Hype Song of the Month // David Bowie Blackstar
This year kicks off with one of the saddest news from the pop uinverse in a very long time: David Bowie, one of my longtime music, fashion and movie heroes died at the age of 69. There are a millions of reasons to memorialize the passing of David Bowie, but at last for me personally, it was his play with gender, sexuality and fashion, before his music entirely touched me deeply with the disco-funk of Let’s Dance in 1983. While I was still too young to comprehend Bowie’s numerous artificial personas from outerspace Ziggy Stardust to the heroin hero Thin White Duke during the 1970s, older friends of mine explored Bowie’s music from these eras including Diamond Dogs, Station to Station or Low. Being adolescent in Germany, we felt especially honoured when Bowie moved to Berlin, in his own words the “capital of heroin”, to share a flat near the Mauer with long-time friend Iggy Pop and becoming influenced by German Krautrock and electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. However, such glamorous, Chic-influenced, highly polished tracks as Let’s Dance, Modern Love and China Girl not only led me slightly away from my unbridled enthusiasm for the stadium rock of Led Zeppelin, but opened my mind for new musical styles and the endless gender-blurring universe of David Bowie.
I went to see David Bowie live only twice: In June 1983, Bowie performed a flawless show at Berlin’s Waldbühne during his Serious Moonlight tour, spending some time to talk to the full moon that dipped the scenery into silver light. I never forget the other show of Bowie during his Spider From Mars tour I visited in June 1987 in Hamburg’s Stadtpark: After a long list of opening acts exhausted the audience, Bowie kicked off his show during daylight and performed half-heartedly. It wasn’t the only conjuncture that reduced my euphoria for Bowie. During May/June 1987 I was lucky to see two shows on Prince’s legendary Sign ‘O’ The Times tour, whose sheer brilliance clearly set new standards.
However, beyond David Bowie’s countlesss haunting contributions to popular music, the way he made us perceive our attributes to sexuality, his blasting impact as a erratic chameleon of fashion and his unforgettable acting in The Hunger or The Man Who fell from Earth, his longstanding career was really one of a great artist than just a musician. Darkstar was his parting gift to us and, in the aftermath of Bowie’s sad passing, it seems the elegant gentleman was well aware that his last mortal chapter was about to reach it’s conclusion.