David Bowie: A True Oddity

Editor: Charles Sorensen

On Jan. 10 of this year famous actor, songwriter, and musician David Robert Jones, otherwise known as David Bowie, died after his 18-month battle with liver cancer. This occurred two days after his final musical album and project Blackstar, which also coincided with his birthday where he reached the age of 69. The news of his death sent shock throughout millions of die-hard fans who have supported him throughout his long and illustrious career and even more that might not understand the impact he has had on the musical world, but still respected the influence he clearly had. David’s career has been one filled with diversity, success, failure, and most of all controversy, but it is undeniable that David has had a massive impact on the music industry and will continue to affect it even with his premature death.

David Bowie began his career at the young age of 15 where he started a band that played at weddings and small gatherings, but due to his bandmates limited aspirations he later left and joined a variety of bands over the years each to no success. However, in 1967 he met performer Lindsay Kemp who was a huge self-admitted influence and encouraged him to keep creating more music. After going from single to single finding moderate success in songs like Over The Wall We Go and Silly Boy Blue, in 1969 he released what would become his biggest hit Space Oddity, which would go on to gain critical and commercial success. After being established as a solo act, David started to miss the feeling of being in a band and so he formed The Hype, This is where he acquired his controversial alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

Ziggy, modeled after idols Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, would become an icon in the music world at the time and would stick with Bowie even after his departure from The Hype. It was on his tour with Spiders from Mars that Bowie became extremely famous with a six-month tour around the UK. It was also around this time that Bowie further developed his love for acting and with it; he had issues separating himself from his character. These issues would continue until he abruptly announced the character’s “retirement” in 1973.

Throughout the rest of his career, Mr. Bowie would go on to win a number of other acclaims. Out of his 52 award nominations across his career, he won 14 of them, which included multiple Grammys, MTV, and American Music Society awards. He would also give critically claimed performances in movies like The Labyrinth and The Prestige. Multiple high profile music acts have also been able to play with David including Queen, Mick Jagger, Iggy pop, and more. This culminated with his final project Blackstar which dealt with his knowingly upcoming death and his feelings about how he had lived his life, the album has since go on to reach commercial and critical success.

The death of Mr. Bowie has been an early tragedy in the year that many were not expecting. Madonna called him talented, an artist, and said his spirit would go on forever. Rapper Kanye West also wrote on Twitter how he was one of his most important inspirations and described him as creative and brave. Local students also shared similar kind words. Woodstock student Hannah Lopez said, “He was an amazingly talented performer and I’ve loved his music for a long time. I’m going to miss him”. River Ridge student Raymond Elliotts shared, “He inspired me with a lot of his music and now that he’s gone I’m kind of depressed. Knowing he isn’t around to make such unique music is tragic to think about.”

No matter what your opinion on David Bowie may be, it is impossible to deny the impact he has had on many people’s lives. The fact that this happened so early on in the year and with many not even knowing his condition this is of course something that will stick with people for years to come. Bowie however did seem ready to die, reportedly from close friends and family, he had made his peace and with his last album finished he understood his time to leave, so some comfort can be taken in that thought. We at The Wolverine Times would like to offer condolences to any effected by the death and we advise people to always know that in the words of David himself “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

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David Bowie performing in his persona Ziggy Stardust

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