David Bowie Has Died At Age 69

Musical chameleon and actor David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, has died at the age of 69.

His death was announced via his Facebook page:

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.

While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.

Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) had his greatest hits with songs like Fame, Golden Years and Space Oddity.

But some of his most influential work among musicians is his trilogy of albums, produced with Brian Eno & Tony Visconti in the late 70s, Low, Heroes & Lodger. The albums were recorded in Berlin, influenced by Kraftwerk – but not by Kraftwerk’s sound.

bowie-lowBowie explained:

Much has been made of Kraftwerk’s influence on our Berlin albums.

Most of it lazy analyses I believe. Kraftwerk’s approach to music had in itself little place in my scheme. Theirs was a controlled, robotic, extremely measured series of compositions, almost a parody of minimalism. One had the feeling that Florian and Ralph were completely in charge of their environment, and that their compositions were well prepared and honed before entering the studio.

My work tended to expressionist mood pieces, the protagonist (myself) abandoning himself to the ‘zeitgeist’ (a popular word at the time), with little or no control over his life. The music was spontaneous for the most part and created in the studio.

What I WAS passionate about in relation to Kraftwerk was their singular determination to stand apart from stereotypical American chord sequences and their wholehearted embrace of a European sensibility displayed through their music. This was their very important influence on me.

Bowie viewed the Berlin Trilogy as his his musical DNA:

For whatever reason, for whatever confluence of circumstances, Tony, Brian and I created a powerful, anguished, sometimes euphoric language of sounds. In some ways, sadly, they really captured unlike anything else in that time, a sense of yearning for a future that we all knew would never come to pass. It is some of the best work that the three of us have ever done.

Nothing else sounded like those albums. Nothing else came close. If I never made another album it really wouldn’t matter now, my complete being is within those three. They are my DNA.

Below a fan video for the Low track Subterraneans:

In this video, Bowie shared his thoughts on synthesizers – especially synthesizer presets:

The lyrics to Bowie’s last song, embedded at top, reveal him dealing with his mortality:

Look up here, I’m in heaven I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me?

23 thoughts on “David Bowie Has Died At Age 69

  1. When my wife told me the sad news this morning as I woke up, I muttered “at least he got out his album”. Seems kinda grotesque choice of words on my part. It speaks to the way artists work and Bowie was an artist in the highest regard. Rip.

  2. Sad news. My love and respect to his family.

    Bowie influenced soo many artists and soo many genres… rock, techno, industrial, hip hop. He was one of my heroes. I owe so much to Bowie and his unique style. Bowie made relevant and thoughtful music to the very end. I’m going to watch Labyrinth tonight with my wife and play all my old Bowie records and reminisce.

  3. I recall that Blackstar promo vid, amazing stuff regardless of anything else. I don’t know what it was, the spacesuit with a skeleton, Bowie being retrospective, general themes and mood, but I said to my friends and family that I believed he must know the end close. I got it, a wonderful present to leave behind – so very thoughtful.

    I’m a Blackstar.

  4. I’ll miss him and his influence deeply….followed him from his early years as Ziggy to today…I knew he had been sick….but did not realize how bad…David Bowie was a huge influence to my work….I stay’d home today and will listen to his music all day….his spirit lives on!!!!

  5. I’m still processing this like a silly human I guess. I was convinced that Bowie was a space alien living among us. I really enjoyed the strange worlds he shared with us: Ziggy, the Berlin Trilogy, 1. Outside , The Next Day, and lastly Blackstar are some of my favorites. He taught me a lot about atmosphere and humidity (?)in music. I thought this was an impossible joke or promotion for his new album and am saddened that it’s true. I also stayed home from work today and am tuned in to his music and interviews. Thank you Mr. Bowie!

  6. I will always be grateful for David Bowie’s recording of “This Is Not America” with Pat Methany And Lyle Mays. The mood it evokes is so haunting – I don’t think I could forget it if I tried.

    Feels like an era has passed.

  7. Man, this is sad. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is in my top 10 albums of all time list.

    I wish I would have taken the time to listen to his final album before I heard this news. I hope he heard how well-reviewed the album was before he died (if that’s something he cared about at the end).

  8. Goodbye to you man of the stars, the Andy Warhol of performance arts and the J.S. Bach of pop music. Goodbye to you the great innovator, the great writer of songs, the great soul toucher, heart warmer and life sweetener. Thank you for every verse, every chorus and every musical interlude. Rest in Piece my friend and know, as you fly far above the moon, floating in your tin can, your body may lay lifeless, but your soul will live on and inspire me and many others throughout the times. Good travels my friend, may these words bring as much solace in your passing, as your music has brought me throughout my life.

  9. I can only add my voice to say what an astounding loss this is. Saw Bowie at the Forum in Montréal, “Stage” era. Unforgettable.
    BTW, in the video “Bowie on synths”, there is an error in the caption at 0:06…..the gentleman on the left is not Visconti, but Robert Fripp!

  10. I opened my Music lecture this morning with Heroes. I was touched by the spontaneous round of applause from the students at the end of the song. It goes to show how relevant to all he still was when 18 year old undergraduates were as moved as me by his passing. RIP Legend

  11. A true artist in every sense of the word. In a world where we are surrounded by manufactured dross, he stood head and shoulders above it all. There will never be another like him, innovating every step of the way. He is already sorely missed.

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