The first call I got, shortly after I read the news of David Bowie’s shock departure was from my 19 year old daughter Clare wanting to tell how much it meant to her. I think it says so much about the brilliance of that particular generation of artists that our great heroes have also become our children’s.
Just some random thoughts I’ve had during the day:
How did he do it? Kept the last album but one pretty much a secret until it’s release, and now this- such an enigma! And that voice- ridiculously versatile, effortlessly perfect yet always uniquely his. Nobody ever soared like David Bowie did- As an example I couldn’t go past Heroes from his second live album ‘Stage’.
I remember playing ‘Suffragette City’ from Ziggy Stardust incredibly badly at a high school music concert back in about ’77. I’d piggy-backed two atrocious cheap transistor guitar amps together and turned them both up to 11… Mums, dads and kids in the front rows all had their hands over their ears…
We used to play ‘Golden Years’ in the Naturals, and I still think our version was pretty good. Somewhere floating around is a very decent live recording of it from early 1985, Dee Why Hotel in Sydney. I wonder where?
No great composer in history, from Beethoven to Bowie or for that matter Boulez, ever didn’t look back on at least some of their work and ponder “that was crap, what was I thinking?” It comes with the territory when you take risks and if you don’t, your work will never be great. Haven’t heard much of Black Star yet, but looking forward to getting better acquainted.
Don’t be afraid even now to be critical. I think the great man would have wanted people to express a diversity of opinion. I guarantee he had no reason to be insecure about the occasional negative review. The Guardian obituary has the perfect balance, because despite the occasional misfire, the full package was what counts and that was as perfect the life of an artist as you could ever imagine.