Ziggy Stardust. Aladdin Sane. The Thin White Duke. The Goblin King. David Bowie. By now, you have surely heard that David Bowie has passed away at the age of 69 after a lengthy battle with liver cancer, and the world of music is that much darker and sadder as a result. It’s impossible to overstate the impact that Bowie has had upon popular culture, having acted in iconic film roles, appeared in memorable television parts, and, of course, composed and performed countless terrific songs that will stay with us until the end of time. It is with a heavy heart that The Back Row pays tribute to him today.
Bowie’s persona was so mercurial that you can’t really sum it up in only a few paragraphs. With every decade, his style changed, but his standard of quality was always the same. Whether he was the glam rock Ziggy Stardust of the early 70’s, the Thin White Duke of soul funk in the late 70’s, the new-wave pop Bowie of the 80’s the electronic Bowie of the 90’s or the neoclassicist Bowie of the 2000’s, his music was always great, and the man behind the microphone was always the sexy, mysterious star that we loved. His mercurial persona, gender-fluidity and sexual liberation gave an image to the emerging LGBT community, and his voice dazzled us all. And we haven’t even gotten to his film work!
Bowie’s most iconic film role was undoubtedly that of Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth. Bowie played the role of the leader of a magical kingdom of goblins, with a look that was obviously influenced by anime. Jareth was also prone to breaking into song, and Bowie composed all of the songs for Labyrinth, performing most of them as well. Dance Magic Dance is the one that everyone sings, but so many of those songs are great. Underground has always been a favourite of mine.
I could fill a book trying to describe every facet of Bowie’s life, but instead I will conclude this all-to-brief homage by pointing out how relevant his music still is today. In 2014, he was featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix vol. 1 soundtrack, and the year before that, astronaut Chris Hadfield played Space Oddity literally in space! I’ll leave you with a particularly memorable Bowie tribute from the television show Rick and Morty. Farewell, Starman. As Simon Pegg said following Bowie’s death: “If you’re sad today, just remember the world is over 4 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”