Monday, January 18, 2016

David Bowie: Lazarus

Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I'm in danger
I've got nothing left to lose
I'm so high, it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below
Ain't that just like me?

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know I'll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now, ain't that just like me?

Oh, I'll be free

According to Bowie's producer Tony Visconti, the lyrics and video of Lazarus and other songs on the album were intended to be a self-epitaph, a commentary on Bowie's own impending death.

Like so many others, the news of David Bowie's death took the the wind out of my sails.

At first I thought it was a hoax, or a very distasteful public relations stunt to promote his latest released Album, Blackstar. The details were just too coincidental to Lemmy Kilmister's death, who we had just laid to rest on Saturday, January 9, 2016.

Let's review those coincidences:
  • Lemmy had performed his performance December 11, 2015
  • Lemmy celebrated his 70th birthday on December 24, 2015
  • Lemmy died from an aggressive cancer on December 28, 2015
  • David Bowie Just released his album, Blackstar
  • David Bowie celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8, 2016
  • David Bowie died from liver cancer on January 10, 2016

Unfortunately, it was not a hoax nor a distasteful PR stunt. The world has lost David Bowie. He gave us so many great and wonderful musical gifts.

David Robert Jones, known as David Bowie, was an English singer, songwriter, record producer, painter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, and was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s.

Born and raised in south London, Bowie developed an interest in music while at school, where he excelled at playing the recorder. When he left school he studied art, music and design, and became proficient on the saxophone, forming his first band that year at the age of 15. He embarked on a professional career as a musician in 1963, and received his first management contract shortly afterwards. "Space Oddity" became his first top five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by his single "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved to be one facet of a career marked by reinvention, musical innovation and visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the album Young Americans, which the singer characterized as "plastic soul". The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the electronic-inflected album Low (1977), the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno later known as the "Berlin Trilogy". "Heroes" (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and "Under Pressure", a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let's Dance, which yielded several successful singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. Bowie also had a successful but sporadic film career. His acting roles include the eponymous character in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Major Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), the Goblin King Jareth in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos.

Bowie's impact was enormous; he changed the nature of rock music, and changed his own approach repeatedly. During his career, he sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and in the US received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Bowie stopped concert touring after 2004, and last performed live at a charity event in 2006. In 2013, he returned from a decade-long recording hiatus, remaining musically active until his death from liver cancer three years later.

As a cancer survivor, the lyrics to this particular song hits me emotionally.

What does tomorrow bring?

Tune in to find out! 

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