Wednesday, January 13, 2016

854. David Bowie Memories

The death of David Bowie has led to a raft of stories exploring his impact on our culture.  I must confess, a lot of the time I didn't really know what exactly his impact was, because he was one of those music acts who kind of became more famous for his persona than his music. 

But he's got some famous music out there, such as:

That's "Space Oddity," his first and most famous hit.  It's one of those songs you probably heard a lot growing up, and maybe never found out who did it.  But there you are, a bona fide David Bowie classic.  Probably the obvious source for the quirkiness of his later career.  Imagine if the Beatles started out as Sgt. Pepper's...

"Life on Mars," which I'm most familiar with from the short-lived Jason O'Mara TV show (which itself was an adaptation of an earlier BBC series) of the same name.  The song recurred and was an anthem in more than one way.  So I'll always have that among my treasured memories.  I loved that show.

"Under Pressure," which he did with Queen.  I discovered this song from the soundtrack to the John Cusack classic Grosse Pointe Blank, and it's long been a favorite of mine (the soundtrack, this song in particular, both).

As an actor, my personal Bowie moment is his performance as Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige.  Great movie, so I'll always have that from him as well.

That's all I can say definitively about David Bowie's work in my life.  I had to look up "Space Oddity" to find that out, which in turned reminded me about "Life on Mars."  But still, it's sad to see the legend go.  Could be very interesting to see how the culture keeps his memory alive.  Personally, I'd love a Bowie biopic, maybe from someone like Charlie Kaufman, who could really make his more interesting personality quirks pop.

It's also worth noting that Bowie is the father of the brilliant director Duncan Jones, who's given us two great films already, Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011), and hopefully many more to come.


Pat Dilloway said...

I didn't own any of his music, just the Bill Shatner cover of Space Oddity and the Wallflowers cover of Heroes. My most enduring memory is that weird duet of "Little Drummer Boy" he did with Bing Crosby. Talk about opposites! And yet it worked.

The Armchair Squid said...

Musically, Bowie's impact on the acts who came after him was huge: Queen, Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel, Yes, etc. He is forever the embodiment of glam rock, a genre with major influence on punk (though they'd never admit it), disco, goth, synth, new wave, etc. Acts like Madonna and Prince would certainly have looked different without his influence but in truth, they probably would have sounded different, too. The second British invasion of the '80s might never have happened. If Dylan, the Beatles and Motown begat the sounds of the '60s, Bowie and Stevie Wonder begat the sounds of the '70s and '80s.

And that's not even getting into his crossover influence upon art, fashion and film not to mention society's attitudes toward sexual identity.

He is by no means my favorite musician but his impact is undeniable.


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