It was one of those moments, a bit like the deaths of Elvis Presley or John Lennon, when I’m sure millions of people all around the world couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing or reading.
“But how can this be?”….. “He only just released a new album” ….. “I didn’t even know he was ill”.
Shock, denial and then deep, deep sadness as you came to realise that it is indeed true. The thin white duke is no more.
All day long, my social media feed has been totally dominated by the news as people shared their sorrow, as well as their many memories of the man. He touched so many people in so many ways.
Bowie provided a soundtrack to my youth and well beyond. He had the ability to write music that both captured the moment, but also endured.
Even now, if I hear the first few bars of Rebel Rebel, Let’s Dance, Sound and Vision, Starman, Young Americans, Fashion or a whole host more I am struck by how relevant they still sound, but also how effortlessly they can instantly transport me back to my past.
And presumably I’m not the only one to think that.
10 years ago, the BBC produced a brilliant TV drama about a modern day cop, being transported back to a police force in the 1970s.
They needed an iconic music track to represent the cop’s time journey into the past. Obviously they chose a Bowie track and even named the series after it – Life on Mars.
4 years ago at the climax of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, the organisers needed a track to accompany the arrival of Team GB into the Olympic stadium. Bowie’s Heroes was again the ideal choice and will be a memory I will never forget.
Whilst there were doubtless artists who have sold more records than Bowie, I can’t think of anyone who was able to reinvent themselves quite so often or quite so creatively. His influence on popular culture has been immense.
After a 10 year hiatus, during which rumours of ill health would sometimes circulate, he re-emerged in typically unconventional fashion – releasing a new single (Where are we now?) out of the blue with an album following shortly afterwards.
No fanfare, just a mighty fine album. Bowie was back.
His final album (Black Star) was released just two days ago and was, according to Bowie’s long-time producer Tony Visconti, his “parting gift”. But right to the end, very few would have predicted his imminent demise – the man was capable of surprising us all.
The word ‘icon’ tends to get overused in the music industry these days, but I struggle to think of anyone more deserving.
RIP David Bowie – with your passing, an important part of my past has gone forever, but I thank you for all those Golden Years.