Monday, January 11, 2016

Ashes to ashes...

We’ve seen a fair number of musical icons die over the years but the outpouring of grief and sheer shock resonating through the world today following Bowie’s passing is something else. For once it’s well and truly deserved too. After all who else managed to reinvent themselves so brilliantly over and over again over almost half a century? Who else managed to be both commercially and critically successful (albeit with a few slight stumbles along the way)? And who else has had such a huge influence on so many other bands and artists? It goes further than that even. No Bowie no 80s music or fashion as we knew it. Simple. No Duran Duran, Japan, Soft Cell, Human League, Spandau Ballet, Madonna, Adam and the Ants and lord knows how many other bands. Into the 90s bands like Suede based their whole careers on Bowie’s, Lady Gaga clearly owes the dude a huge debt and surely the LGBT community’s lives would be infinitely less comfortable if it hadn’t been for a man who ‘came out’ (okay so he later confessed to being bi-sexual but still, it was a damn brave move in the 70s) back when homosexuality had only recently been legalised and other artists were so far in the closet it would take a search party and six months to find ‘em. My own personal journey with Bowie probably started back in 1980 with Ashes to Ashes, although I have distant memories of his music filtering through my even earlier years. I was lucky enough to see him live at one of the definitive Glastonbury headline slots in 2000 and have a healthy collection of original albums embracing pretty much his entire career (yep...even Tin Machine). As recently as last week he was still releasing surprising and inspirational new music, perhaps the album’s title itself, Blackstar, being a thinly veiled acknowledgment of his imminent passing (certainly much of the new material now seems prophetic). Who knows? One thing’s pretty certain though. No matter who comes after him he’ll always be the ultimate star, man. 

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