On Sunday, January 10th, 2016, the musical world lost one of its beloved, respected, and influential performers, David Bowie, who died at the age of 69 through his 18-month battle with cancer.
For those who know him, David Bowie was a musical and stylistic genius. His incomparable sound and theatrical-like performances reinvented both him and the music industry for more than four decades. While there may have been bigger artist than him, there was no other artist or performer alive who was not influenced by David Bowie.
Since his adolescent years in London, Bowie was always interested in music. During his time at Burnt Ash junior school, David was able to develop and hone the necessary fundamentals in singing and playing the recorder. When he left school, he decided to continue his interest by studying art, music, and design. Eventually, David was able to become proficient on the saxophone that allowed him to form his first band at the age of fifteen. By 1963, Bowie embarked on his professional career as a musician and was immediately popularized for his theatrical and flamboyant showmanship and unique “glamour rock” musical style.
One of Bowie’s biggest breakthrough songs was his 1972 hit, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars.’ Its mixture of classic Beatles riffs and smooth chilling lyrics splashed with his space-like science fiction outfit stood out amongst many artist. Eventually, this and some of his other songs such as Changes, Fame, and Heroes became anthem hits for their generations.
While the style itself was a flag for the glam rock era, the musical scene he created eventually influenced the industry in various ways. Without Bowie’s amalgamation of music, art, and fashion, we as fans would have never seen all three as one entire package. In addition, without his soaring falsettos and smooth blues-like, classic-rock sound, we would have never gotten genres like warped show tunes, industrial rock, pop, folk-pop, progressive rock, independent rock, electronic rock, and even hip-hop.
Even in his newly released album, songs like Blackstar still feature the essence and the out of the box mix of music and artistry that is now seen in artist like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Panic at the Disco, Kanye West, and Beyonce. While the world will mourn his death, David Bowie, the chameleon, will never be forgotten.