Monday, January 11, 2016

Can you hear me, Major Tom?

When I woke up this morning, I saw a blurb on a friend's page that David Bowie had died. I could hardly believe it. In fact, I thought it was one of those cruel celebrity death hoaxes and for a brief two seconds, dismissed it. After all, he had just released a new album last Friday and on his birthday, no less. BUT then I saw the breaking news email alerts from the New York Times, the Huffington Post, NBC News and CBS News, and my heart sank as it became apparent Bowie really had passed.

All day long those of us at work moped around as we mulled over the news. I know I was numb to it all. Before I helped Ben set up a "Life Remembered" display to honor him, I set aside a copy of his album "Blackstar," released just last Friday on Bowie's 69th birthday, for purchase. I'll be listening to it as soon as I think I can handle the emotions I know I will feel knowing of his passing.

I don't really know how to express this, but the man was more than just a hero to me. From the first time I heard his "ground control to Major Tom," to "Fame," I was hooked. His songs "Suffragette City, Fame, Space Oddity, Modern Love, Changes, Young Americans, Under Pressure (with Queen), Blue Jean, Let's Dance"... and so many more are all part of my life--and forever will be.

I will leave it to other artists to address his place in the entertainment world, but no one can doubt how he has influenced the music and film industry.

If you didn't think the man move to the scene, you would be right. Bowie didn't follow, he LED the scene! If he didn't pioneer glam, he sure took to the max. If he didn't pioneer character-persona driven music performances, he sure fine tuned it. And if you didn't think his personality crossed all lines, you obviously have never seen him sing Christmas songs with Bing Crosby.

Coming home from work today, NPR's Terry Gross was rerunning her 2002 interview with him. She obviously was in awe of him and was surprised when he said he didn't really enjoy doing live performances "in character," but he much preferred writing and recording, always moving forward.

I was surprised too. He made the appearance of performing look so effortlessly. I think one thing that made him so appealing is that he was never the same guy twice.

If music wasn't enough, he broke in the movie scene and took it by storm (more than 25 films and countless TV appearances). His performances included The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Hunger, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, The Prestige" and "Labyrinth."

I do not think it a stretch by any means by saying that David Bowie was to the music industry what Robin Williams was to Hollywood. Needless to say, his passing is a bitter pill to swallow.

I've always considered myself lucky. My son took me to see Bowie in concert (with Moby) for my birthday in 2002. It was one of the highlights of my life. It was an utterly fantastic performance and I am so glad Wes and I got to see them both.

David, Ziggy, and countless other personas, I--we--will miss you. There'll never be another you.