On Friday, we celebrated Bowie’s latest record release—Blackstar—a fantastic LP that has so many layers it demands repeated listenings. Now, today, he is gone. Thunderstruck is too tame a word. This one hurts. Deeply.
When you’re a kid and you discover music, there are certain artists you latch onto. They become pillars for your own personal soundtrack. They shape your musical tastes. You grow up with them, you get older with them, they’re with you through those moments in life, giving you a soundtrack to all your experiences. There’s a part of you that knows that artist is much older than you, but you always assume they’ll always be there, making music, opening new doors. In your brain, you know they’re getting older, but in your heart, you always think they are immortal.
David Bowie was one of those artists for me. I discovered him late (“Under Pressure” and then LET’S DANCE). I discovered his back catalog and all the amazing music he made in the 70s. I frowned when he realized music was changing and made Tin Machine, not really getting it until Nirvana exploded on the scene. I traveled with him in the 90s as he explored new musical areas and created a collection of music that rivals his 70s output. I worried when we nearly lost him in 2004, and I celebrated his return in 2013 when he released The Next Day. On Friday, I reveled in his new LP, loving it so much that I’ve already sought out the records of the jazz musicians with whom he collaborated. Opening new doors yet again.
In short, David Bowie was one of the foundational pillars of my musical life. He is part of my musical DNA. I don’t like the music I like now if David Bowie hadn’t showed me. I never met him, but I’ve known him for over three decades. And I will continue to know him for the rest of my life.
Rest in peace, David Bowie. And thank you for all the wonderful music you gave the world.