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On the 10th of January 2016, the entire entertainment industry lost David Robert Jones popularly known as David Bowie. This was after an 18-month battle with liver cancer that was bravely borne.
How do we even begin to remember such a person? David was once quoted saying, “Make the best of every moment. We aren’t evolving. We aren’t going anywhere”.
True to the aforementioned words, David was more than a musician who lived life to its fullest. He was an actor, instrumentalist, painter, record producer, singer and songwriter – he was an icon of the entertainment industry. Apart from that, David was a luminary who not inspired others but was also a trend-setter in entertainment.
During the 70s (the most crucial decade in his career) David’s forward-thinking approach to musical presentation, sexual identity, and celebrity image sparked many a-hot-button topic controversy on issues that obsess our current culture. If you think about it, today’s social media environment has allowed us: to create alter-egos of ourselves almost at will; to increasingly view gender as fluid, etc.
The aforementioned capabilities of social media have in one way or another seeds sown by Bowie’s constantly evolving and multi-faceted characters during the 70s. When you think of “The Thin White Duke”, “Ziggy Stardust” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, they have one thing in common: they reject the notion of a single-fixed self. That is what David Bowie’s life was about.
During his lively career, Bowie produced 25 studio albums (including his latest “Blackstar” released 2 days prior to his death) and 140 million albums sold since his first release in 1965. His impact on pop and rock is both pioneering and unique. Just as one changes clothes, Bowie ventured through a plethora of musical styles.
His innovations in German industrial music, glam rock, art pop, etc ensured that he amassed an impressive discography of classic albums. Apart from that, he worked with famous musicians including John Lennon, Tina Turner, Queen, etc. Musically speaking he is best known for: “Let’s Dance”, “Space Oddity”, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars” and “Young Americans”. Bowie’s uncanny ability to reach-out to all demographics over his career is what makes him legendary.
There is a lot to say about David Bowie and much more to glean from his life. The question that begs asking is “What influence will you impart on those you will surely leave behind one day?” Each new day in your life should be taken as a blank page on which the story of your life is written. Whether it is through activism, music, art, sport, fashion, etc we all have a chance to build a legacy and leave it behind for our posterity.
While none of us will ever be like David Bowie, I’m sure each and every one of us can find a way of influencing people in such a manner that will leave an imprint in their lives. For me, it is all summed up best in this quote: “While I may not know my final destination, I can promise you that my journey there will not be boring.” (My own paraphrase of one of David Bowie’s quotes)