Georgina Reyes

    January 11, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Very sad t learn about David’s death. I really hope I see him in heaven with my good Lord Jesua Chriat. Blessings and deepest condolences to his family. Respectfully, Gina

  4. douglas

    January 11, 2016 at 10:01 am

    RIP

  5. Shirley Llewellyn

    January 11, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Devastated at the news, R.I.P my lovely David, so ahead of the times, an inspiration, genius,gorgeous man Xxxxxx

  6. Diane

    January 11, 2016 at 10:36 am

    A beautiful man,the world has lost,Rest in Peace,David,you deserve it,Amen

  7. Amancio Tereza Degado

    January 11, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Me mas sentido pesame a su familia.Y a todos nosotros que amamos a DAVID. Pasatelo bien estes donde estas.

  8. Mark

    January 11, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Rest peacefully David Jones. Very sad. A music legend.

  9. gary van zyl

    January 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Mr David Bowie,may you R.I.P,you were a true insperation to me,and im sure around the world,you will be dearly missed,you were one of the legends during the 80s,may God bless your soul,& to the family,im sorry for your loss,God bless you all,Gary…Cape Town,South Africa

  10. Callebaut luc

    January 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Sadest day in m’y life. Love You for ever. RIP

  11. Kathleen Jean Elder

    January 11, 2016 at 11:14 am

    May your soul fly free, David Bowie. Thank you for sharing your crazy, beautiful genius with us. My first romance with music. You are mourned and loved. My jeaet goes out ro David’s family and friends

  12. david

    January 11, 2016 at 11:34 am

    now how can this be you said david bowie passed away 2 days after his 69 birthday and hes birthday is jan 10th well something is very wrong there because today is only jan 11th

    • mike m

      January 12, 2016 at 12:37 am

      his birthday was 8th January

  13. Paul

    January 11, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Bowie would never like to rest in peace, he’d rather come up with a new twist on harp music and send it down from the stars

  14. Chilli

    January 11, 2016 at 11:47 am

    May you Rest in Peace

  15. donna hales

    January 11, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I am truely sorry to hear that the pop ldoil has passed away this morning. My condolences go with his family and friends

  16. Maria Cristina Lauridsen

    January 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    You are a star Dave you continue to shine Your souls and spirits are alives Take cares always My sweet prayers to you and your family and friends and all your fans in uk and on earth Very kind love forever & always Cheers Maria

  17. YILMAZ

    January 11, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    İt’s hard to blieve that we lost David Bowie . We will miss him very much. I realy don’t know why we are loosing so great musician by one by. Only I can wish him İS TO REST IN PEACE.

    FROM IZMIR -TURKEY

  18. Brian Oswald

    January 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Defined so much of my life, view point and love of music. Will be greatly remembered and sadly missed.

  19. Frederik

    January 11, 2016 at 7:57 pm

  20. Karl William Haldane

    January 11, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Oh no. Not again. We’ve lost Lemmy Kilmister who was a great GodFather of the heavy metal music. It was utterly heartbreaking and saddened.
    Lemmy Kilmister seemed important after forming motorhead to everyone and was the best the whole globe ever had. But David Bowie, huh he wasn’t. So sorry. Goodbye. I am not leaving anything for David Bowie he can stick it.

    • Anita Ringsell

      January 11, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      David Bowie was more iconic than Lemmy. Completely different music. Everyone has different tastes but Lemmy wasn’t a patch on David. Motorhead’s music is heavy metal and shouting. David changed his style up a lot and his songs, so he would probably say you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  21. Anita Ringsell

    January 11, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    New Year starting sad already. Lemmy, Natalie Cole, Michel Delpeche (French) and now our little David Bowie. May they all twinkle as stars in the sky. Great singer/songwriters and actors. The young ones have a lot to learn. RIP

  22. mark penchenski

    January 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    you made our lives that much more exciting and fun. don’t let me hear lifes taken you no where…..angel rip

  23. Rose Greenman

    January 11, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    My husband and I had the rare privilege of meeting David in 1991 at NBC Studios. He was rehearsing with Tin Machine for Saturday Night Live. We watched them rehearse and then the band came over to us. We were with a group of people. All of us dressed up so the band thought we were promoters. David walked over to me and I shook his hand. I remember just being able to look at his beautiful smile. I could not look into his eyes or I would have fainted. I have the greatest husband in the world who arranged this whole meeting through some connections with friends at NBC Studios. Greatest day of my life!!!!

  24. Thomas Rogers

    January 12, 2016 at 1:53 am

    David (Star Man) Bowie Jones, Major Tom, The Man Who Fell To Earth to live out his Moonage Daydream so he could go through Changes, while others called him the Young American, the authorities call him Rebel Rebel. While getting used to being on earth he was Always Crashing In The Same Car, while listening to his TVC15, Jamming good with Weird and Gilly And the Spiders from Mars. Through Changes he became Ziggy Stardust, but no satisfaction was gained, he was not content with the Honky Dory status of his life and wondered if there was Life On Mars. Mixing it up with Scary Monster And Super Freaks while Dancing In The Streets with The Diamond Dogs, he searched inside. He spent Five Years waiting for the gift of Sound And Vision, something he already had and was born with, and once he realized this, he thought it was time for the world to come face to face with The Man Who Sold The world an idea that life is more then just a stage and the future is what they become. Though loves gained and lost he found his Soul Love who put her ray gun to his head and freaked out on his Moonage Daydream. So no matter how LOW life may get, Lets Dance with Modern Love In our hearts and let the world know from Station to Station that we all can be Hero’s even if it’s just for one day! Miss you Mr. Jones!!!!!

  25. John Craveiro

    January 12, 2016 at 1:56 am

    David Bowie was from the heart ,always smiling on stage,from his happiness ,,and touched everyone..Saw several times,,incredible,,looked ageless,incredible range of voice,,every album was unique,,I loved every album,especially,,”Young Americans” album.. He gave 100% of his happiness on stage every time,,,you could see it and feel it..

  26. Diane Daniels

    February 10, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I love ❤ David and Tina Tuner TONIGHT everything going to be alright tonite cried over his passing

  27. Diane Daniels

    February 10, 2016 at 1:03 am

    His Great

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