David Bowie (1947-2016)


The death of the singer and actor from cancer was reported today. There have been many tributes to his impact on music. While of course his fame was such that I had heard of him, I did not know much about him or his music but this article lists the ten key songs that track the trajectory of his varied career.

Here he is in 1985 with Mick Jagger singing a cover version of one of my favorite songs Dancing in the Street in support of the BandAid and LiveAid charity concerts.

Comments

  1. sonofrojblake says

    Trivia: Bowie and Jagger wanted to sing that song as a live duet with Jagger in London and Bowie in Philadelphia (or it might have been the other way round), but satellite delay and the pesky speed of light meant it was physically impossible, so they recorded the video instead.

  2. StevoR says

    @ ^ Mano Singham : You and me and many others. Still getting used to it being beyond 2000 which is closer to twenty years ago now. Yikes!

    Vale legend, rebel, hero and awesome human being who made so many sing along with joy and Spiders from Mars :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=CIZyiyQpm4I

    I also learnt today that he probably kept a good friend of mine alive for a number of years – and that man is still with us and we’re all better off for it.

    Bowie also fought racism globally :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-11/bowie-down-under-at-carinda-pub/7082410

    and gave us all perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo

    Among so very much else.

  3. John Morales says

    StevoR, if he was awesome, how come he doesn’t inspire awe in me?

    (He was a blackstar)

    And how exactly did he manage to keep your friend alive? I didn’t think he practiced medicine.

    (And what is this purported “highest” cover song? You give no indication, other than a YouTube link… not to mention, are you sure he was higher than others who performed cover songs? Plenty of druggies on the charts, you know)

  4. StevoR says

    @ ^ John Morales :

    .. how come he doesn’t inspire awe in me?

    Dunno. Your loss I guess & your opinion. He certainly inspires awe in me and plenty of others. Sucks to be you in this case (among others?) I ‘spose.

    .. how exactly did he manage to keep your friend alive?

    Stopped him topping himself. Mneta;l helath and hope and personal emotional connection. Or so I gather from what he wrote.

    .. his purported “highest” cover song?

    Did you not click the link and see for yourself? Hint : You don’t realise that “high” has at least a couple of meanings? Or that “cover song” means someone else is singing it?

  5. sonofrojblake says

    what is this purported “highest” cover song?

    What on earth is a digital watch? Who the f**k is Eddie Redmayne? Why are there shadows on the wall of my cave? STOP DANCING I TELL YOU!

  6. John Morales says

    StevoR :

    Dunno. Your loss I guess & your opinion. He certainly inspires awe in me and plenty of others. Sucks to be you in this case (among others?) I ‘spose.

    Dunno? You don’t need to guess or to suppose — I shall explain: you are awed because you’re easily awed. The tide comes in and the tide goes out!

    (You imagine your awe is a good thing?)

    Stopped him topping himself. Mneta;l helath and hope and personal emotional connection. Or so I gather from what he wrote.

    Bowie magically stopped some mentally ill person from dying, by virtue of a personal emotional connection, eh? Right.

    (Heh. Well, credit where it’s due!)

    Did you not click the link and see for yourself?

    Obviously not. I don’t follow obscure links, not having endless time and bandwidth.

    How fucking hard is it for you to wrap the link in an anchor tag or to at least mention to what you are linking? Like, naming the song?

    Hint : You don’t realise that “high” has at least a couple of meanings?

    Sure. Perhaps Bowie recorded whatever video (KaOC9danxNo, as you so very helpfully explained) on top of a high-rise building, or perhaps atop Everest.

    (Major Tom?)

    Or that “cover song” means someone else is singing it?

    I don’t sing; every fucking song is sung by “someone else”. Therefore, all songs are cover songs.

    (Hey, I can logic as well as you!)

    [​I can’t answer why (I’m not a gangstar)
    But I can tell you how (I’m not a film star)
    We were born upside-down (I’m a star’s star)
    Born the wrong way ‘round (I’m not a white star)
    (I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangstar
    I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
    I’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
    I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)]

  7. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake:

    What on earth is a digital watch?

    A watch which displays the time in digits, rather an in an analogue way via rotating pointers to numbers arrayed on a dial.

    Who the f**k is Eddie Redmayne?

    I don’t know, but I could Google it, should I care to do so.

    (I don’t care to do so)

    Why are there shadows on the wall of my cave?

    For the same reason there are shadows anywhere else. Duh.

    STOP DANCING I TELL YOU!

    I don’t dance. That’s for other people.

    Your effort at being sarcastically clever amuses me, sonof.

  8. Nick Gotts says

    Bowie also, unfortunately, had a dark side (sex with at least one underage girl, and a fascist period), covered by FtB bloggers who are also great admirers of his music, here, here, and here.

  9. Silentbob says

    @ 9 John Morales

    Sure. Perhaps Bowie recorded whatever video (KaOC9danxNo, as you so very helpfully explained) on top of a high-rise building, or perhaps atop Everest.

    Getting warmer.

    FFS, John, it’s one thing to say you can’t be fucked following links; it’s another thing to give the poster of the link a hard time for not describing in detail what they were linking to.

    The link is to a cover version (that means not performed by Bowie) of Space Oddity performed by an astronaut on the International Space Station. Happy now?

    It’s not unusual for people to link to things while relying on the reader’s curiosity to follow the link. For example Holms here. And I notice that while you participated in that thread you didn’t display any need to give Holms a lecture on how inconvenient it is for you not to have YouTube links described in advance.

    And of course art can inspire in people a will to live. There’s no need to invoke “magic”.

    You’ve always been a pedantic fucker, but I never before saw you as a common or garden troll. If you must hassle StevoR for your own amusement, at least make an effort to find something worthy of criticism.

  10. John Morales says

    Silentbob, I don’t hassle StevoR for my own amusement, but rather to respond to his nauseating ignorance, obsequiousness and bandwagoneering.

    FFS, John, it’s one thing to say you can’t be fucked following links; it’s another thing to give the poster of the link a hard time for not describing in detail what they were linking to.
    The link is to a cover version (that means not performed by Bowie) of Space Oddity performed by an astronaut on the International Space Station. Happy now?
    It’s not unusual for people to link to things while relying on the reader’s curiosity to follow the link. For example Holms here. And I notice that while you participated in that thread you didn’t display any need to give Holms a lecture on how inconvenient it is for you not to have YouTube links described in advance.

    First, it was not only “for not describing in detail what they were linking to”, but for not describing it in any way whatsoever, and second, I didn’t respond to Holms because Holms did not directly ask me whether I had followed the blind link, as in this case.

    And of course art can inspire in people a will to live. There’s no need to invoke “magic”.

    What was invoked was “a personal emotional connection”, presumably much like some religious have with Jesus. You really imagine StevoR’s alleged friend with the alleged cure was actually a personal acquaintance of the artist, so that the two personally emotionally connected?

    You’ve always been a pedantic fucker, but I never before saw you as a common or garden troll.

    Your concern is noted, for what it’s worth.

    (And, to finish with the pedantry which so exercises you, by your own definition it was not Bowie who “gave us all perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever”, was it?)

  11. Silentbob says

    @ 13 John Morales

    I don’t hassle StevoR for my own amusement, but rather to respond to his nauseating ignorance, obsequiousness and bandwagoneering

    Well that’s a first. No <snickers>s involved this time.

    First, it was not only “for not describing in detail what they were linking to”, but for not describing it in any way whatsoever

    Crap. “perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever” at least tells us it is a song, not by the original artist. Unlike you, to be so loose in your wording, as to claim that is no description whatsoever.

    I didn’t respond to Holms because Holms did not directly ask me whether I had followed the blind link, as in this case.

    Prior to StevoR addressing you in any way whatsoever in the thread, you wrote (@6):

    (And what is this purported “highest” cover song? You give no indication, other than a YouTube link… not to mention, are you sure he was higher than others who performed cover songs? Plenty of druggies on the charts, you know)

    Given this, how is Holms not addressing you relevant?

    You really imagine StevoR’s alleged friend with the alleged cure was actually a personal acquaintance of the artist, so that the two personally emotionally connected?

    No of course I don’t imagine that. I also don’t imagine that an FtB blogger who claims

    I also know without Bowie, my own obit would have been written long ago, and I can’t help but remember that too.

    … was a personal aquaintance of Bowie.

    it was not Bowie who “gave us all perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever”, was it?

    Don’t be obtuse. He was the composer. You might as well say it wasn’t Dawkins who gave us The God Delusion, it was the typesetters and bookbinders.

    As for my concern being noted, right back atcha Sunshine. Or do you have some reason why your concerns are worthy of more than note?

  12. John Morales says

    Silentbob, our conversation is a proper tribute to dead David Jones — or, at least, better than StevoR’s hagiography.

    Well that’s a first. No s involved this time.

    Snickering is an indication of amusement, and I was not amused.

    Crap. “perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever” at least tells us it is a song, not by the original artist.

    True. I stand corrected.

    Given this, how is Holms not addressing you relevant?

    Because I was responding to what you wrote: “it’s one thing to say you can’t be fucked following links; it’s another thing to give the poster of the link a hard time for not describing in detail what they were linking to.”

    No of course I don’t imagine that.

    Well, then. The claim was bullshit, and still fails to impress me even if I thought StevoR was being honest.

    I also don’t imagine that an FtB blogger who claims

    Alex didn’t claim it was “a personal emotional connection”, and he acknowledged it was the persona, not the person, who sustained him.

    But hey, if you want to indulge in the belief that Bowie’s glam rock persona saved lives, go for it.

    Don’t be obtuse. He was the composer. You might as well say it wasn’t Dawkins who gave us The God Delusion, it was the typesetters and bookbinders.

    I quote you: “The link is to a cover version (that means not performed by Bowie)”, so what Bowie gave us is the song that was covered, not the cover song itself.

    As for my concern being noted, right back atcha Sunshine. Or do you have some reason why your concerns are worthy of more than note?

    <snicker>

    Where do you imagine I have expressed concern?

  13. Silentbob says

    @ 15 John Morales

    our conversation is a proper tribute to dead David Jones — or, at least, better than StevoR’s hagiography

    I assume that’s meant as an insult to Bowie, but your meaning is unclear.

    Well, then. The claim was bullshit

    “The claim” being that some unspecified individual experienced a “personal emotional connection” with Bowie’s music. A claim to which you express incredulity. Not atypically, you are being overly literal. Carl Sagan subtitled his famous TV series Cosmos, “A Personal Voyage“. Do you suppose he meant he had an intimate interpersonal relationship with galaxies, stars, planets, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Einstein, and the various other historical personages discussed in the programme? Of course not. The meaning of the subtitle was that he was discussing things of personal importance to him, and StevoR was employing the same meaning.

    if you want to indulge in the belief that Bowie’s glam rock persona saved lives, go for it

    I don’t need to “indulge the belief”. Survivors of suicidal ideation including Alex Gabriel (as linked @14) testify that it is so. If you have some grounds to call them liars, “go for it”.

    what Bowie gave us is the song that was covered, not the cover song itself

    Yes, nobody is confused about this. So the fuck what? You’re the one insisting that, “gave us all perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever”, necessarily means the cover and not the song.

    Where do you imagine I have expressed concern?

    I “imagine” that @ 13 you wrote:

    I don’t hassle StevoR for my own amusement, but rather to respond to his nauseating ignorance, obsequiousness and bandwagoneering.

    Are you now claiming to be simultaneously “nauseated” but “unconcerned”? I put it to you these claims are contradictory, that there is no such thing as being nauseated and unconcerned by the same thing. More succinctly, I put it to you that you are backpedalling and bullshitting in a vain attempt to “win” an argument because that’s how you get your jollies.

  14. John Morales says

    Silentbob:

    I assume that’s meant as an insult to Bowie, but your meaning is unclear.

    Nope. I quoted from his final album. I quite liked his music. I think he was a great artist.

    Blackstar was interesting (Lazarus was kinda boring), but they were his deathbed testimony, and I prefer to remember him as he wanted it.

    “The claim” being that some unspecified individual experienced a “personal emotional connection” with Bowie’s music. A claim to which you express incredulity.

    Sorta — there was no mention of “Bowie’s music”, but rather of Bowie. And don’t forget “he probably kept a good friend of mine alive for a number of years”.

    Not atypically, you are being overly literal.

    I think otherwise. And I tend not to express opinion as fact, unlike you.

    I don’t need to “indulge the belief”. Survivors of suicidal ideation including Alex Gabriel (as linked @14) testify that it is so.

    Did you miss my allusion to Jebusites making a similar claim? From the description offered, I think it was they who saved themselves, by virtue of their belief.

    (That someone believes something silly is true does not entail that thing actually is true)

    Yes, nobody is confused about this. So the fuck what? You’re the one insisting that, “gave us all perhaps the best and certainly the highest cover song ever”, necessarily means the cover and not the song.

    To the first, I’ve already explicitly told you it was pedantry, and to the second, it is the actual referent, so yes, “the highest cover song” necessarily refers to the actual cover of the song, not to the original song, and its performer(s) accordingly refer to those who perform the cover song, not to the originator(s) of the covered song, and it’s the performer(s) who “give” it to us.

    Are you now claiming to be simultaneously “nauseated” but “unconcerned”? I put it to you these claims are contradictory, that there is no such thing as being nauseated and unconcerned by the same thing.

    If you hold that any response to anything is an expression of concern, I suppose so, but in the sense of solicitude, not so. When I express irritation I am not (in the ordinary sense of the word) expressing concern.

    More succinctly, I put it to you that you are backpedalling and bullshitting in a vain attempt to “win” an argument because that’s how you get your jollies.

    And here I thought I was responding to your comments.

    (Takes two to tango)

    * I see you’re not unfamiliar with backpedalling and bullshitting in a vain attempt to “win” an argument.

  15. Silentbob says

    [OT + meta]

    Sorry, that’s not good enough. You need to provide a synopsis of the article plus an estimate of the number of kilobytes so John can do a cost/benefit analysis in order to determine the optimum use of his limited bandwidth.

    [/ OT + meta]

  16. John Morales says

    [interesting – my previous previewed and worked fine in preview, and the HTML was correct – but the rendering fails by the insertion of a line feed by post-processing.

    Link was to Bowie’s song “The Next Day” (explicit version), where he mocks Christianity’s hypocrisy]

  17. John Morales says

    Silentbob, those who (like me) don’t have a YouTube account can’t watch that video there — too racy — but they can do so on Vimeo.

  18. StevoR says

    @ John Morales (various) : “You imagine your awe is a good thing?”

    I know it. Awe is a wonderful emotion which enriches my life and the life of others who are capable of experiencing it. If you are incapable of doing so then I truly pity you.

    .. I don’t hassle StevoR for my own amusement, but rather to respond to his nauseating ignorance, obsequiousness and bandwagoneering.

    So firstly you’re admitting that you are out to hassle me here yeah?

    Secondly, your opinion of me is subjective and also completely wrong. For starters when it comes to the issue of whether or not Israel-bashing is cool and who should be supported for the 2016 elections out of Sanders and Hillary I’m clearly neither “obsequious” nor the bandwagon for this blog but instead represent a rare opposing voice. The fact that I do so politely in my own probably somewhat stilted and self-deprecating style and try to be kind and generous rather than resorting to personal abuse makes me well mannered but not obsequious. As for “ignorance”, I think if you look at my posts which regularly feature presenting lots of facts and evidence you will find that claim is untenable. Even if you don’t agree with me, you can’t say I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Thirdly this rather clashes with your declaration in #17 that you “.. tend not to express opinion as fact, unlike you.” Go figure.

    … there was no mention of “Bowie’s music”, but rather of Bowie.

    Bowie also acted and performed and was a character and a pop culture icon. Western Culture icon really.

    Also when referring to singers and artists it’s pretty usual to use the shorthand of their names for instance when someone says they are listening to U2 or Pink Floyd or The Oils its really pretty durn obvious from the context that they (almost always) are referring to the music rather than say, an interview or the sound of say a barrel of oil pouring out.

    And don’t forget “he probably kept a good friend of mine alive for a number of years”.

    And don’t you forget the rest of what I wrote on that :

    “I also learnt today that he probably kept a good friend of mine alive for a number of years – and that man is still with us and we’re all better off for it. (Comment 5.) … Stopped him topping himself. Mental health and hope and personal emotional connection. Or so I gather from what he wrote. (Comment 7 -written on facebook if you must know.)

    That friend of mine whose existence and my honesty – which you have doubted with no reason or evidence to do so – is one of the best and nicest people I know and as I wrote (#5) ” that man is still with us and we’re all better off for it.”

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