As we promised in our last article, we will discuss David Bowie this time. David Robert Jones was born on January 8, 1947 in the Brixton section of London. Here he lived until the age of six when his family moved to Bromley in Kent (now part of Greater London). He lived with his parents until the age of 18.
He claims that his first goal in music was to play saxophone in Little Richard‘s band. Initially he played the saxophone, but by mere chance he could also present himself as a singer, when he replaced someone in a London club. In the first half of the 1960’s he was the member of several blues bands: “The King Bees”, “The Mannish Boys” and “The Lower Third”. Bowie’s greatest strength has always been his ability to change easily, thereby advancing the future of postliminary music styles. In his early era he played blues and Elvis-like music.
David Bowie has sometimes been presented as a chameleon artist, the term regularly reappeared when evocation took place. He adapted his work -in particular his music, if not completely- to modes and tunes of the time, but having an acute awareness of putting his individuality in it.
The music hall, the hippie folk, glam rock, soul, funk, pop, electronic music, jazz have been some of the genres that he addressed, giving them each time a color, a personality. His voice passes from the caresses to cry in many shades, suggesting a form of drama in the expression.
Over the years he also endorsed the costume of characters, possible duplicates. The dandy, elegant, quiet young man from the beginning begins to play with travesty in the late 1960’s. His most famous character for the general public, Ziggy Stardust, will be an avatar of the rock star with glitter in the rise to fame and fall.
He will appear with a face ornamented with a colorful flash for Aladdin Sane; he will be a kind of pirate annunciator of punk when transformed into Halloween Jack; he will be then the Thin White Duke, probably the closest to what he saw then, in the late 1970s, undermined by a significant cocaine consumption; before doing up his face into Pierrot lunaire in the early 1980s…
It is very rare that a person has eyes with different colors. This phenomenon is called heterochromia. However, David Bowie did not have heterochromia: it only seems on some recordings that he has one blue eye and one dark (brown), others clearly show that both eyes are blue, one is still darker and the “red eye-effect” has a greater impact on it.
Bowie’s left eye is really darker and this is due to the constantly dilated pupils. This state is called anizocoria: it precisely means that the pupil of one eye is dilated continuously, that is to say the pupil does not react to light, it does not narrow when it is exposed to stronger light. So while the pupil of the healthy eye narrows and lets you see the (in Bowie’s case blue colored) iris, while the other eye remains dark. That’s why Bowie had such asymmetric eyes.
Is fame a real adoration towards the given star or is it just a pretended enthusiasm for someone? Stars come and go, people are very sad after their death, but what it takes to rest forever in the mind of people? Bowie’ cold elegance lingers still around. His subtle sentimentality left a deep impression in our minds. Here are the best 6 songs of this outstanding artist:
“I made sightings six, seven times a night for about a year when I was in the observatory. We had regular cruises that came over”, declared the singer in an interview.
David Bowie was really into the UFO topic. His fascination for the subject became to intensify during his teenager years. The lyrics describe Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth’s youth through the radio, salvation by an alien ‘Starman’.
“There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’ll blow our minds”
5. Aladdin Sane
Aladdin Sane proves to be Ziggy Stardust’s crazy party-loving cousin. Bigger, heavier, and sexier, Bowie uses the British glam rock sound to create brilliant scenes that convey the idea of American excess. What are the characteristics of this ephemeral hero? A bright tricolor (red, black and blue) on the face cover of the album of the same name.
The image has since become unavoidable and the symbol was reproduced on the face of thousands of fans after the announcement of the death of Bowie, as evidenced by the sharp words on #AladdinSane and #UnEclairPourBowie on Twitter.
The successor of Ziggy Stardust, which takes its name from the expression “A lad insane” meaning “crazy guy” has monopolized this lightning to the advice of Pierre La Roche, the artist behind the makeup of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Itself was inspired by the high voltage signs exposed on transformers. The picture, created by Brian Duffy, remains one of the best shots of the artist.
4. Ziggy Stardust
“He had to do the show every night,” remembers Woody. “And write ‘Aladdin Sane’, and do interviews. But people didn’t want to interview David Bowie, they wanted to interview Ziggy. It became… odd. He was kind of always in character, you know”.
Ziggy Stardust was Bowie’s most famous -and career-defining- alter ego. Ziggy is a fictional rockstar, who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. The album and the character of Ziggy Stardust was known for its glam rock influences and themes of sexual exploration and social criticism. The album received a controversial reception: Bowie’s sexuality generates debates.
“I’m a character when I go onstage, and I believe in my part. That’s how I do my stage thing. I’m an actor”, declared David.
3. China girl
Bowie described the video as a “very simple, very direct” statement against racism. Besides his previous single’s video for “Let’s dance”. The video consciously parodies Asian female stereotypes. “Nobody but Rodgers could have taken a song like ‘China Girl’, with its paranoid references to ‘visions of swastikas’, and turned it into a sweet, romantic hit single“, commented BBC reviewer David Quantick on the work of Nile Rodgers.
‘You know I was just (A) Working with David Bowie, gosh!, and (B) Shooting a video and sort of all of the things that came along with that. I’d never done anything like it before in my life. So it wasn’t until much, much later that I discovered the message he was trying to tell in the video and then looking at the video afterwards I could see that that message was actually quite clear’, said Ms. Ching who inspired the song and was working with David Bowie.
The video was recorded in China Town in central Sydney. On the cover of the single we see a picture of David Bowie and Geeling Ching. The Chinese woman puts her finger in front of her mouth, like she wanted to say “psst” or “hush”. Their regard expresses a kind of complicity, which suggests that they are in a confidential relationship. Can you keep a secret?
2. Seven Years in Tibet
“So much of what first appealed to me about Buddhism has stayed with me. The idea of transience, and that there is nothing to hold onto pragmatically, that we do at some point or another have to let go of that which we consider most dear to us, because it’s a very short life.”
-Bowie, interview, Daily Telegraph, December 1996.
“The subtext of the song is really some of the desperation and agony felt by young Tibetans who have had their families killed and themselves have been reduced to mere ciphers in their own country.”
The lyric was a death mumble. A monk bleeds out in the snow, watches the sky fade, gets off a last prayer.
1. Space Oddity
The song tells the story of a young astronaut, Major Tom, in a dialogue form between ground control and astronaut.
The lift-off unfolds to perfection (“you’ve really made the grade”), but after his spacewalk, Major Tom seems to face a technical problem (“your circuit’s dead there’s something wrong”) and resolved to his fate, that of wandering in space, aboard his vessel, towards a certain end (“I think my spaceship knows which way to go” ) and then we guess that the connection is cut between the control center and the astronaut (“Can you hear me, Major Tom?”).
David Bowie drew attention to himself again two years ago with the album “The Next Day” after 10 years of silence. Perhaps his most dedicated fans neither did not think that one of the most exciting period of the artist’s ever-renewable career has began, and that it will not stop.
However, the Blackstar in 2016 managed to surpass even this achievement. Unfortunately, the musician could not enjoy the success of this album. He meant it for his 69th birthday and he succeeded to fulfill this plan, because he died two days after his birthday. The album’s songs refer in many cases to passing. Rest In Peace, prince of the stars! We will miss you.
We hope you enjoyed this article. We decided to make a series of some of the greatest performers in the music industry, so you can also read about David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, Nick Cave, Prince, Donovan or even Bob Marley. Have a good time!