No doubt music marks our days, sometimes quick phases, oftentimes longer, a decade or a lifetime. Bowie marks a near lifetime for me. Not too many artists have kept me listening as I pass through the decades with morphing styles and tastes befitting the ages, mine and the world’s.
I first heard Bowie in late 75, Ziggy Stardust most prominently but all of his early albums. I remember his young scratchy nasal voice (“Oh cacti find a home…”) that blossomed into that deep sonorous sometimes bass trilled at the edges full of flair and drama. My sister adored him and played his albums continuously in the basement room we shared back in Long Island. And when she slipped off the edge a bit, Bowie seeped into her paranoid delusions. She saw prophecy in him. Even in her mania, she appeared to capture the essence of him–enigmatic and forging.
We saw him, my sister and I, in the late 70’s, maybe early 80’s, if my poor memory serves me (and it rarely does), at the Forum in LA during the Low tour (or maybe the early 80’s Serious Moonlight tour–or both). He had already abandoned Ziggy and the thin white duke by then. I remember feeling nostalgic every year or two when he changed his style yet again, transformed into someone else, some other alien, sliding into the latest (industrial/Eno influenced) or setting the trend himself (Ziggy).
Some might characterize him as a chameleon or a dragon of sorts with his commanding fire burning everyone and everything up in frenzied delight or disintegrated fury if you read the stories of his professional and personal life, a long list of gone-throughs. But there is no doubt that the music world has been much influenced like a meteor scar on the earth, the crater of his prolific creative output over several media–music, art, film, drama–ever communing with the stars he brought our eyes to time and again.
Up to his probable scripted death by the seemingly indomitable cancer yesterday, he was in charge. He made the trends, first had us look gender fluidity in the eyes on such a grand scale. And glam rock, I believe, would not have come to the fore with its serious spark without him (okay Queen was pretty cool too).
Of course I am no music historian nor critic, just a listener, appreciator and star gazer. But as a fan, I know I will sorely miss the years’ passings without a Bowie change-up around the corner (just when you think he’s resting comfortably…). He seems to have synchronized my days, kept me abreast of the new, the old-new, the new-new and the new-old. But just as I said it as I watched his Lazarus video from his just-released BlackStar, “amazing”, as I’ve exclaimed it so many times before when he sent chills down my spine with some profound lyric, performance and/or song.
Peace, bro. I will miss the latest and greatest you sorely.