David Bowie has always been an influential musician in the eyes of the public. He kicked off his professional career in 1963 and was quickly noticed by musical connoisseurs around the world. “Space Oddity” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYYRH4apXDo), released in 1969, became his first hit and from there, he hopped onto a rollercoaster that only went up. 27 studio albums, 49
compilation albums, and 121 singles later, Bowie was on top of the world and had revolutionized pop culture in a way that has not and will not be paralleled by any other. Though Bowie’s death on January 10th, 2016, left many deeply mourning the death of an incredible genius and icon, his creations will continue to leave their mark on the world and the many generations to come.
Bowie, a prominent pop rock chameleon, broke every single cultural barrier of his time. He constantly experimented with music, fashion, dance, art and sexuality. Even in the beginning of his career, Bowie was noticeably different than his fellow musicians of the 60s and 70s. He dressed in feminine clothes and wore eye shadow, lipstick, and eyeliner. His makeup didn’t serve to conceal his true self, but rather to expose it. His impenetrable confidence allowed other people to accept him as the unconventional and innovative musician he was. When homosexuality was still frowned upon and practically illegal, he was the first British pop star to come out as gay and was rumored to have had a fling with Mick Jagger. This paved the way to a culture that is accepting of homosexuality, pansexuality, and other genders and sexual orientations. Due to his pioneering in sexuality, straight is not always normal and the new generations support anyone whose sexuality is being their true selves.
Bowie was a gender and genre-bending musician and songwriter who explored new production techniques and musical styles. From Space Oddity to Heroes to Blackstar, he was extremely diverse in his musical repertoire and created music belonging to many different genres. This is part of what made his work so awe-inspiring and magical. Bowie inspired the glam rock and hip hop of the 80s and experimented with jazzier, atmospheric music in his final studio album Blackstar. He was not only able to adapt to changes in popular music, but was able to initiate those changes and fads. This is what made him the legend he is today. His ability to adapt to new styles, change the music scene, and continue to publish popular music enthusiastically throughout his entire life is astonishing. There was never a moment when Bowie wasn’t playing music and writing new songs. Music was his life. He loved it and his evident passion caused others to love it as well.
Another part of Bowie’s mystery that made him so compelling was his performance. He was remarkable on stage and it seems as if his entire life was one elaborate performance. Throughout his musical journey, he created alter-egos, which coincided with his albums. Whether he was the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Major Tom, or Ziggy Stardust, he engaged and united people around the world. With every alter ego that he left behind, his musical style was reborn. David Bowie was like a reoccurring dream that captivated millions around the world. And with his last album, he made the greatest mark of all: his last performance. He released his haunting album Blackstar on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. His lyrics tell the story of his battle with cancer and his final words to the world. With the darkness of the album, he ended his lifelong performance and reminded us all of his remarkable talent. The world lost a genius, spaceman, and legend this year, yet his influence has never been stronger.