Monday, January 11, 2016

Remembering David Bowie

Last night's news of David Bowie's passing hit me hard. I was devastated. Many of you know I've been seriously ill for a month or so, but I've been making forward progress and trying to be positive - but this loss was a physical blow and crushed my spirits. I loved and love Bowie, he was a favorite, an idol, an inspiration, and the man marked my life.

My first exposure to Bowie, and also to the offensive gay epithet that starts with an F, was when I saw the "Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)" duet with Bing Crosby originally air. I remember seeing him on "Soul Train," and in drag and as a puppet on "Saturday Night Live." "DJ" from Lodger (which I had on 8-track) was probably the first proper music video I ever saw, another field in which Bowie was a pioneer.

I remember vividly the first times I heard many of his songs. "Golden Years," "Cat People," "Station to Station," "I'm Afraid of Americans," "Let's Dance," "Sound and Vision," and a dozen others all hold specific memories for my first listens. How many other artists or songs can one say that about?

I saw Bowie once, during his Glass Spider tour. Squeeze opened, and both Peter Frampton and Toni Basil were part of his entourage on stage, but Bowie shined like a supernova in that dying and falling apart JFK Stadium. He was mesmerizing and amazing, a burning, singing, dancing light enthralling the thousands there. I'll never forget it.

This weekend, the weekend of both his birthday and death, was filled with Bowie for me. I watched him on "Storytellers" telling tales and performing for a small audience songs from his then-new album Hours. I also finally got around to listening to Blackstar, a fabulous collection. In an iTunes age when one can just cherry pick the songs one likes, I preordered Blackstar in its entirety as I have Bowie's last few.

And today I am crushed, numb, and indescribably sad. Rest in peace, man, I love you, you changed my life.
A slightly different version of this appears at Biff Bam Pop!. Please pop over there for more remembrances of David Bowie by the staff there.