Monday 11 January 2016

David Bowie 1947 - 2016

Like many people today, I took the news of David Bowie's death with a feeling of almost disbelief.

How could David Bowie be dead. He's always just been there. He's one of the biggest and most iconic names in Pop and Rock music. Many of his records form part of the soundtrack to my childhood. I couldn't believe it.

Only yesterday I was reading a feature in the Sunday Times about how he brought Soho life to suburban South London before he became famous. I thought great, I always like reading about David Bowie.

When I turned the TV on this morning to watch BBC news, I was surprised at how emotional I started to feel about his death as the report looked back on his career. There are so many of his records that I've grown up listening to.

When it comes to British Pop and Rock music David Bowie is without question one of the most important and influential artists this country has produced. He is a music and cultural icon and you can see this with the amount of coverage that his death has received.

This morning on my train journey to work I felt I had to listen to the Best of Bowie album which I bought a number of years ago.

I first became aware of Bowie as a child growing up in the 80s. I always loved his 1983 hit Lets Dance which was number 1 for weeks. During the 80s I simply viewed David Bowie as a major pop star, it was only as I got older and started discovering his work from the 1970s that I began to understand his influence on British music.

I've just been flicking through a book I read over 10 years ago called Black Vinyl White Powder by Simon Napier-Bell. It's a history of British music. While reading the book, I realised that if the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were the two most influential bands of the 1960s then the 70s were Bowie's decade.

I'm not going to sit here and write about how David Bowie changed my life - he didn't. I'm just a huge and passionate music fan, I love all kinds of music; different bands, singers and genres. When it comes to pop music I love many of his records from the 70s and 80s.

But more than just the music, David Bowie is/was a real artist in the truest sense. A singer, songwriter, performer, actor. Flicking through the autobiography from Nile Rogers who produced his biggest selling album Lets Dance, he described Bowie as the Picasso of Rock and Roll.

What I think really appeals to me about David Bowie is the skill and desire to constantly experiment and reinvent himself in terms of his music and his image and also to draw upon so many different influences from music, theatre, art, film, and literature.

One of the things I love about the UK is that in terms of popular culture and particularly music we punch above our weight. Our influence around the world has been huge. There are so many iconic bands from the 60s and 70s that are revered. From the Beatles, the Stones, The Kinks, Pink Floyd etc.

David Bowie was the one iconic artist to emerge from that era that I've always loved and listened to and that's why he'll be missed by me.