The chameleon of rock has passed away.
After an 18-month battle with cancer, David Bowie passed away on Monday, Jan. 11 at the age of 69.
I discovered David Bowie about the same time I discovered rock. In fact, the first two albums I owned were Alice Cooper’s “Love It To Death” and Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. I remember my father looking at the two albums, both covers depicting androgynous men, and whether he should be worried about his 11-year-old son.
“What the hell kind of crap are you listening to?” asked my father, with a shake of his head.
It was an Archie Bunker moment from my father, but I just gave him my “you just don’t get it dad” look. Bowie’s anthem about space travel was hauntingly refreshing and I was hooked.
I wore out my copy of “Aladdin Sane” with hits like Cracked Actor, Panic In Detroit and Jean Genie and his under-achieving “David Live” remains my favourite live album of all time. Just listen to the opening guitar licks on Suffragette City.
Having seen Bowie in concert many times, I think his most powerful tour followed the release of 1996's “Station to Station”. Instead of an opening act, he screened the 1928 film “Un Chien Andalou” by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, which included a scene where a razor blade cuts into an eyeball. Hell, I was 18 years old. Any symbolism was lost on my underdeveloped brain, but the concert stood out as one of the best I had ever seen. The stage was bare with banks of fluorescent white lights and a black backdrop for the Thin White Duke.
I saw him again during his 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour – perhaps his most mainstream period – and Glass Spider Tour, featuring opening act Duran Duran. By that time, I was working for a newspaper and they sent me to cover the show. Best job in the freakin’ world, right?
Through it all, David Bowie has remained his own person, his own sound and his own style.