I can’t recall when I heard David Bowie for the first time. He was just always there.
But I do recall the first time I have seen him though. I have never been into music videos as much as I was into music. So my first visual contact with David was in the movie “The Labyrinth“.
I was home alone as usual, 14 years old, just entered rock music territory over German punk and I fell in love. Not with the character on screen, but with the voice, the expressions and the attitude and I started researching him as good I could.
Back then, I haven’t had access to the internet yet. I had to go through music shops and libraries to research David. Unfortunately, a small town in Germany was not really equipped to quench my thirst in knowledge. I had to wait till the internet was more of a thing .
But he made an impact on me and was also the first and only media person I aspired to try to get the same hair cut.
Ultimately I failed to make my hair as blond and fluffy as his wig in Labyrinth. After many tries to bleach and bleeding scalp from the chemicals, I settled for platinum Blond, short and apparently looked like Billy Idol to my schoolmates… I had never heard of Billy Idol then and frankly didn’t care what they thought I looked like. Later I figured Mr. Bowie had a similar haircut back in the 80’2 too, so I retrospective didn’t fail after all 😛
He also played a role in my last relationship. I can not think Bowie without thinking about Arnold too. Somehow Bowie blinded us from the beginning and though we had different favorites, he was on every single mixed tape (or use stick) that we played in the car on our extensive road trips. Hearing Bowie away from home, made me feel home anyway. Music does that. It connects, opened up old wounds, covers you like a warm blanket or takes you on a time travel trip and transforms you when it touches your deepest thoughts that you might have had but never been able to put words to….
Lots of my heroes died in the past few years, but with none, I felt so compelled to write something as with David Bowie. All of my heroes were special in some way or another, certainly unique. However Bowie seems to have been special in all sort of ways: He produced 25 studio Albums, he’s pointed at a new musical direction on nearly every album he’s released in his career, broke every rule in fashion, called out MTV in 1983 on their unfair policies even though he might have needed them, had six heart attacks and ended his life the same way he lived: haunting and artistic.
With 61 top 40 hits, he was always there in the background on one of the radio channels. His first top hit was ‘Space Oddity’ in September 1969; the most recent was ‘Where Are We Now’ in January 2013 and his last album just hit the nation and the chance is high that ‘Black Star’ or ‘Lazarus’ will hit the charts too. He sold estimated 140 million records worldwide, enough to make him one of the top 10 biggest-selling UK artists of all time and I am not sure if sound tracks and collaboration albums are included in this startistic.
He was rock’n’roll charisma personified and rock’s greatest chameleon.
He will be missed.