Sad passing of David Bowie from cancer at age 69. Not any sadder than anyone passing from cancer at any age, but in the case of the Thin White Duke, not so sad as his amazing body of work left behind will speak for him forever.
There are at least two markers of genius. First is inimitability. True genius can be echoed by pretenders but never equaled. The second is that there is virtually no limit to their timeless multi-talented potential. Bowie (nee Jones) has said he considered himself a “collector of personalities”. Beginning in the 60s and 70s with “Space Oddity” and Ziggy Stardust” and the “Thin White Duke”. Proceeding through the 80s with new wave and his pop era and “Tin Machine”, into the 90s with his electronic period, and ultimately into the new millennium with his neoclassicist period. He collaborated with many other world class musicians including Queen (“Under Pressure”- 1981). In any of these periods, there is music to be enjoyed by some audience’s tastes.
Bowie also participated in and defined characters from several films including “The man who fell to earth” (1976), The Hunger (1983) and The last temptation of Christ (1988). He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Music reviewer Brad Filicky writes: “Bowie has become known as a musical chameleon, changing and dictating trends as much as he has altered his style to fit, influencing fashion and pop culture”. Biographer Thomas Forget adds, “Because he has succeeded in so many different styles of music, it is almost impossible to find a popular artist today that has not been influenced by David Bowie”. In 2000, Bowie was named by British magazine the New Musical Express as the “most influential artist of all time”.
So, we add this incredible talent to the list of inimitable, timeless, pervasive artists “of a certain age” approaching their mortality now, but never forgotten.