I’m writing this post late today because I am absolutely floored by the passing of David Bowie. I can promise you right now: this post will not be unique, especially not today. I know that the world and the internet is abuzz with words, thoughts, and feelings all revolving around the passing of this true rock and roll legend. And yet… I can’t keep quiet.
I recall days spent with my mom, putting on first records, then tapes, then cds and rocking out. Jumping from couch to chair and back again, dancing around the living room (cliché alert) like no one was watching. When I was totally pooped from dancing my fanny off, I remember crashing down onto the couch out of breath and studying the artwork on all of Bowie’s albums. Aladdin Sane was a clear favorite, but I was always struck by how bold, graphic, and totally unique each album’s art was. I poured over each album cover like it would contain secrets to something I didn’t even know existed. And the sounds he produced… I don’t even know where to start. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars spoke the most to me as a kid; I’d just never heard anything like that before in my life.
David Bowie taught me to be weird. In grade school, I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t a dork either. I was somewhere in between, which almost feels a bit more like no man’s land than anything else. I’d go home and pop on some Bowie and he was just so weird and so cool because of that. It gave me hope.
Then there’s David Bowie’s creative influence. The man had a vision and he stuck to it. In my mind, the man was a creative force with his own style that no one could ever possibly touch. As I got older and was in design school, I rediscovered David Bowie thanks to The Life Aquatic. I can’t even tell you how many hours of my life were spent in the woodshop with that soundtrack on loop in my earbuds. If ever there was a soundtrack to my own personal creative development, it would be that album. Funny how that works, huh? And now that he’s passed and left us a beautiful farewell album, my heart feels heavy. Seriously, take some time to pour a drink and give Black Star a listen. It’s like he has written a goodbye note to us all and that thought on it’s own is so entirely amazing.
So today I’m pausing to remember not only a public legend, but a personal hero. I’m immersing myself in every David Bowie record I have and when those run out, I’ve made a playlist on Spotify. If your heart is heavy today at the passing of rock and roll’s biggest free spirit, give this a listen:
Goodbye, David Bowie, and thank you for teaching me it’s ok to be weird.