David Bowie, Rock Visionary

“Life on Mars” and “Ashes to Ashes” on The Tonight Show, 1980

What’s there for me to add to the millions of tributes to David Bowie? Perhaps just my own personal reflections. That I first learned of him in the fall of 1972 from a freshman staffer of The Triadelphian, my high school newspaper in Wheeling, WV. He was heading to a Bowie concert in Pittsburgh. I relied on local Top 40 station WKWK for my new music, and Bowie was, I’m sure, too “out there” to make their playlist.

“China Girl” Video

A year later, as a freshman at WVU, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was a staple of our dorm room playlist–at least in my friends’ rooms. For those of us who had not been captains of the high school football team, Bowie presented the possibility of being both different and cool.

“Lazarus” Video

It was fascinating to follow Bowie (January 8, 1947-January 10, 2016) through the decades and see him anticipate the direction of modern music. Over the past week, I heard a satellite radio DJ encourage his audience to listen to Blackstar. As he said, like so many Bowie records, you may not like it on the first listen, but five years from now it will be among your favorites.


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