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David Bowie: In Your Own Words

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The news of David Bowie’s passing has provoked a global outpouring of grief, personal memories, and celebration of his kaleidoscopic life and career. We’ve been very moved by the wonderful array of tributes SDE readers from around the world have posted on the site and on our Facebook page. Here’s just a small selection…

Bowie live

‘I only saw Bowie live once in 2003 at the Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood. There were whispers at the time that he no longer played the old favorites (this was before people posted set lists on the internet). He came on with a ripping version of Rebel Rebel.’

Steven


‘I was lucky enough to see him play live three times. The best show was at The Benedum in Pittsburgh for the A Reality Tour. It is a grand old theatre. Between the intimacy of the venue and the performance of Bowie and band, I consider it the best concert of my life. I went down to the floor towards the end of the show. I was 15 feet away from Bowie for the final song Ziggy Stardust. I will never forget that night.’

David Berexa


‘Saw him in Niagara Falls, NY in 1990 for the Sound + Vision tour. Played every hit you could want (except Changes) that night and the band was spot on.’

Chris


‘So glad I saw him on his final tour – that voice was extraordinary. A genuine legend.’

Gavin



‘Saw him on 4 occasions – Manchester Move Festival in 2002, St. Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in 2002, then twice on the Reality Tour in 2004 (Austin and Kansas City) All four times were extremely memorable in their own way. Just after Suede finished their set at the Move Festival the clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the Thin White Duke captivated the audience with an amazing set.’

Steven Bonds


‘Best gig of my life was Bowie at Glasgow Barrowlands, touring Earthling. He might be know for artistry and experimentation but he could fucking rock when he wanted to too.’

Derek T


Bowie for life

‘Bought my first Bowie record (and my first record ever) back in 1987 aged 12. Bought my 350th Bowie record last Friday. I’ll miss him.’

Motte


‘My mam and dad bought me a tape recorder for Christmas 1972 and I remember taping Bowie singing Jean Genie on Top of the Pops (4th January 1973). Still have the cassette 43 years later, although only the end of Jean Genie is still audible.’

Kevin Farrow



‘My hero. I had a Ziggy poster on my bedroom wall back in 1972 and I still have a signed and framed Reality tour poster on my office wall today.’

John Murray


‘Even though I wasn’t always into him 24/7, he was only artist I would always come back to and rediscover.’

baward


‘Myself and my family went to the V&A for the David Bowie is exhibition. Absolutely stunning and my three boys, at the time aged seven, 14 and 15 were enthralled. At the end I found myself overwhelmed and almost in tears.

Today those tears flowed. And telling my nine-year-old son that David Bowie had died is the hardest thing I have had to do in his young life.

Rest in peace, Starman.’

William


‘I have loved his music for over 40 years now. My favourite album is Hunky Dory which I kind of got into via Peter Noone’s version of Oh You Pretty Things (I know, I know – but at least DB put a pic of himself in front of a billboard for that version on the inlay for the 1990 EMI CD). Love Kooks – exactly the song I would have loved to write for my boy. Life on Mars – my mum taking issue with the use of the word ‘writ’. Every track is so creative and musical – wordplay, arrangements, vocals, instrumentation.

From great pop to soul to rock to really experimental music, he sent me off exploring every genre of music.’

Alastair


‘The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Jean Genie, Ziggy, Major Tom… the guy kept reinventing himself and was often way ahead of his time. He was a great star, never mind a Blackstar. I have all of his music on repeat most days while working. He’s going to be sorely missed by three generations, never mind one.’

Liam Bastick


Meeting Bowie

‘I was lucky enough to meet him briefly once. It was during a signing session for Heathen in HMV Oxford Street. As we may know he often incorporated the year into his signature (in this case 2002 or just ‘02’).

Anyway as he was signing my CD his hand stopped midway through the signature as he stopped to ask what year it was, the kind of dozy thing we are all capable of.

I replied, “Don’t worry, people often get nervous meeting me,” to which he laughed.

A shake of his hand and seconds later I was gone. Still remember it like yesterday.

Today still doesn’t feel real.’

tonysp


‘I met him in 1983 here [in Singapore] and I must say that he’s one of the nicest people/celebrites I’ve met. Very friendly and super nice!’

Joei Tan


‘I got lucky to see him six times, always in Berlin. On 21st April 1976 I went to my very first rock concert … The Thin White Duke at the Deutschlandhalle Berlin (which doesn’t exist anymore). I got more lucky to meet him one night in the Seventies in Berlin, at a bar called… BOWIE.’

Jürgen


Chameleon Bowie

‘For me David Bowie always had an incredible knack to determine what many artists were going to end up sounding like. He was an artist that transcended many genres. Sonically he was wizard too, many of his albums were an exercise in listening.’

Jason


‘Like Dylan, he was never afraid to go in the musical direction he wanted to, as opposed to satisfying what the masses wanted spoon-fed to them.’

Sylent Syd


Unforgettable Bowie

‘My dentist is in that same house here in Berlin/Hauptstr. where he once lived and it was so crowded today, flowers everywhere. I hope we have a statue one day, maybe in front of the Hansa Studios?’

Jens


‘When my sons ask me what does the tag “artist” mean, I’ll show them his picture.

Chris


‘With Lemmy and Bowie going within a fortnight of each other, I’m realising that my heroes are all too mortal, but that their legacies will live forever.’

Fettdog


‘Words, typed or spoken sometimes help, sometimes don’t. Whichever, whatever, what is unquestionable is the beauty of the music you gifted us.

Sleep well Dame, I will miss you every day of whatever time I might have left.’

Alan


‘It rises to the level of a personal loss.

Bowie was masterful.’

Dean


His music has never abandoned me always giving me inspirations and emotions and will continue doing so. He will always be near me.

Mario


‘I don’t think Bowie would have wanted people to be sad on his passing, but to more than ever enjoy and celebrate his magnificent work. Let all the children boogie.’

Dale 


Bowie Favourites

Kooks is perhaps my favorite song, of all time, a tune good enough to bring a smile and a tear to the eye.’

Scott


‘Best album? How can you choose?! Ziggy, Hunky Dory, Aladdin, the Berlin Trilogy, Diamond Dogs, Let’s Dance, Outside, Heathen, Reality… I literally don’t know of any other artist with such a amazing canon of work.’

Tim


‘Favourite album? So many to choose from but I keep coming back to the melody, wit and invention of Hunky Dory. On a desperately sad day like today, I know playing it will make me smile.’

Phil


‘Listened to it [Blackstar] Friday and Sunday and after the second time I said to my wife that’s one of his best albums. Seems to have taken on a different meaning today.

Ken



‘I met one of my favorite musicians in 2002 and we were talking about Bowie. She said that Absolute Beginners was her favorite Bowie song and, being surprised by her answer, I kind of laughed. Immediately I said that’s nothing to laugh at because my favorite Bowie stuff (and I like pretty much everything he’s done) is the Tin Machine period. I also said that I figured that would maybe make her laugh, even though it was true. She turned towards me, looked me right in the eye with a serious look and said that she would never laugh at that, because Tin Machine was excellent.

“And isn’t Amazing one of the greatest songs he has ever recorded?”

“Yes… yes, it is.’

And I haven’t apologised to any Bowie fan for liking Tin Machine since.’

Frank


‘Favorite album is the magnificent Station To Station. Only six tracks but dark, brooding and utterly compelling as Bowie tips his hat to his past whilst stepping out into an unknown future of the Berlin trilogy and beyond.’

Simon F


‘Favourite album? Easy. Man Who Sold The World. Remember taking it to school (dress cover) when it was cool to walk round with obscure albums under your arm.’

Marc


‘In the midst of the sad news, isn’t it heartening to see not only so many tributes on here, but also so many different favourite albums between them. That in itself speaks volumes about how creative talented he was.’

Gareth Pugh


Immortal Bowie

‘“Sons of the Silent Age…

They never die, they just go to sleep one day.”’

Horst


‘David ’n’ Marc jamming away now.’

Roy Cooper


‘I loved David to bits, his physical body might have expired but David Bowie will never die.’

Craig Hedges


We say goodbye to the ‘vessel’ that was David’s body. His soul and music will outlive us all (me, anyway). I feel honoured to have inhabited the same time and space as ‘the man who fell to Earth’… Go easy on your way, Starman…

Micky Clappers


‘“Fill your heart with love today …

Gentleness clears the soul,

Love clears the mind,

And makes it free.”

What joy he brought. Bowie = Immortal.

B_Magg44


* Quotations have been edited for grammar, brevity and clarity.

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30 responses to David Bowie: In Your Own Words

  1. Stanley Patel says:

    When I was 11 I bought Boys Keep Swinging single after seeing it on Kenny Everett show. Visually & musically it was too striking to ignore.

    In the same week I remember declaring to my Mum that I can’t wear flare trousers anymore!!

    That’s what I always adored about Bowie. He challenged you & made you think.

  2. fredpostman says:

    Swooning to ‘Sense Of Doubt’,why wasn’t ‘Stay’ a UK single,blimey ‘Outside’ is hard going [years later one of my faves],what’s he doing at Freddies memorial concert,Russell do you think he’s stoned,Fred your names in Bowie’s new [old]single,Fred on the news it says that Bowie’ dead……

  3. Jorje says:

    Bowie has been my favorite artist for more than 30 years. But as a cancer survivor, I am not sad to hear of his death. Instead, I am happy to hear that his suffering is over. He is now at peace, and we have his music and the memories to fortify us. Long live David Bowie.

  4. Phil says:

    So many albums were blueprints for their genre and that’s what makes it hard to pick a favourite. I keep coming back to Ziggy but I love re-examining every nook and cranny of songs from all eras because there is always something new to discover. Honourable mentions to the later albums because I think some were overlooked.

  5. eric says:

    I will miss his wonderful smile !!!
    He is gone on a fantastic voyage (Lodger…).
    Rest In Peace, beautiful man.

  6. Joei Tan says:

    Oh, I still can’t accept the fact that Bowie’s gone! His image keeps recurring in my mind and thoughts. He’s the ultimate lyricist of our times.’Life’s jumped the queue to be first in line, what a shameful desire’. No-one could have written such poetic beauty but Bowie! My 3 favourite songs by Bowie are – Candidate, Fantastic Voyage, Queen Bitch.
    When he was in Singapore in 1983, he did an impromptu gig at a small
    club here and he surprised the fans. Bowie is the ultimate Rock Star!
    We will miss him! Bowie – Rest in Peace and May you find Peace in the
    other World! Thank You for all the Great Music that you have created
    for all us!

  7. Gary says:

    Thing is if it was just about the music that would be fair enough, but he meant much more than that to most I think. He made it okay to be different, with his weird eye and way out clothes. He dressed like a woman, then he dressed like the most stylish man on earth before going on to have that awful peroxide 80s hair. He was bisexual, he was married, then he was straight. It didn’t matter, if he did it then you could too.

    My dad always used to say he was a chameleon, but he was the opposite of that, he always stood out. I liked that he went for it, followed his own nose, wasn’t scared to be laughed at. He made so many bad moves but because he wasn’t predictable you always looked forward to whatever he was up to.
    The flirtation with fascism, Never Let Me Down, the Lord’s prayer at the Freddie tribute concert and so many more cringeworthy moments, who else could get away with those and still be thought of as a serious artist?

    We all know he’s only dead physically, he’ll live on through his music and our memories of him.

  8. Tim says:

    He was a miracle in all our lives

  9. elliott buckingham says:

    always found bowie very hit or miss either exceptionally brilliant or just plain awful

  10. baward says:

    When the time comes, I wonder what goodies Iman (or whoever will be administering his archive – Paul perhaps?!) will have in store for us? And will the more obscure tracks on ★ be further explained?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Bless you for even mentioning my name in reference to Bowie’s archive… that would be a dream :) But it is an interesting question. I was chatting to someone about this yesterday. Remember when Stanley Kubrick was alive he refused to allow “A Clockwork Orange” to be issued in the UK on VHS/DVD or to be shown anywhere in Britain theatrically (after the original run, of course). But when he died it was released fairly quickly afterwards. So his estate took a less draconian view than he did. It could be possible that David’s estate may be more relaxed about his archives than he was.

      • Catweazle says:

        Could be, Paul, or could be not. I was thinking about what Brian May and Roger Taylor have given us in the 24 years since Freddie’s passing. Not much of real value in my opinion apart from ‘Made in Heaven’ and ‘Live at the Rainbow’. They promised us box sets with unreleased stuff many years ago, alas nothing so far – though there must be loads of demos, outtakes and unreleased stuff in their vaults. Pity.

  11. Tim Barton says:

    It hit me like a ton of bricks. It still feels unreal, yet perhaps there was something so unique about Bowie, that my feeling upon hearing of his passing should be just like that.

    I remember hearing Space Oddity and completely being blown away. I’d hold my transistor radio to my ear, I could not have been very old, and the radio was a Christmas gift, and just try to understand what I was hearing.

    It was only years later when it dawned on me that I was hearing the present, past, and future all bound up in one of the greatest songs ever written.

    That was Bowie for you. Only the Beatles came close.

  12. Jamil Ahmad says:

    David Bowie (The Star Artist) 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016
    May the All-Compassionate rest his dear soul. Amin. And may Peace and Blessings be upon Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, and children Duncan Jones and Alexandria Zahra Jones. Amin

    It is like a member of my family has died… shock… numbness… tears… it is so sad, so sad. He was such a Brilliant and fascinating man who seemed to love and live life to the full… his originality was his diversity, he went beyond the norm of musical boundaries with intelligent creativity… a very special and unique star… and I have to say, he always smiled and that smile lit up my heart and a million hearts too. Amin

  13. CHDX says:

    Can’t pick up a song or an album, there seems to always be a different one to go with the mood…

    Anyways, I just had to love the guy: “Let’s Dance” came out during my teenage years and the Ryko editions in 1990, the year when I got my first job, first flat.

    And so for almost a year, I got to discover Bowie by buying 2 albums per month (with bonus tracks, nice booklets), diving into his gigantic catalogue and not knowing what to expect next, left scratching my head by the leap from “Space Oddity” to “The man who sold the world” from the first batch, the one from “Hunky Dory” to “Ziggy Stardust” from the second, crushed by “Lady grinning Soul”…

    Caught him saying “Goodbye” the same year with the “Sound+Vision” tour, and then twice in 1996, the first concert still heavy on the “Outside” tracks, the second loaded with the “Earthling” to come…

    How spoiled I have been…

  14. Robert says:

    I became aware of Bowie when I was a very young teen. I remember seeing him on television and thinking “how weird” he was, but in a good way. In the early 1980’s I picked up several of his 45’s and was surprised at how many of the songs I had heard before without knowing who he was. In high school I didn’t fit in and Bowie showed me that it was ok to be different and not fit in.

  15. OMAR says:

    Bowie was the inspiration of brit-pop, glam rock and new wave. Without him the music landscape would’ve been completely different .

  16. I wrote a piece for my blog about David and his impact on me and my reaction to his passing, if anyone cares to have a read…

    http://www.failedmuso.com/blog/david-bowie-has-killed-himself-again/

  17. england says:

    (now, I may have seen this somewhere before but I think this sums Bowie up completely…
    “don’t be sad for what happened, be glad that it happened at all”

  18. Kris. Perth Australia says:

    I still remember as if it were yesterday the shock of disbelief when after rushing home with my latest purchase, Low, I put it on the turntable and was stunned at the music I heard (and that was before I had got to Side 2!). My musical hero…what had you done? At first I was so confused and disappointed…Guess what I played first yesterday…Low…(an apt description on how I feel)…his masterpiece! Other albums followed including other faves like Lodger (so underrated), Young Americans, The Next Day and my guilty pleasure ‘David Live’, but in the quietness of the evening when reflecting on the genius of the man it was Low I returned to to remember the man who along with ‘Lou’ was/are the soundtrack to my life. R.I.P. David (and Lou).

  19. Keith Wright says:

    I saw Bowie at the Meltdown festival he performed tracks from LOW I recorded the whole concert it was fantastic.
    I will try to find and post.

  20. Daniel says:

    They say that David Bowie is dead. That’s so wrong. David Robert Haywood Jones is dead (and that is so sad for all of us, especially for Lexi, Duncan and Iman). David Bowie on the other hand will NEVER die. I’m 53 years old. I’ve listened to him and learned from him for over 40 years now. I’m from Sweden so with ABBA I say “THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC”! But also: My sincere THANKS for inspiring me to start listen to soul and funk (Young Americans) Krautrock (Low and Heroes). Thanks for Lou, Iggy and the Velvets. Thanks for Burroughs and Genet. Thanks for Andy (and from there: modern art in general). Thanks for the Brücke Museum. Thanks for letting the square kid way back in high school know that “Oh No Love, You’re Not Alone”. My list could go on, but I’ll stop here. One thing though: Don’t You ever think that Bowie is dead. A 100 years from now som kid will alway’s find Ziggy and it will change his life for ever. A 1oo years from now some kid will be inspired to create something new after listening to the drums on Low. This list could go on, of course, but I’ll stop here, still with a tear in my eye.

  21. Tino Stabile says:

    I have been at a loss to comprehend this premature passing of the legend that is David Bowie. He has moved me from when I was young. Every album is unique in its way and his reinvention at every turn made one appreciate this artist more and more. Not since Elvis and Lennon has such an icon passed where you remember where you were and all the wonderful memories that his music and concerts have left you with. Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars will always be his magnum opus.
    Aladdin Sane as well as Diamond Dogs will always be great works. Station to Station and his Berlin Trilogy hold a special place as well. His passing will no doubt leave a void that will never be filled because he was just that monumental. All his music be it soundtrack music or proper albums as well as his influence in film, theatre and fashion will also carry a large void as well.
    RIP David. There will definitely not be another one like you in this lifetime and in this universe.

  22. baward says:

    Agreed Tino. Of ‘pop/rock’ artists, only really Joni Mitchell has such an astonishing run of creativity in the 1970’s as DB did, I think. I am SO fortunate to have been born at the right time and experience Bowie et al as they released their future classics.

  23. Tony Pye says:

    Hears Ziggy in 72 and was hooked. First saw him at the Hardrock in Stretford Manchester and had to wait another 15 plus year before I saw him again. Genius, give but forgotten

  24. William M says:

    It’s not getting any easier, it’s almost unreal..surreal. Bowie has been with me from child, boy, teenager, Man…Old Man, His song punctuating my life and memories as I meandered along life’s path. It never crossed my mind that I would live in a world without him. Never crossed my mind that David Bowie might die. He was other worldly, immortal, a being not of this earth…our true Starman.

    You look at his back catalogue, try to choose favourites but the list just grows and grows, so many songs, so many classics, all from the genius of one mans mind…and what a beautiful mind it was.

    My first dalliance with Bowie was as a 5-6 year old and the laughing gnome, I was in a world of Michael Bentine’s Potty Time, The Wombles, Paddington Bear, Bagpuss. Soon after I discovered Diamond DOgs, My uncle showed me the cover, this and Aladdin Sane and I was intrigued. I didn’t progress beyond that artwork for a while but I bought those albums for myself, 1st on Cassette and I listened to Diamond DOgs relentlessly in particular on a nightly basis in my bed, Only swapping it from time to time to listen to my 1+1 copy of U2’s War on cassette, But Bowie I was obsessed by, the characters, the stories, the lyrics, the look, the swagger, the intrigue. It never left me, I fell in love with the music and over time amassed his back catalogue and submerged myself in it. It maps out special moments and times in my life, I can relate a memory to one of his songs.

    I also remember boring people by waxing lyrical about the construction of his songs and the genius behind that construction, ‘Let’s Dance’ was a song I would rave about, the different instruments, the way it was laid out…. it’s a classic, it’s just a wonderful piece of music and songwriting.

    Waking up to a world without Bowie was a horrible dawning, a denial buried the realisation, i avoided the news, social media, newspapers but the world was talking and it was unavoidable. My heart lies heavy, broken, i never met him other than seeing him on stage, but i felt like i knew him, like i grew up with him. He was like family, like the best friend/confident i ever had. Before January 8, 1947 should now be referred to as ‘Before Bowie’ anything after January 10th 2016 is now ‘After Bowie’ no more AD or BC rubbish.

    I am going to miss him, i still cannot accept he is no longer with us, the world is an emptier place without him and music in general will be poorer without the master chameleon pushing boundaries and taking risks other musicians never had the balls to do.

    I said elsewhere that we just lost the rock the foundation of our music was based on and i would also like to add that Bowie was often criticized for going down new paths musically but when the world caught up they appreciated what he had made, he was ahead of his time and sadly he has left us well before his time.

    R.I.P David and thank you for all you gave us xx

  25. Phyll says:

    I first saw Bowie on TOTPs performing ‘Starman’ at the age of eight, and was captivated by his camp, dazzling persona which became the norm for rock stars of the 70s. I saw him in the 80s at Sunderland on the Glass Spider tour and, while the crowd were somewhat confused by the spectacle, which was a major influence on the stadium/arena style concert, I thought it was amazing. I saw him again at Phoenix Festival in ’97 and he was incredible. I wished to see him again after the amazing album that was ‘Next Day’, but sadly that was not to be. ‘Blackstar’ is an incredible, innovative, album and we will never see an artist like him again producing such diverse work. RIP Bowie…

  26. Johnny Feathers says:

    I’d posted my thoughts elsewhere, but wanted to include them here:

    Discovering Bowie was like discovering the DNA of popular music. It started for me with U2 recording in Berlin, and hearing these rumors of Bowie’s work with Eno in Berlin in the 70’s. Trent Reznor would also famously talk up Low when discussing the Downward Spiral. When I finally picked up Low some time later–I’d gotten his ChangesBowie album before then, at least–it was like hearing the sonic template for U2’s album. (I’m convinced that Zoo Station works as a modern update of Speed of Life. It’s the drums.) I discovered and heard Ziggy Stardust around the same time as Low, and loved it, too. When I picked up Outside, his then-latest album, he was being accused of chasing trends. And maybe he was taking a cue for NIN at the time, but his inclusion of Mike Garson on that album was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Who combines industrial with jazz? (As for chasing trends, NIN would go on to include Garson on the Fragile, so…) At any rate, Low and Outside sealed it for me, and I became a rather rabid fan, gobbling up his 70’s work while keeping up with his current output. I’m lucky enough to have seen him three times: once with NIN, when I had little idea who he was (and a top contender for concert I most wish I could revisit now), once on the Area 2 tour promoting Heathen, when I learned that, if you’re Moby, you’re an idiot if you choose to follow David Bowie–I mean really, can you imagine even thinking this?–and finally on the Reality Tour.

    Not sure what else to say, but his passing has hit me more than what few artists I’ve “lost” over the years. This is, simply, a huge, huge loss.

  27. Marc G says:

    Even one week after the shocking news it’s still hard for me to find the right words. It may seem weird that you can miss someone so much that you’ve never even met but there are many out there who feel the same way. His achievements are unprecedented and there will never be another one like him.
    Thanks so very much for all that you gave us.

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