Bowie, David Bowie. Who else?
Because of the era I lived through as an adolescent, a much younger soul will sometimes ask if I went to Woodstock. I wore the clothes, listened to some of the music, memorized favorites songs and yearned to own a VW bug or van when the time came. But no, Woodstock and that whole scene is in my memory bank only because it made the nightly news.
Multi- media wizards were grooming me to become a consumer, and the Columbia Records music supplement in the weekend paper comes to mind. Remember that? It ushered me into the marketplace.
David Bowie’s musical career overlapped with that marketing tool, I guess, but I never searched row after row of genres and titles looking for his music. I didn’t get him. I didn’t get his music. Neil Diamond appealed to me more. There, I am pegged.
Ziggy Stardust and the Spider Monkeys? I don’t recall even hearing about them. So I am a traitor to my fellow baby boomers who are music aficionados. But I DID know “Ground Control to Major Tom.” I couldn’t help it. It was on the radio all…the…time. The guitar at the beginning, loved it. The harmony I could hear during parts of the song, loved it. The message of the lyrics, the melody in spots, did not love it. I thought it eerie, and it sent my mind on a what-if journey it didn’t want to go on, every single time I heard it.
Monday, however, I had in my hands the only two Blackstar cd’s available in that store. Bowie’s latest and last release appeared January 8, just two days before his death. I hosted a mental debate. Is this really any good? Would my aficionados appreciate having one? Or is it too far out for them now? Have they outgrown Bowie? So I put them back on the shelf, only to return first thing next day to see if they were still there. No.
In one short day I became a fan, of the man and his music, his artistry, his insights, his brilliance, his compassion. Reading about him and listening to former interviews changed my perspective completely. I get it now. Three cd’s are on order – two for the music geeks and one for me.
This was written for my Close to Home column in The Prospect-News, the local weekly in Doniphan, MO. It appeared shortly following David Bowie’s death on January 10, 2016.