I have to admit, this was shocking news to wake up to this morning. It wasn't just that I was a big fan, it wasn't just that I had recently been in another of my deep dives into his catalog, no, it was more that there had been so many reasons just recently to believe that he'd be around for a long time yet. Just two short days before he passed was the man's 69th birthday, not to mention the release of his 25th studio album, the well received Blackstar. A record that pointed to yet even new directions for a man never content to rest on his laurels or with sticking with what has worked well in the past.
I was slow to get into Bowie, mostly only acknowledging him through my childhood by the inescapable singles and classic rock staples that filtered through my world - the ubiquitous (for a child born in 1976) "Let's Dance", "Modern Love", "Blue Jean", "Fame '90", "Fame", "Space Oddity", "Rebel Rebel", not to mention his appearance in Labyrinth. It wasn't until college and he spent some time palling around with Trent Reznor and being covered by Kurt Cobain that I undertook my first of many deep dives. Immediately enamored by the early 70s run, I mostly stopped there, it took a few more years and a wider musical berth before I grabbed onto Station To Station, Low, and "Heroes". From there I was caught up and able to experience Bowie's career in real time, starting with Heathen. The excitement and thrill of his return with 2013's The Next Day was an absolute joy to experience, and I was really excited to hear what else Blackstar was to bring.
And I still haven't explored it all. As of this writing, I've still yet to hear many of his albums int heir entirety - Young Americans, Tonight, Never Let Me Down, Black Tie White Noise and both Tin Machines, to be specific. But I look forward to having unexplored terrain, knowing that with Bowie's restless mind and enormous talent there will be something unexpected around every corner. Pushing Ahead of the Dame was, has been, and will remain a treasure while I continue to explore the man's legacy.
I also have yet to crack open Blackstar, I picked it up on Friday but my busy weekend never allowed the time I wanted to sit with it. I was planning to listen today, but somehow I didn't think I could deal with it. Tomorrow. Or the next day. Or maybe I'll continue to console myself by randomly skipping through his massive catalog.
There are plenty of other, more thoughtful, knowing tributes to read out there today, so I'll just leave this with a clip of one of my favorite pieces of Bowie related ephemera - the scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds when Shoshanna is preparing for "German Night" at the soon to be decimated movie theater while Bowie's "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" plays. It's anachronistic, to say the least, but a powerful movie moment and one of the keys to unlocking Bowie's 80s work.