A Tribute to Bowie

11 mins read

Obviously the big news in pop culture this week (and probably this month, and this year too) is the passing of David Bowie. Social media has been full of emotional outpouring over his death, with tributes flooding in from all over. Bowie made an impact on many members of Brig too, so we’ve gathered our own tributes to the man here.

Ross Brannigan

I am going to start this David Bowie tribute by not talking about David Bowie. Instead, I am going to talk about Queen first.

I remember at the age of seven or eight hearing Queen for the first time. I was mesmerised. It was amazing.

Of course, my musical library only extended as far as Paul Simon, and The Muppets Christmas Carol, but something about their other-worldly and breathtaking sound grasped me.

Years later, I looked back on old clips and reports of the day Freddie Mercury died, and despite it being decades ago, it still felt like I had lost a friend that day.

With that in mind, when I awoke on Monday 11th January to learn David Bowie had died it was such a shock and a blow.

I, and many millions more, had lost a friend that day.

I was introduced to Bowie through Queen, and to begin with – I remember first listening to Life on Mars on an enormous CD player in my bedroom almost 11 years ago – I was not totally drawn to him.

And yet, that was what Bowie was incredible for: he challenged our ideas of what music should sound like, and created this kaleidoscope of sounds that, for the time, were practically unheard of.

His flamboyant clothing and personality were nothing short of revolutionary in the culture of the 70s and 80s, and he lead the way for young people who did not feel like they belonged.

Indeed, looking back to that 1964 clip of a 17 year-old Davy Jones commenting on his newly founded Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men it is clear he was not about to stop challenging the norm.

I will look back at Bowie’s life, and what he gave us, both to the music industry, and what he meant to the country and its identity.

He is immortalised in the lives he touched, and those who created; from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, and Major Tom.

Collaborating with so many artists over the years like Queen, Nine Inch Nails, and Mick Jagger, his influence expands beyond his own planet-sized boundaries.

It is safe to say, my first impressions did not last long, and I am glad to have been a long-time fan of his.

Thank you, David “Bowie” Jones. You will always be that starman in the sky.

 

Andrew Baxter

Bowie’s longevity and continued popularity is something that puts him amongst the greats of music. His latest album, released just three days before his death, received fantastic reviews, and to continuously write and create quality albums throughout such a long career is a hallmark of just how talented and influential Bowie was.

 

Andrew Henderson

David Bowie was truly one of a kind. The word legend is overused, but it almost feel like an understatement in regards to him. He broke social taboos, smashed through boundaries, and inspired millions. His music crossed six decades, which alone is an astonishing feat, but when you account for his ability to brazenly pioneer things in mainstream culture that spoke to several generations, his impact on pop culture – and by extension everyday life – is irreplaceable. I often forget just how many hits Bowie had, but it really is an impressively extensive list. That he essentially exiled himself in the last decade brought an added aura, a mystique about the man. But it was typical Bowie: it was a risk. Fortunately for all of us, the majority of risks he took paid off. We can already say that we’ve lost the biggest celebrity of 2016. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy will undoubtedly live on.

Bowie 2

Tom Wadsworth

The face of David Bowie is synonymous with music, as well as arguably even art in general. Throughout his active years the vivid menagerie of personas and characters Bowie adopted solidified him as an icon of creativity. Very few can boast to have had such an impact on culture, with countless artists of various mediums often citing Bowie as an integral muse and inspiration, if not one of the sole reasons they first picked up a guitar, sang a note or put ink to canvas. Just moments after the announcement of his passing, the media was flooded by the deluge of messages of appreciation and sadness stemming from artists of all calibres.

Of course for many of us, the phenomenon that was, and still is David Bowie was not merely a cultural impact, but a deeply personal connection as well. Again, the outpouring of sentiments on social media shows just how much this spaceman meant to the planet Earth. Bowie joined my life in my early teens whilst watching the Ashes to Ashes TV series, though my parents continue to remind me of how they would dance around the house to Hunky Dory with me as a baby; a real couple of Kooks.

It wasn’t until a few years later however that Bowie’s music would start having a real impact for me. The majority of my time at college saw me battling with a long and drudging depression, relating to feelings of isolation and inferiority, constantly plagued by a suffocating certainty that nothing I had to offer was worth anything to anyone. Bowie was one of the few things that could serve to elevate me above that state, bursting in with an injection of flair and colour that I wasn’t able to see anywhere else. Now I can see that colour anywhere, and strive to project it myself whenever possible. I think that’s really what so many of us love about him; he taught us that it could be cool to be ourselves, whoever that was. Reading through the array of various people’s stories perfectly illustrates the gift he gave to so many of us; the knowledge that anyone can find power in their own originality, creativity, or just plain weirdness. We’re all mortals, but we do all have that potential of a superman.

If there’s one thing I could say to Bowie, Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, and let’s not forget Jareth, it’d just be this. Wham Bam, thank ya ma’am!

Ziggy

Scott Patterson

I’ve been a fan of David Bowie since around second year in high school, if I was forced to pinpoint. This would have been around 2008, I had just bought two Bowie best-of albums, and would sit in school at 13 listening to such songs as Sorrow and Modern Love on my iPod, whilst my classmates would play the ridiculously incessantly overplayed Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon on repeat on their tinny mobile phone speakers.

The thing about Bowie, as I posted on Facebook when I found out about his death, is that he transcended generations; his music is timeless – from Space Oddity in 1969 to Lazarus in 2016 – these songs could really have been from any era and can be enjoyed by anyone.

For me, my favourite Bowie song is his 2013 remix of Sound and Vision, a stripped down version of the song featuring just a piano and his voice, it’s rather haunting, but also beautiful, Bowie’s voice standing on it’s own. As good as the original version of the song is, this version, at only one minute and 48 seconds long, is truly spectacular.

David Bowie’s legacy will live on. Not only in his music, but in other music today. A vast amount of modern pop music, rock music, dance music and indie music, to name but a few genres, would not be around today if it wasn’t for the eclectic style of Bowie. And that is something to be thankful for.

In his own words, David Bowie is gone. And there’s nothing I can do.

The stars look very different today.

 

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