Bowie had, unknown to the media and the public at large, been battling with cancer for the past 18 months
world of music was left reeling this morning with the news that David
Bowie has died, just a couple of days after his 69th birthday. His
death comes after a hitherto undisclosed 18-month battle with cancer.
David Robert Jones in Brixton on 8 January 1947, he began his musical
career as the teenaged singer in 60s mod/R&B outfits The Konrads,
Davie Jones & The King Bees, The Manish Boys and David Bowie &
The Lower Third. For the latter band he changed his name to Bowie to
avoid confusion with Monkees singer Davy Jones, taking 'Bowie' from
the famous knife used by pioneers in the wild west, and this was the
name he would stick with when embarking on a solo career in the late
albums David Bowie, Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World and
Hunky Dory garnered him a loyal cult following and spawned several
hit singles, but his career really took off internationally with
1972's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From
Mars, which saw him at the very apex of the early 70s glam rock
movement. The albums Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups and Diamond Dogs saw him
pursuing a similar musical path, before on 1975's Young Americans he moved to a smoother, more soul- and funk-influenced sound, to which he
would add the synthesizers and 'motorik' rhythms of Krautrock on
1976's Station To Station.
move to Berlin in the late 70s saw him working with Brian Eno and
Tony Visconti to produce three of his most experimental and most critically acclaimed albums: Low, Heroes and Lodger, commonly
referred to as 'the Berlin trilogy'. But 1980 saw another change of
direction, as the synth-led Scary Monsters & Super Creeps helped
usher in the new romantic era. Lead single Ashes To Ashes also
featured a striking video (featuring a brief appearance by none other
than Steve Strange) that is widely regarded as an early high
watermark for the artform.
Let's Dance marked a move into more mainstream pop territory – this
period was the most commercially successful of his career, though
Bowie would later describe it as a low point artistically. So another
shift in direction was on the cards in the late 80s, as he formed the
rock band Tin Machine. He continued to experiment throughout the 90s,
notably with 1997's Earthling, which saw him dabbling in drum &
bass, and 1999's Hours, the first complete album by a mainstream
artist to be sold as a digital download.
2002's Reality he took a break from recording, but in 2013 he made a
triumphant return with The Next Day. That was followed in 2016 by
Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday just two days before his
death – an album that, even before the sad news broke, was already
being hailed by many critics as the best of his career.
from the world of dance music were quick to express their grief on
Twitter this morning, with everyone from Plastician and Doc Scott to Luke Solomon, Booka Shade and Hannah Holland paying tribute to him as an inspiration and influence.
musical landscape will truly be the poorer for his absence. RIP a
genuine legend of British music.
Tags: David Bowie