(No images, video or music with this post because I don’t know about copyright on his work, also you should be able to find plenty online if you are interested.)
The first David Bowie experience I remember was the release of “Let’s Dance.” This R&B tinged, bass-thumping, infectious pop single from the album of the same name, was on heavy rotation in the room that I shared with my older sister.
I’m not saying that I had never heard Bowie before this, but like many older musicians when one is young, there is a time when an artist or musician invades ones reality, and this was it. The entire album was part of the soundtrack of my 1980s life! “Modern Love,” and “China Girl”…Mmmm, so good!
Flash forward to 1990, and I was in my first year of college—a college I soon left because I couldn’t afford it. Through a series of odd events I ended up spending the night at this redheaded, freckle-faced androgynous, passionate kid’s apartment between Lake View and Buena Park. When we woke up, he wanted to play some David Bowie for me. And I thought “Great!” Thinking of my close attachment to the “Let’s Dance” album. But this Bowie, this Bowie I didn’t know. I had never met this guy—this person? He looked like an alien and called himself, his band Ziggy Stardust. Of course there was “Life on Mars,” which I heard often while growing up (it was released in 1971, the year I was born.) And I still love this song. There are many other singles from that time, but none resonated with me as much as much as the entire “Let’s Dance” album. I think this has to do with coming of age. Coming into reality. Coming into dreams. Everyone has that part of life.
The following years were, and continue to be, filled with classic Bowie singles: “Heroes,” “Under Pressure,” and “Fame.”
In December of 2014, I had the pleasure and the luck of seeing the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago. I took my 11 year-old niece who I am certain did not appreciate it as much as I did, ha! But I got to share a glimpse into a master artist’s life’s work with her. We walked through the decades to a Bowie soundtrack; packed full of costumes, doodles, albums, and other precious artifacts (a giant Kimono.)
One area: a dead end into a small studio recording room with black, soundproof insulation on the walls. We were then drawn into a mini movie theater where Bowie’s film roles flashed on the screen. We hung out in this room, as there was so much to process that it was nice to take a brief time out before walking into the 21st century.
There was a giant room with concert footage projected onto the walls, which were constructed of see through screens; when one projection ended you could see through the screens to Bowie’s performance costumes on Bowie-quins.
There was so much more. But here we are.